April 22, 2021

Children who visited the new $57 million Gippsland Regional Aquatic Centre (GRAC) during the school holidays have given it the thumbs up, impressed with the facility’s five swimming pools, two giant water slides and water play zone.   

Equally impressive are the centre’s sustainability features, including 220 rooftop solar panels partly funded by a $50,000 EnergyAustralia grant.   

“Yallourn power station was happy to support such a worthwhile community facility by donating $50,000 towards GRAC’s solar panels,” EnergyAustralia’s Head of Yallourn, Julian Turecek said. 

“They might not wow the kids like the AquaPlay area, but they work quietly in the background to maximise savings and minimise carbon emissions.” 

The solar infrastructure is expected to save Latrobe City Council and ratepayers about $20,000 a year on the centre’s energy bill.  

It will also reduce the centre’s CO2 emissions by 132,600 kg per year – the equivalent of CO2 emissions from 24 homes’ electricity use for one year.  

“Yallourn strives to be a good neighbour, as well as providing customers with reliable, affordable electricity. We’re working towards cleaner forms of energy and investing in renewable energy. Our support of the aquatic centre’s solar panels is a great example of this commitment,” Mr Turecek said. 

Adding to GRAC’s sustainability credentials is a deep bore geothermal heating system – the first public aquatic facility in Victoria with this infrastructure.   

The new system taps into the aquifer below ground in Traralgon at a depth of more than 600 metres where the ground water is about 65 degrees Celsius. The heat energy from the water is taken off via a heat exchanger and used to heat the centre’s pools and air.   

“The solar panels and geothermal heating system combine to significantly reduce the aquatic centre’s carbon footprint as well as its energy costs. And what’s great is that these benefits aren’t a one off – they’re ongoing,” Mr Turecek said.   

Latrobe City Mayor, Sharon Gibson, is grateful for EnergyAustralia’s support. 

“EnergyAustralia’s backing of GRAC is another great example of big business making a significant difference in our community. We’re grateful for the support as we strive to deliver health and wellbeing opportunities for local residents and attract new people to our region now and into the future,” she said.