Our Energy Programme

Energy Strategy

Reducing the cost of delivering our services and reducing our carbon footprint

We are one of the largest electricity consumers in Scotland and our energy strategy aims to reduce the cost of delivering our services for the benefit of our customers and, at the same time, reduce our carbon footprint.   

We require around 440 Gigawatt hours (GWh) per year from the grid to provide customers with vital services. 

A key objective is to reduce our reliance on grid power, reducing our carbon footprint and reducing our operating costs.  Our approach to energy management and development is focused on:

  • Reducing consumption by improving the capability of our assets and operations 
    We have installed over 4,000 smart meters to measure consumption and help target energy efficiency opportunities.  Over the last 6 years we have reduced base electricity consumption from the grid by around 5%. We have made changes to operational practices and our asset base to reduce consumption or move demand to cheaper tariff periods. We are also exploring and piloting other initiatives and long-term, low energy, low carbon treatment solutions.  Energy management and efficiency will play a key role in future years with the objective to reduce our operating costs. 
  • Increasing self-generation
    Since 2013 the Scottish Water Group has increased the renewable generation capacity to 58GWh/annum, almost three times our capacity in 2013.  The portfolio of assets has been diversified to include hydro, wind, biomass, photovoltaic solar, combined heat and power (CHP) and biomass boilers. We currently have 37 hydro turbines, 20 sites with small scale wind turbines installed, 41 solar schemes, 3 CHP plants (including the Scottish Water Horizon Deerdykes plant), and 3 biomass boilers. These all help to offset the amount of electricity we buy from the grid, with several treatment works now self-sufficient. 
  • Purchasing low-cost green energy/ Private Wires
    We continue to purchase low-cost green energy from a privately-owned renewable Anaerobic Digestion Plant adjacent to Girvan Wastewater Treatment Works and have concluded an agreement to purchase green energy from local renewable assets on the Fair Isle, which will supply our local Water Treatment Works.   We understand the benefits these schemes bring to of local businesses and communities, and we are currently working with a number of local businesses / communities schemes in conjunction with Local Energy Scotland with the aim to deliver similar schemes in future. 
  • Hosting private renewable investment
    We host private investment in renewables on our estate where it provides a good return for customers and is compatible with providing high quality services. We now host over 831GWh of wind generation on our land at Scottish Power’s Whitelee Wind Farm, SSE’s Clyde Extension Wind Farm and InfrRed’s Afton Wind Farm. 

Scottish Water Horizons, one of our subsidiaries, also supports renewable energy projects and enabled the first UK heat from waste water scheme to be commissioned in Galashiels. Horizons’ food waste Anaerobic Digestion plant - the first large scale plant built in Scotland is helping to prevent the release of greenhouse gases from landfill – continues to operate successfully. 

A major milestone was reached this year when the amount of renewable energy Scottish Water generates itself and hosts on its estate (c.920GWh) exceeded twice the amount of power used annually. 

Working with local communities and developers we are actively investigating further opportunities to host renewable developments on our estate. While investigating alternative approaches to extracting value from waste and are actively involved in research projects across this area.

Our strategy is aligned with the Government’s Hydro Nation ambitions, supports a greener and stronger economy, and is a key part of our desire to reduce the cost of delivering water and waste water services for customers.

Did You Know?

  • Over 13,500km2 of land provides our source of drinking water, this is equivalent to 1.4 million rugby pitches
  • Scottish Water owns approximately 2% of the land that supplies us with water
  • The amount of renewable energy that Scottish Water generates itself or hosts on its estate is more than double the amount consumed
  • Scottish Water Horizons enabled the first scheme to recover heat from waste water in the UK


You can submit an initial enquiry to the Scottish Water Energy Team about a potential renewable project using the Initial Approach Form used in conjunction with the Renewable Energy Guide both of which can be found in the Document Hub.

Document Hub