We need to find sustainable ways of meeting increased demand for services created by a growing population across our region, while reducing the causes of climate change. In response to this challenge, we set ourselves the ambitious target of reaching carbon net zero by 2030, alongside the rest of the water companies in England.
This means because of the measures we’re putting in place, to reduce our carbon footprint such as generating renewable energy, by 2030 any emissions from our activities would be balanced by schemes that offset an equivalent amount of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.
Reducing the impact of climate change is a global challenge and we have an important responsibility to reduce our carbon footprint. The consensus of the scientific community is that anything less than a significant move towards carbon neutrality will have serious consequences for the environment.
Our strategy to reduce carbon includes:
working with our supply chain to reduce the energy and materials needed to construct and maintain our assets
increasing the efficiency of our equipment
making better use of the by-products from water treatment processes
generating renewable energy to help power our operations.
Renewable Energy Strategy
Our region’s flat geography means it takes a huge amount of power to take water from the environment, treat it and pump it to customers. We then need to collect, treat and return recycled water safely to the environment. Generating our own electricity from renewable sources helps us significantly reduce carbon emissions, as well as cutting our operational costs.
Renewable energy generation forms a key component of our broader energy strategy and represents a significant step towards our ambitious goal of becoming carbon neutral as an organisation by 2030.
Currently we generate around 30% of our energy from renewable sources through things like bio-resources, wind and solar power. Our target over the next five years is to increase this to 44%.
We have ten existing sludge treatment centres, which use Combined Heat and Power (CHP) engines to create energy from the gas released as a by-product of the water recycling process.
Through our bio-resources strategy we are maximising the generation of renewable energy from these by-products, and we are also working with the agricultural sector to recycle these nutrients to land. Most of the renewable energy generated is used to power on site operations, with any excess being exported to the local electricity networks.
We have a growing number of solar arrays installed on our operational sites. We also are trialling an energy storage solution allowing us to store excess solar energy generated during the day in batteries and use it at other times, helping us to reduce our reliance on energy from the grid.
We have three existing wind turbines which generate about 14GWhs of energy per annum and we are continuing to explore wind power in places where it would be appropriate.