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In providing essential services to customers, Scottish Water is a large user of electricity, requiring around 445 Gigawatt hours (GWh) per year. Our efforts to reduce our energy bill and increase renewable generation saw us win the Renewing Scotland award at the annual Scottish Green Energy Awards in December 2015.

We have a three-pronged approach to energy management and development:

Energy efficiency
Increasing self-generation
Hosting private renewable investment

Energy efficiency

We have installed over 4,000 smart meters to measure consumption and help target opportunities. 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 demand-side-response initiatives and long-term low energy, low carbon treatment solutions. We aim to reduce base consumption by 11GWh by 2021.

Increasing self-generation

Since 2013 we have doubled our installed renewable capacity to over 53 GWh and diversified our portfolio to include hydro, wind, photovoltaic solar and combined heat and power (CHP). We currently have 29 hydro turbines, 18 small scale wind turbines, 24 solar schemes, 2 biomass boilers and 2 CHP plants, helping to offset the amount of electricity we need from the grid, with several treatment works now self-sufficient.

We are also exploring private wire contracts which will connect our assets to adjacent third party renewable assets – for example local community owned.

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.

Through a combination of our own investment in renewable energy, and hosting private investment on our estate, we expect to facilitate the generation of renewable energy amounting to more than twice the level of energy we consume annually by 2018.

In addition, we have seen our operational carbon footprint fall by over 15% since we began reporting it in 2006/07. SW now have the lowest combined operational carbon usage per ML treated in the UK water Industry. 

Scottish Water Horizons, one of our subsidiaries, also supports renewable energy projects. For example, in 2015/16, it invested £2.9 million in renewable energy schemes, 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 (6 GWh pa), helping to prevent the release of greenhouse gases from landfill – continues to operate successfully.

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.


Submit an initial enquiry to the Scottish Water Energy Team about a potential renewable project where Scottish Water would be asked to purchase power or host the development here.

This form should be used in conjunction with the Renewable Energy Guide for Developers & Communities working with Scottish Water.