'Another step towards net-zero': Anglian Water invests in onsite solar at key site
Anglian Water has unveiled plans to install an 11.6MW solar array at one of its key operational sites, as part of its plan to become a net-zero business by 2030.
The 42,000-module solar array will be installed at the firm’s Grafham Water site in Huntingdonshire, Cambridgeshire, this year after Huntingdonshire District Council granted development rights last week.
It will be built on operational land owned by Anglian Water that is not open to members of the public.
Once it comes online, the array will generate enough electricity to meet at least 26% of the site’s annual demand. Anglian Water estimates that this will reduce its annual Scope 2 (power-related) CO2 emissions for the site by 3,500 tonnes.
The move forms part of Anglian Water’s broader commitment to become a net-zero business by 2030, made under a sector-wide pledge also signed by the likes of United Utilities and Yorkshire Water.
In order to meet the 2030 goal, Anglian Water has said it will rapidly scale up wind, solar and low-carbon heat across both its operations and its supply chains, while driving further efficiencies.
The firm has notably already reduced operational emissions by 35% since 2010 and ‘capital’ or embodied carbon by 58% within the same timeframe, by focusing on these areas.
“We supply more than six 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,” Anglian Water’s head of carbon neutrality David Riley said.
“Our challenge is to address this increasing demand for services sustainably, and it’s that challenge which underpins our ambitious renewable energy strategy.”
Plans that hold water
The water sector is the fourth most energy-intensive in the UK, directly contributing to around five million tonnes of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions each year.
To that end, the sector’s ability to decarbonise will be crucial to the UK’s ability to meet its overarching 2050 net-zero target.
The sector-wide net-zero commitment binds signatories to not only invest in renewable energy, but to support nature restoration and conservation projects that sequester carbon and boost biodiversity; improve efficiencies and increase the number of water refill stations in the UK through a partnership with City to Sea’s Refill scheme.
Posting an update to the joint commitment last week, Water UK published fresh advice to help water firms reduce methane releases from wastewater treatment; self-generate energy using onsite solar and anaerobic digestion; source renewables through Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs); provide biogas to the grid; electrify their road vehicle fleet and electrify construction equipment.
Water UK has appointed Ricardo and Mott MacDonald as the consultancies that will create a practical, step-based approach to the net-zero pledge on its behalf.