Solar power helping to protect Oban’s coast

Solar power helping to protect Oban's coast

Tullich Water Treatment Works

Scottish Water’s latest solar power scheme is helping to protect the coastal community of Oban from the effects of climate change.

The installation of 556 roof-mounted solar photovoltaic (PV) panels at Tullich Water Treatment Works (WTW) on the outskirts of the town is now complete.

This means the energy-intensive WTW will now save 43 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent each year – that’s enough to charge around 5.23 million smartphones!

This latest £300,000 investment by Scottish Water Horizons, the public utility’s commercial subsidiary, adds to the green energy that Scottish Water already harnesses at Oban’s waste water treatment works where solar panels were installed in 2018.

Almost half of the electricity required to operate the facility will be offset, with the total PV array generating 0.19GWh of energy on an annual basis – that’s around the same as the electricity used to power more than 65 homes a year.

Donald MacBrayne, business development and delivery manager at Scottish Water Horizons, said: “We are accelerating the pace and increasing the scale of our green schemes at Scottish Water to help meet our ambitious net zero targets.

“We’re committed to reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2040, with an interim target to host or self-generate three times our annual electricity consumption by 2030.

“As we’re always looking for new opportunities to help achieve those targets, it made perfect sense to replicate the scheme we had already installed at our waste water treatment works.

“Projects like this one at Tullich Water Treatment Works are a key component to our net zero journey.

“We also have plans to develop a hydro energy scheme in the town.”

Solar power helping to protect Oban's coast

Modern apprentice Jamie MacEwan working on the project

This latest project also helped support the local economy and provided much needed employment opportunities in the area.

Donald added: “Delivering carbon projects with local companies while developing the skills of the future workforce is all part of Scottish Water helping to support sustainable rural communities.”

The project was delivered by Oban Electrical Services (OES), part of the FES Group.

Angus MacPherson of OES said they welcomed opportunities such as the Tullich project.

He said: “It brings companies like us local work and helps to sustain employment in the area.

“It is essential that we deliver more renewable energy projects to help achieve Scotland’s net zero targets.

“We’re really impressed with the role Scottish Water Horizons plays in actively driving decarbonisation through renewable energy technologies and we are proud to have delivered for them.”

Angus added that having the right skills available locally is critical to the delivery of successful schemes in rural communities. It gave OES the opportunity for their modern apprentice, Jamie MacEwan, to join the team delivering the project.

Jamie said: “It was a brilliant experience working on the solar PV project at Tullich and it really helped to further my hands-on training in the renewables sector. I’m looking forward to future opportunities like this with Scottish Water Horizons.”

Several solar projects are currently under construction across Scottish Water’s property portfolio, all helping the organisation’s net zero journey and supporting a flourishing Scotland.

Currently, almost 80 of Scottish Water’s water and waste water treatment works are now either self-sufficient or partly sufficient in their power requirements.

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