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Welsh Water cuts carbon emissions by 79 per cent

Welsh Water has reduced its carbon emissions by nearly 80 per cent in the last decade, it has been announced.

Welsh Water's Chris Jones and David Holthofer with First Minister of Wales Mark DrakefordWelsh Water's Chris Jones and David Holthofer with First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford

The not-for-profit company confirmed it had reached the milestone as First Minister Mark Drakeford visited its pioneering Five Fords Energy Park project in Wrexham to learn about the array of green energy projects on the site. 

The company announced its operational emissions had been cut by 79 per cent since 2010-11, which is the result of investment in renewable energy generation and energy-efficiency technologies at its sites, as well as buying all its electricity from renewable sources. 

Welsh Water will generate around 25 per cent of the energy it needs through renewable generation by next year, including hydro turbines, wind power, solar and gas-to-grid. The remaining 75 per cent is made up of 100 per cent green electricity. 

It comes after the company published its long-term plan, Welsh Water 2050, last year, setting out how it would tackle big challenges facing society, including work to tackle climate change, population growth, the growth of the digital economy, and rising customer expectations. 

The plans are closely aligned with the Welsh Government’s Well-being of Future Generations Act, and set out how the company will ensure sustainability of its services while keeping bills affordable. 

Five Fords – which has undertaken a £36 million investment to turn it into a model green energy site – processes sewage of around 180,000 customers in north Wales and includes 10,000 solar panels on site, which generates a total of 2.5GWh of energy – enough to power 700 homes. 

The First Minister was given a tour of the site by Welsh Water chief executive, Chris Jones, and shown the construction of its under-construction advanced anaerobic digestion (AAD) facility, which will convert sludge into green energy. 

The work at Five Fords is part of a record capital investment in this financial year totalling more than £450 million, and the company is on target to invest more than £1.7 billion in the five years to 2020. 

First Minister Mark Drakeford described Five Fords Energy Park as a “pioneer of green energy” and added: “Investment in sustainable water infrastructure supports the safety of communities, which lies at the heart of our Well-being of Future Generations Act.  

“I’d also like to congratulate Welsh Water on cutting its carbon emissions by nearly 80 per cent in the last decade. This is a great achievement.” 

Welsh Water chief executive Chris Jones said he was pleased that the company had been to continue its progress in reducing its carbon footprint.

“In Welsh Water 2050 – our long-term vision for the company – we outlined our plans to tackle some of the biggest challenges we face and climate change is one of the most serious,” he continued.

“As part of this, we are striving to reduce our own impact on the climate, while also strengthening the resilience of our networks to deal with the increasing threat of adverse weather – like extreme cold snaps, flooding and prolonged drought conditions – that can impact our network and the services we provide our customers. 

“We have worked closely with Welsh Government to set out how we will build on this encouraging progress and we’re delighted the First Minister was able to see the fruits of that cooperation first-hand.”

Author: Robin Hackett, editor, WWT
Topic: Energy/Water Nexus , Sustainability & social value
Tags: Dwr Cymru Welsh Water , Carbon Footprinting , solar power , hydro electricity , climate change

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