The City of Gold Coast is reportedly investigating the viability of transforming its network of wastewater ponds into solar energy farms.
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This week, The Gold Coast Sun revealed that council officers are considering a proposal to cover the city's wastewater ponds with floating solar panels and using the electricity generated to power these treatment plants.

The plan, which would also reduce evaporation from the ponds, would likely lower council's operating costs.

If all goes according to plan, the city would not be the first to embark on such a project. About two years ago, South Australia built Australia's first floating solar plant in Jamestown that today supplies power to a Northern Areas Council wastewater facility. More recently, Lismore City Council put out a tender last year for a 100kW community-funded floating solar plant on its sewage treatment facility's settling ponds.

The City of Gold Coast currently has a number of solar panels on its buildings and depots and is rolling more out at its waste and resource recovery facilities.

A senior council figure told The Gold Coast Sun: "Biogas is currently used for electricity generation at one of our sewage treatment plants and Gold Coast Water and Waste is actively considering further energy efficiency and generation initiatives."

However, another senior council figure told the newspaper the idea sounds like an experiment and questioned the necessity of investing in the idea.

"I don't believe council should be spending money on energy experiments," they told The Gold Coast Sun.

"Instead, it should be spending money on infrastructure that would lower the cost of water that could then be used on parks and sporting fields.

"This idea sounds like an experiment and experiments always carry risks."