Solar power plan unveiled for Balmore Water Treatment Works

Scottish Water has unveiled plans to install its most ambitious solar energy scheme to date at a water treatment works in East Dunbartonshire.

Solar power plan unveiled for Balmore Water Treatment Works

The £3 million investment by Scottish Water Horizons, the utility’s commercial subsidiary, would see 8,620 ground-mounted solar Photovoltaic (PV) panels installed at Balmore Water Treatment Works in Torrance – one of its most energy intensive assets.

Balmore is the largest treatment plant in Scottish Water’s portfolio and serves around 565,000 people. It has the ability to treat water from Loch Katrine and Loch Lomond for supply to parts of East Dunbartonshire, Glasgow, North Lanarkshire, the Falkirk and Grangemouth areas, and West Lothian.

The green technology being proposed would offset 19 per cent of the electricity required to operate the facility, with the new solar PV scheme generating 4 GWh of energy a year – that’s enough energy to power around 1,300 standard UK homes. It would also save around 1,100 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per annum.

Dr Mark Williams, sustainability and climate change manager at Scottish Water, believes the scheme is an exciting opportunity.

He said: “Scottish Water has made an ambitious commitment to be a net zero greenhouse gas emissions water company over the next two decades.

“Capturing and using solar power is instrumental in helping to tackle climate change and reducing the carbon footprint of our operations.

“The renewable electricity that could be generated here in Torrance will go a long way towards helping Scottish Water reach both its net zero commitment, and a further goal to host or self-generate renewable power equivalent to three times our annual electricity consumption by 2030.”

The scheme would be a major boost to Scottish Water’s portfolio of more than 76 water and waste water treatment works which are now either self-sufficient or partly sufficient in their power requirements.

Donald MacBrayne, business development and delivery manager at Scottish Water Horizons, said: “Scottish Water has a significant land and property portfolio and it makes sense to harness these assets for carbon savings and green energy generation. Already we’re accelerating the pace and increasing the scale of our green schemes to help meet our ambitious net zero targets. The solar scheme at Balmore Water Treatment Works is a perfect example of how our assets can make a significant contribution to lowering our carbon footprint for the benefit of customers and the environment.”

Electric vehicle charging facilities will also be installed at the facility to support the transition of the organisation’s 1,600-vehicle fleet of vans and tankers from fossil fuels to clean electricity.

Construction on the PV scheme could begin towards the end of the year subject to ongoing discussions with East Dunbartonshire Council. It is hoped that it will be delivered by local renewable energy solutions specialists FES Support Services Ltd., on behalf of Scottish Water Horizons.

Ecological surveys have been carried out to ensure any impact on the local environment is kept to a minimum during construction.

Balmore joins a long list of PV schemes already installed at many Scottish Water assets across Scotland. To date, 9.4 MW (megawatts) of PV power has been installed at 49 sites, generating 7.4 GWh (gigawatt hours) of renewable energy every year - equivalent to powering 2,400 homes.

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