Net zero in sight as Northumbrian Water passes 90% emission reduction milestone

Northumbrian Water is a step closer to its ambitious goal of achieving Net Zero in 2027 after passing an important milestone in the company’s carbon reduction targets.

Using a multi-strand approach to green energy and through the adoption of a wide range of innovative practices, the company has seen carbon emissions fall more than 90% since 2008, when they stood at 303,000 tonnes.

The latest figure, for 2021, shows this has now fallen to 22,000 tonnes, having more than halved from the 2020’s 56,000 tonnes and driving the water company even closer to achieving its goal.

The company has published the latest figure as part of its Emission Possible plan, the first edition of which was released in 2021, coinciding with the company being approved by the United Nations to become part of its Race to Zero campaign. The updated report, launched today, is the first annual update on the plan.

Northumbrian Water’s work to achieve the carbon reductions has included:

  • Being the first and still the only water company to use 100% of its sewage sludge to create energy all of which, following innovative work in 2020 at Bran Sands, is injected into the gas grid as renewable gas.
  • Using a first of its kind ten-year deal to source around 30% of its electricity demand from the Race Bank offshore wind farm.
  • Powering all 1,886 of its sites using renewable electricity, through which the company achieves 77,000 tonnes of CO2 savings each year – over 350 times the weight of the Angel of the North.
  • Increased investment in 2022 in solar power generation on its sites, including a new 3,600 panel array at its Lumley Water Treatment Works in County Durham, with a further 4 sites either complete or close to being commissioned.

The company also has a target of zero avoidable waste by 2025.

The new Emission Possible document can be read here: Emission Possible

Group Commercial Director Graham Southall at the Lumley WTW solar array.

Heidi Mottram, Chief Executive of Northumbrian Water, represented the water industry at COP26 and is one of the industry leads on the sector’s ambition to achieve Net Zero in 2030.

She said: “Over the past 14 years, we at Northumbrian Water have made huge strides towards Net Zero.

“We have gone from 303,000 tonnes of carbon to just 22,000, and we are on track for our ambitious goal to reach Net Zero in 2027, and I am proud of the hard work and innovation that has helped us to make such amazing reductions.

“Additionally, it’s great to be able to use our sites and some truly innovative technology to deliver such high volumes of green energy generation. Two of the things we have in abundance at Northumbrian Water are assets and innovative spirit, and when harnessed and combined with our passion for the environment, this has delivered truly powerful results.”

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