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Scottish Water announces £20m hydropower scheme

Scottish Water will undertake a £20million hydropower scheme that will use the flow in large water supply pipes to generate electricity and protect water treatment plants from power failures.

By Kari Williamson

The hydropower schemes could 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 to meet the standards set out by the Drinking Water Quality Regulator and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA).

More than 30 sites have been identified that could – using techniques most commonly seen in hydropower schemes – power the water treatment process in areas such as rural Lanarkshire, the Borders, Stirlingshire, Angus and Fife.

The hydropower schemes will make 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. Some of the electricity infrastructure will be offgrid, so any major power loss by the power companies would not affect the supply of water to customers.

In addition to this project, Scottish Water Horizons, the commercial arm of Scottish Water, has recently installed a micro hydropower turbine at the redundant Touch water treatment works in Stirling. This is creating hydropower which is then sold back to the National Grid.

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