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Scotland's Water Utility Targets Net-zero Carbon Emissions

EDINBURGH, United Kingdom

The Water Industry Commission for Scotland (WICS) has published a draft plan for 2021-2027, designed to enable Scottish Water to meet the challenges of maintaining high-quality customer services while tackling the impacts of climate change and transitioning to net-zero emissions.

The plan means that Scotland’s publicly-owned water supplier Scottish Water is set to deliver approximately $5.9 Billion USD in investment during the time period, with up to $1.3 Billion USD billion from the investment allowed in the current 2015-21 regulatory period.

The increase in the maximum amount of charges that Scottish Water can levy on its customers each year is set at 2 Percent above inflation on average over the period, equivalent to around an extra $12 a year in real terms on the average household bill.

“We understand that many customers are facing financial difficulties and that the economy is under pressure, particularly in light of the COVID-19 pandemic,” WICS’s Chief Executive, Alan Sutherland said while launching the draft plan.

“But this pandemic has underlined just how important a reliable and high-quality water system is. Our draft determination will futureproof these services for current and future generations. This also reflects the priorities of customers that were identified through wide- ranging research.”

Scottish Water says that it will achieve net-zero emissions by 2040, by growing new capabilities, changing its behaviours, and influencing others to change, including customers, partners, and its supply chain.

Setting out the company’s routemap to net-zero, Douglas Millican, Chief Executive of Scottish Water, said, “Our aim is to reduce the amount of energy we consume to deliver our vital water and wastewater services."

Its routemap says that climate change is an existential threat to the wellbeing of future generations. “Pursuing net zero emissions is not primarily about meeting a target, but rather doing everything possible to minimise the emissions associated with our activities and maximising the positive contribution we can make, irrespective of which party accounts for the emissions,” the routemap states.

Scottish Water says it will focus on becoming more energy efficient, embracing low carbon construction, using lower-carbon energy products, storing emissions that cannot be avoided, and investing in renewable power technologies.

The consultation on WICS’s draft plan is open until 19 November 2020. Its final plan is due to be published on 10 December 2020.

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