Anglian Water is set to further enhance their renewable energy portfolio this week with start of the latest installation of solar energy at one of their key operational sites based in Huntingdonshire.
Grafham Water uses approximately 45 million kilowatt hours of energy a year to supply clean water across the region to hundreds of thousands of customers. The energy generated by the solar panels will be used on site to help power essential operations. In total nearly 42,000 solar modules will generate over 26% of the energy used by the works; that’s enough electricity to power 3,000 houses; the equivalent to the annual emissions of 1,000 family cars based on 12,000 miles annually.
This renewable energy source will generate over a quarter of the energy used by the site over the course of a year and save around 3,500 tonnes of carbon annually, significantly reducing the site’s carbon footprint. Since 2010 the company has made a 58% reduction in capital carbon a 35% reduction in operational carbon across the business.
David Riley, Head of Carbon Neutrality at Anglian Water comments: “We supply over 6 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. Our challenge is to address this increasing demand for services sustainably, and it’s that challenge which underpins our ambitious renewable energy strategy.
“We’re using operational land we own at Grafham which isn’t open to members of the public, so we aren’t restricting visitor access and there won’t be any impact on recreational activities such as walking, cycling, fishing or sailing.”
Combined Heat and Power (CHP) engines, Wind and Solar all play a part in Anglian’s bid to become net zero carbon by 2030, along with the rest of the water industry, but it’s solar which will see the biggest growth in renewable energy generation by Anglian Water over the coming years.
The company’s broader renewable energy strategy focuses on minimising the ‘operational’ carbon from its everyday operations, and the ‘capital’ carbon used in building assets such as water mains, sewers and pumping stations.
David continues: “We’ve been working with our supply chain to reduce the energy and materials needed to construct and maintain our assets like sewers and pumping stations, increasing the efficiency of our equipment, and minimising wastage through driving down leakage. We are reducing our emissions through our fleet by installing electric vehicle charging points and we now have 10 electric vans. We are also making better use of the by-products from water treatment processes and generating renewable energy to power our operations. We’ve already seen a significant reduction in our carbon emissions.
“Like many of the spaces we care for, Grafham Water is a haven for wildlife, so we’ve carried out extensive ecological surveys to ensure the habitat of its wildlife won’t be impacted. Reducing our carbon footprint compliments our responsibility to protect and enhance our natural environment, something we take very seriously.”
The installation of the solar panels on land the water company owns at Grafham Water is under permitted development rights which have been confirmed by Huntingdonshire District Council.