UK utility Welsh Water has reached a key milestone in its drive to cut carbon emissions by ensuring that its sites across Wales and Herefordshire are now powered by green energy, including hydropower.
The not-for-profit utility already generates its own energy from renewable sources but a new energy contract with DONG Energy will ensure that energy Welsh Water uses from the grid will also be guaranteed green energy.
The move to secure green energy is a major step forward for the company which has an annual energy bill of more than £44 million pounds . To help it reduce its energy costs, the company already generates 20% of its own energy needs through wind, hydro, solar and advance anaerobic digestion – with the aim to increase this to 30% by 2019.
Welsh Water’s announcement about becoming a green only energy user comes as the company signs a £250 million loan facility with the European Investment Bank. The loan will help finance the company’s extensive capital expenditure programme and its plans to further develop renewable energy generation capacity at its sites.
To see first hand how the company will make use of the loan to invest in renewable generation, the EIB visited the company’s Five Fords wastewater treatment works in Wrexham. Welsh Water is investing around £36million to transform Five Fords wastewater treatment works into an innovative energy park – incorporating solar and hydro and the UK’s first project to inject bio-mathane gas into the national gas distribution network. The company is also developing an advanced anaerobic digestion plant on the site which once complete will use the waste the site treats to generate enough energy to supply around 3,000 homes.
The loan, aided by Welsh Water having the highest credit rating in the UK’s utilities sector, will enable the company to deliver its record £1.7 billion investment programme between 2015-2020 to invest in its assets for the benefit of customers and the environment.