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Anglian gets permission for solar installation at Grafham Water

Grafham Water is to become the latest part of Anglian Water's carbon neutral journey as the installation of a solar array has been permitted on operational land at the site.

The site treats and distributes clean water across the region to hundreds of thousands of customers. Anglian Water has now been given the green light by Huntingdonshire District Council for a solar installation on operational land under their Permitted Development rights, to help power the site.

Anglian said it will generate over a quarter of the energy used by the site over the course of a year and save around 4,500 tonnes of carbon annually, significantly reducing the site’s carbon footprint.

David Riley, head of carbon and energy at Anglian Water, said: "We supply over 6 million customers across the East of England with water and water recycling services, and the population continues to grow rapidly – in fact, this region is one of the fastest growing in the UK and one that is at risk from climate change.

"Our challenge is to address this increasing demand for services sustainably, and it’s that challenge which underpins our ambitious renewable energy strategy.
We’re using operational land we own at Grafham which isn’t open to members of the public so we aren’t restricting visitor access and there won’t be any impact on recreational activities such as walking, cycling, fishing or sailing."

Combined heat and power (CHP) engines, wind and solar all play a part in Anglian’s bid to become a carbon neutral business by 2050, but it is solar that will see the biggest growth in renewable energy generation by the company over the coming years.

Anglian’s broader renewable energy strategy focuses on minimising the ‘operational’ carbon from its everyday operations, and the ’capital’ carbon used in building assets such as water mains, sewers and pumping stations.

Riley adds: “We’ve been working with our supply chain to reduce the energy and materials needed to construct and maintain our assets like sewers and pumping stations, increasing the efficiency of our equipment, and minimising wastage through driving down leakage.

"We are reducing our emissions through our fleet by installing electric vehicle charging points and trialling electric vans and making better use of the by-products from water treatment processes and generating renewable energy to power our operations. We’ve already seen a significant reduction in our carbon emissions.

“Like many of the spaces we care for, Grafham Water is a haven for wildlife so we’ve carried out extensive ecological surveys to ensure the habitat its wildlife won’t be impacted. Reducing our carbon footprint won’t come at the expense of our responsibility to protect and enhance our natural environment, something we take very seriously.

“We anticipate installing solar panels in winter 2018, with the site fully operational and generating renewable energy for the water treatment works by spring 2019.”

Within the next 12 months, Anglian intends to build more than 30MWp of solar under a 25-year PPA contract with HBS New Energies & Macquarie Principal Finance.

Following the planning success for Grafham, HBS New Energies managing director James Bull said: "Attaining permission to install solar at Grafham is a great achievement for all parties involved and was made possible through constant support and communication with the Anglian Water team.

"It’s an extremely positive step for the 30MWp solar programme and is testament to our collaborative partnership with Anglian Water. This latest success further demonstrates HBS New Energies expertise in solar development within the UK water industry."

Author: Robin Hackett, editor, WWT
Topic: Energy/Water Nexus , Innovation , Sustainability & social value
Tags: Anglian Water , solar , energy

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