Consumer watchdog response to Scottish Water’s announcement about £20million power generating scheme
Savings must trickle down into lower water bills
Gail Walker, water expert at consumer watchdog Consumer Focus Scotland said:
“These are modern and welcome moves by Scottish Water. Consumers will be hoping that, where possible, future cost savings from renewable projects will trickle down into lower water bills.”
Contact: Karen Jordan on 0141 227 1843 or 07920 870 042
Scottish Water news release: 18th January 2012
Scottish Water starts ambitious £20million power generating scheme
Scottish Water has announced an ambitious £20million hydro power generating scheme that will use the considerable flow in large water supply pipes to generate electricity and protect water treatment plants from power failures.
The work will reduce the power costs for water treatment by 10%, playing a key part of keeping Scottish Water’s operating expenditure down.
Water and waste water treatment is energy intensive and complex, with the majority of Scottish Water’s energy used in pumping water. Even with the generally high raw water quality in Scotland, a lot of energy is required to treat water and waste water to meet 21st century standards.
Currently more than 30 sites have been identified that could – using techniques most commonly seen in hydro-electric schemes – power the water treatment process in areas such as rural Lanarkshire, the Borders, Stirlingshire, Angus and Fife.
The schemes will make most use of existing Scottish Water buildings and also see the construction of some small buildings and electricity infrastructure to transfer the power from the point of generation back to the water treatment works where it is required. Some of the electricity infrastructure will be “off the grid” – so any major power loss by the power companies would not affect the supply of water to customers.
Ian McMillan, who is leading the building programme for Scottish Water’s Capital Investment and Delivery division, said:
“This is a key part of our Climate Change Strategy and will substantially reduce our carbon footprint. We’re very excited about technology that offers the dual benefits of improved service for our customers and reduced operating costs.
“This is nothing new – our asset base is already generating 5% of our power requirements across Scotland and the investment will double that output. We’ve identified a number of potential sites and these will be whittled down to the best 20 or so small hydro schemes.
“We have ministerial objectives which are aligned with a keen interest internally to invest with a view to reducing power costs.
“We are working closely with the national park authorities, community councils, power companies and planning officials to make sure these small hydro turbines have minimal effect on the landscape. Some of them will be situated in areas that are very remote so constructing them will require very diligent planning work on our part.
“The £20million is a large investment which will soon pay itself back by allowing us to generate our own power.”
In addition to this project, Scottish Water Horizons, the commercial arm of Scottish Water, has recently installed a micro-turbine at the redundant Touch water treatment works in Stirling. This is creating power which is then sold back to the National Grid. Horizons is driving forward the green agenda as part of Scottish Water’s drive to be a low-carbon business.
Scottish Water is investing £2.5billion in the 2010-15 period to improve water and waste water treatment across Scotland.