Cogeneration feasibility now easier for councils

The Cities of Boroondara, Darebin, Monash and Yarra are making it easier for other local councils to assess the feasibility of installing cogeneration plants in Council swimming pools and leisure centres.

Thanks to a $120,000 grant from the Victorian Government’s Local Sustainability Accord, the councils have developed a toolkit to guide local governments through the process of conducting feasibility studies and clarifying likely project costs, benefits and risks.

So far, gas-fired cogeneration plants have been installed at three leisure centres and pools in Boroondara and Yarra. Also known as ‘combined heat and power’ plants, the engines produce electricity and heat onsite.

The heat generated by the engine is harnessed and used to heat a centre’s interior and swimming pool. This improves the facility’s energy efficiency and lowers greenhouse gas emissions.

Experience and lessons learned through these installations have been incorporated into the toolkit to assist other local governments.

Boroondara Manager Environment and Sustainable Living Adam Hall said the toolkit guides council officers through the feasibility process.

“It provides step by step guidance on developing scope for the feasibility study, preparing an effective request for quotation from consultants, as well as assistance with understanding and critiquing the resulting study.

“We hope the toolkit will give council officers embarking on this type of project for the first time greater awareness and confidence. Providing ‘model’ tools will also save them time and should help achieve value for money consulting advice.”

The toolkit is currently available via the Municipal Association of Victoria’s sustainability portal at www.sustainability.mav.asn.au/built-environment/Streamlining_Cogeneration_for_Victorian_Councils-5129 .

Mr Hall said the toolkit had already sparked significant interest, receiving 389 visits in its first two weeks online.