Yorkshire Water to invest £25m into 28 onsite solar projects
Yorkshire Water is set to add 28 solar projects across its sites and facilities, following a £25m investment that will help the firm build towards its net-zero target.
In a week where water companies have been criticised for sewage discharged activities, Yorkshire Water has announced a new £25m investment into solar installations across its sites.
The company has selected investment and asset manager, Downing LLP, to develop, design, build and operate a portfolio of 28 solar sites, totalling around 23MW in capacity.
Yorkshire Water’s commercial programme manager Daniel Oxley said: “This project is a significant step in reaching our aims of carbon net zero by 2030. Due to changes in the treatment process at our sites over recent years, many have been left with surplus operational land which can be used for the generation of renewable energy.
“These have been identified and will become home to new solar panel arrays. Once completed, the first deployment of solar panels will generate 4% of our annual power needs, increasing our renewable energy use, reducing our exposure to energy price volatility and reducing the operational costs of our sites, which will provide better value for money for our customers.”
The investment will build towards Yorkshire Water’s 2030 net zero pledge, with all electricity generated to be consumed on-site by the company.
In 2020, the UK’s major water companies introduced a Routemap detailing how solar installations, electric vehicles and biomethane production will enable the sector to reach net-zero emissions by 2030.
The UK’s nine major water and sewerage providers, including Yorkshire Water, Anglian Water and United Utilities have used the Routemap to create a net-zero water supply for customers, in a move that could reduce sectoral emissions by more than 10 million tonnes.
The Routemap estimates a potential investment of up to £4bn, based on current available technologies. The 10-point plan will outline how the production of biomethane from sewage waste will allow green gas to be injected into the grid and heat up to 150,000 homes. Additionally, the sector will facilitate the development of up to 3GW of new solar and wind generation – enough power to meet 80% of the sector’s electricity demands
The company has been at the forefront of low-carbon investments having issued a £350m sustainability bond back in 2019.
Commenting on the announcement, Downing’s investment director Sean Moore said: “We’re delighted to be partnering with Yorkshire Water for this solar project. By assisting a national utility company with its goal of reaching net-zero by 2030, we are emphasising Downing’s commitment to responsible investing.
“It’s fantastic to support energy-intensive industries such as water companies making progressive strides to reduce their carbon footprint – something we whole-heartedly support.”
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