(EnergyAsia, April 17 2012, Tuesday) — Australia’s Origin Energy Limited said it has agreed to develop low-carbon, cost efficient trigeneration precincts to supply cleaner energy to central Sydney, the country’s largest city.

Origin said its wholly owned subsidiary, Cogent Energy, will invest A$100 million over a 10-year period to build trigeneration precincts in four zones across central Sydney. (US$1=A$0.96).

Trigeneration involves using natural gas-powered engines to generate on-site electricity. It is a highly efficient process, as the waste heat from the engine is captured and re-used to provide heating, or for conversion to chilled water for cooling through an absorption chiller. Using gas as the fuel source offers the potential for a significant reduction in carbon emissions.

Jim Galvin, Origin’s general manager for retail markets, said:

“Origin is committed to meeting customers’ energy needs today, and investing in the energy solutions for tomorrow. This means finding and developing new energy solutions which can provide Australians with a cleaner, reliable and affordable supply of energy.

“Working in partnership with large organisations like the City of Sydney, Origin is actively installing smarter technology including trigeneration systems, which use energy more efficiently, reduce carbon emissions and also deliver economic benefits to customers.

“As a leader in the installation of trigeneration in Australia, Origin is already demonstrating these savings with customers. In 2011, Origin worked with Investa Property Group to develop Australia’s first open commercial trigeneration precinct in Sydney. Origin is also building a groundbreaking trigeneration precinct in Melbourne.”

Trigeneration is a compelling, alternative energy solution that helps lower carbon emissions and network demand, while increasing energy efficiency and power security and reducing costs for large energy users, for example commercial buildings.

Trigeneration solutions offers owners of commercial buildings the opportunity to attain high standards of energy efficiency. Commercial buildings account for approximately 10% of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions, according to Climateworks’ Low Carbon Growth Plan for Australia. The success of this initiative and the proliferation of similar initiatives in Australia’s central business districts could help drive material reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

Precincts and customers for the first stage of the trigeneration project are currently being negotiated, including the city’s own sites. It is expected that the plants will be constructed from 2013, as customers are identified and secured. Origin will be responsible for the ongoing operation and maintenance of the plants.