Utility Week

UTILITY Week 2nd September 2016

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18 | 2ND - 8TH SEPTEMBER 2016 | UTILITY WEEK Operations & Assets Analysis T he water industry, and particularly the wastewater industry, is "at the fore- front of climate change", according to Water UK, as every major impact – tempera- ture change, more intense rainfall, chang- ing rainfall patterns, and sea level rises – directly affect companies' activities. Ofwat says climate change is one of the "fundamental challenges" facing the sector, putting extra pressure on resilience, environ- mental quality, and affordability. The regula- tor tells Utility Week it expects companies to understand the risks posed by the changes and "respond innovatively, sustainably and flexibly" to build resilience over the long term. Yorkshire Water installed a wind turbine at Old Whittington wastewater treatment works in Chesterfield last month to increase the amount of renewable energy generated onsite. And this is just the latest step in the water sector's war on climate change. What are wastewater firms doing on climate change? The UK has a legally binding commitment to achieve an 80 per cent reduction in carbon emissions by 2050. The decarbonisation of energy will play a key role in reaching this target and, as a significant user of energy, the water sector has a big role to play in miti- gating climate change. Greenhouse gas emissions from water operations are around 0.7 per cent of UK emissions, according to Ofwat. In 2014/15, water companies in England and Wales emit- ted the equivalent of just over 4,000 kilotons of carbon dioxide. The amount of renewable energy gener- ated by companies is on the rise, mainly because of significant investment in com- bined heat and power, and in generat- ing biogas from the anaerobic digestion of sludge, a solid by-product of the sewage treatment process. Water companies are also generating energy from hydro, solar and wind, and imported renewable energy. The most up- to-date figures (2010/11) state that around 10 per cent of all the energy used by the water industry came from its own renewable sources that year. However, companies are looking to increase that, with ambitious and challenging carbon reduction and renewable energy targets. Anglian Water Anglian Water has a target to reduce gross operational carbon by 7 per cent by 2020, from a 2015 baseline. It also aims to deliver a 60 per cent reduction in embodied carbon by 2020 from a 2010 baseline. In the past five years Anglian Water has delivered around 1,000 energy projects, delivering savings of more than £16 mil- lion, and dramatically reducing its carbon footprint. In May, the company announced that it was setting its sights on a "more ambitious" renewables strategy to help deliver this. Northumbrian Water Northumbrian Water has set a carbon reduc- tion target of 35 per cent by 2020, from a 2008 base. To help achieve this, the company has a target to generate 20 per cent of its energy needs from renewable sources. The wastewater company is the first and only in the UK to use 100 per cent of the sludge remaining aer sewage treatment to produce renewable energy, at two thermal hydrolysis advanced anaerobic digestion plants. Severn Trent Water Severn Trent currently generates the equiva- lent of 28 per cent of the energy it uses from renewable sources. This energy is used at Severn Trent Water sites or exported to the national grid. The company says it is work- ing to increase its energy production from renewable sources further, to 50 per cent of its consumption by 2020. The firm has set itself a five-year carbon reduction target to reduce its emissions from 491 kilotons CO2 equivalent in 2014/15 to 458 kilotons CO2 equivalent by 2020. In the long term, Severn Trent aims for carbon neutrality and energy self-sufficiency. Southern Water Southern Water exceeded its target to reduce carbon emissions to 281 kilotons of CO2 in 2015/16, achieving 267 kilotons. This was 2 per cent below the previous year and its low- est emissions for four years. Southern says it is committed to keep- ing its carbon emissions to a minimum, and has increased the proportion of renewable energy generated to more than 17 per cent of its overall electricity consumption. To do this, the firm is replacing all of its existing combined heat and power stock with higher efficiency units, is installing additional units, and is installing ground- mounted solar across five operational sites. It also has a programme of capital mainte- nance to replace less efficient assets with new higher efficiency units. South West Water South West Water is one of the largest elec- tricity users in the South West, using 250GWh of electricity a year. More than 70 per cent of its carbon emissions are associated with its consumption of energy. Therefore, the com- pany is working towards generating 50GWh of renewable electricity by the end of 2020. South West Water wants to achieve an 80 per cent reduction in carbon emissions by 2050, on a 2006/07 baseline. Thames Water Thames Water has set itself a target of cut- ting greenhouse emissions associated with operations and electricity and natural gas use by 34 per cent by 2020, compared with 1990 levels. The company aims to self-generate 33 per Decarbonising water Water is one of the most energy-intensive sectors in the UK. It is also one of the business sectors most affected by climate change. Lois Vallely takes a look at what the industry is doing to cut carbon. "Greenhouse gas emissions from water are around 0.7 per cent of UK emissions. In 2014/15, the sector emitted the equivalent of just over 4,000 kilotons of CO2."

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