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Scottish Water reaches renewable power milestone

Scottish Water is facilitating the generation of more renewable power than it consumes for the first time since it launched efforts to reduce its energy bill and increase renewable generation five years ago.

Scottish Water chief operating officer Peter Farrer with Roseanna Cunningham MSPScottish Water chief operating officer Peter Farrer with Roseanna Cunningham MSP

The company requires about 445 Gigawatt hours (GWh) per year across 4,500 sites such as water and wastewater treatment works. This is enough to power nearly 140,000 homes occupied by more than 300,000 people,

Through a combination of Scottish Water’s own investment in renewable energy and hosting private investment on its estate, new figures confirm that the company now generates and hosts more renewable power than it consumes annually and is on course to double this by 2018.

Scottish Water’s increase in renewable power generation, which supports the Scottish Government’s ambitious renewable heat and carbon reduction targets, has been achieved by improving energy efficiency, increasing self-generation and hosting private renewable investment on the company’s estate.

The company’s milestone was welcomed by Roseanna Cunningham, cabinet secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, who said: “I am delighted that Scottish Water has met this significant milestone. By generating and hosting more renewable power than they consume, they are providing a great example to other companies of how improving energy efficiency and investing in renewable power can have a real impact. For them, renewable power is lowering their electricity bill – helping to keep customers’ water charges low.

“As we consider our current draft Climate Change Plan and consult on Scotland’s draft Energy Strategy, this impressive achievement shows that the government’s ambition to reduce carbon greenhouse gas emissions by 66% by 2032 is realistic. I therefore congratulate Scottish Water on this achievement and hope that their actions provide confidence to other businesses and public sector organisations to invest in renewable power.”

Chris Toop, general manager of Scottish Water’s energy programme, said Scottish Water was delighted to have reached this important milestone in its efforts to reduce its energy bill and increase renewable generation. He said: “Every day, Scottish Water provides customers with 1.37 billion litres of drinking water before collecting and treating 921 million litres of waste water. Providing those essential services requires a lot of power but our infrastructure also provides opportunities for us to maximise value from that asset base and fulfil our duty to act sustainably in the delivery of our services.

“We have invested in a number of innovative measures such as low-carbon, low-cost treatment technologies and doubled our renewable energy capacity to more than 54GWh through hydro, wind, photovoltaic solar, biomass boilers and combined heat and power (CHP).”

Toop said Scottish Water has installed more than 4,000 smart meters to target energy opportunities and, in just three years, these have raised the annual financial benefits to more than £7M, cut carbon emissions by 16% since 2006-7 and facilitated more than £330M of private investment on its estate.

“Facilitating more renewable power than we consume makes a significant contribution to keeping the long-term cost of providing vital water and waste water services as low as possible, while supporting national economic, carbon and renewable energy targets,” said Toop.

Dave Thomson, director of finance with Scottish Water Horizons, the utility’s commercial subsidiary which has made a significant contribution to the company’s renewables targets, said: “We have invested £16M in various renewables technologies over the last few years and have committed to invest a further £50M in sustainable energy production, enhancing energy security, job creation and ultimately keeping costs low for customers.”

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