The company already generates 28% of the total energy it uses from renewable sources, but hopes today’s investment will enable it to generate 50% of its gross energy consumption by 2020. It hopes this will protect it from future volatile energy market prices.

In a statement released earlier today (17 March), Severn Trent said it will primarily invest the money in anaerobic digestion (AD) and solar technologies, having already expressed its intention to expand its solar capacity beyond the panels installed on its headquarters in Coventry with a large-scale solar photovoltaic farm.

Carbon reduction

The water company already generates 24% of its electricity from 56 anaerobic digesters at 34 of its sites. Together, these have produced 193,00MWh of electricity this year alone.

Beyond AD and solar, Severn Trent has a fairly expansive generational portfolio that has allowed it to reduce its carbon emissions by 10% since 2009. It generates 2% of its electricity from one of the largest concrete cows installed in Nottingham. The plant runs on an extremely sustainable energy crop to produce methane.

It also has six hydro turbines producing 8.2MWh and four wind turbines producing 20,000MWh of electricity each year. The company hopes to increase its wind output by 5,000MWh and is already looking to install a new turbine at its site in Lichfield.

Last summer, edie reported on a £13m investment in a new food waste AD plant by Severn Trent at its Coleshill Sewage Treatment Plant. Now open, the plant takes 48,500 tonnes of food waste from local businesses and waste management companies to produce an energy output of 2.4mW, which is equivalent to the amount of electricity required to power 4,300 homes for a year.

On-site energy generation at Sustainability Live 2015

Reducing energy costs is the primary driver for business managers according to edie’s 2015 energy manager survey. A session at edie’s brand new high-level Conference at Sustainability Live 2015 in April will focus on the three main routes to energy cost reduction:  using less, on-site generation and smarter procurement strategies.

Find out more about that session and register to attend the Sustainability Live Conference for FREE here. 

Lucinda Dann

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie