Scottish Water Becoming a Renewable Energy Powerhouse

Robert Brears
May 27, 2020 · 3 min read

Scottish Water is aiming to reach net zero emissions five years ahead of the national 2045 target.

By Robert C. Brears

Scottish Water is implementing a range of initiatives to maximize their contribution towards Scotland achieving net zero emissions by 2040. Already, the utility has made a major contribution to Scotland’s emissions’ reduction through renewable energy generation and energy efficiency, with Scottish Water generating twice as much renewable energy as it consumes in its operations.

Striving for excellence, Scottish Water is aiming to increase its own and hosted renewable energy generation from 200% to 300% of its electricity usage by 2030. This will also grow its income significantly.

Generating more energy than used

Castle Moffat Water Treatment Works abstracts water from Whiteadder Reservoir and is generating more energy than it uses. The site provides around 21 million liters of water per day to 47,000 customers. Its self-sufficiency is a result of hydropower which is supplied by a new generator and control panel which was recently upgraded. This is the only Scottish Water asset where pumped water is used to power a site, with it generating 750,000 kWh/year. Of this, 80% of renewable energy is used on-site, and the remaining 20% exported to the National Grid.

Exploring hydrogen from wastewater

Scottish Water is investigating the production of hydrogen from its wastewater sites. It would involve the use of an electrolyser on a wastewater treatment works to split water into hydrogen and oxygen using electricity. The hydrogen could then be used to power the utility’s sites. With oxygen used in some wastewater treatment processes, which requires energy to create, the oxygen produced could be used to reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions. Tests are also ongoing to use it to fuel Scottish Water’s hydrogen vehicles.

District Heating Network

A number of buildings in Stirling are now receiving heat that is generated from wastewater. Heat harnessed from wastewater at the treatment works in Forthside is processed through an on-site energy center and then distributed along Stirling Council’s District Heat Network. The network provides heating to The Peak Leisure Centre, Forthbank Stadium Conference Centre, and St Modan’s High School. The network has been designed so that there is future potential for expansion to include more businesses and nearby housing. It is anticipated that energy users will save up to 10% on their heating bills.

The take-out

Water utilities will become renewable energy producers in the net zero economy.

Join the conversation on the following LinkedIn groups: Urban Water Security, Our Future Water, Circular Water Economy, Blue and Green, and Nature-Based Solutions

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