Water companies’ carbon promises

Anglian Water

By 2010 Anglian has committed to reduce its energy costs by 10% and increase the proportion of its energy met from biogas and wind power from 2% to 20%.1 These measures, combined with "green" energy purchases, will deliver a 19.5% reduction in carbon emissions from 2006/07.

1. Strategic direction statement 2010-2035

Northumbrian Water
The company aspires "to move as far towards carbon neutrality as possible" and has set a target for 20% of its energy to be self-generated by 2015.2

Measures proposed include increased use of sludge digestion to produce biogas, hydro-generation schemes and where practicable the adoption of low-energy sewage treatment options, such as reed beds.

2. Looking to the future

Severn Trent Water
The company has pledged to "make its contribution" to meeting the government’s carbon reduction targets.3 Severn Trent promises to maintain its lead in obtaining energy from sludge through digestion and CHP, and investigate generation from energy crops, wind turbines, burning sludge and further hydroelectric schemes.

It believes there is scope to reduce its net energy use by a third through efficiency and renewable generation.

3. Focus on water

South West Water
The company aims to minimise its carbon footprint and to meet carbon reduction targets in the climate Bill.4 It promises to generate electricity in house where cost effective and investigate renewable energy sources.

4. Strategic direction statement

Southern Water
Southern has a target to reduce its carbon footprint "by 10% by 2020". By 2008 it will be generating 10% of its energy from sludge biogas and it aims to increase renewable generation to 20% by 2020.5 It suggests working with local authorities to exploit energy-from-waste opportunities.

5. Water services, customers and the community

Thames Water
Thames promises to meet climate Bill targets and make a 20% cut in CO2 emissions by 2015 based on 1990 levels.6 In the longer term it promises to deliver its share of the sector’s carbon reduction targets.

The company also aims to increase its renewable generation from 14% of usage at present to 18% by 2020.

Measures to be adopted include energy avoidance, renewable energy, supply chain agreements and waste elimination, reduction, reuse and recycling.

6. Taking care of water

United Utilities
The company plans to halve greenhouse gas emissions from current levels by 2035.7 To achieve this it says its wastewater operations will need to become "close to energy neutral". It is also planning to reduce water demand and leakage.

It has pledged to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 26% by 2012 on 2005/06 levels, 8% from in-house power generation and pump efficiency and 18% from green energy. To offset essential pumping requirements, it plans to investigate generation from wind turbines and hydro schemes.

7. Where we are heading

Welsh Water
The company promises to reduce its carbon footprint by 25% by 2015 and 50% by 2035 based on current levels.8 Measures to be adopted include an embedded low-carbon approach include low-energy water treatment systems such as reed beds and sustainable urban drainage systems to reduce the load on sewers.

8. Our sustainable future

Wessex Water
Wessex aspires to "become carbon neutral" by 2020, and increase the proportion of self-generated energy to 23% by 2010.9 It plans to meet these targets by reducing energy use by a fifth over 20 years, and increasing self-generation of energy and increasing purchases of renewable power. It will also cut methane emissions through capture and use in energy generation and "reduce reliance on end of pipe solutions".

9. Water: the way ahead

Yorkshire Water
The company aspires to meet the government’s CO2 targets but cautions that water quality targets need to be subject to a carbon emissions impact analysis.10 Measures put forward to reduce emissions include improving its vehicle fleet, improving energy efficiency, building more CHP plants and hydroelectric schemes, and optimising leakage reduction.

10. Striking the right balance for Yorkshire