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Towards Zero Carbon

Energy is essential to deliver water services, with grid electricity accounting for the vast majority of our carbon emissions. As Northern Ireland’s single largest electricity consumer, our goal is to fully exploit innovative approaches to energy and new technology to reduce our carbon footprint and ultimately become carbon neutral. We will achieve this by a wide range of actions that will affect almost every aspect of our business, including:

  • improved instrumentation, automation and control of plant and equipment;
  • investing in new treatment processes and pumping systems to reduce their energy demand and the emission of other greenhouse gasses;
  • increasing our self-generation of renewable energy; and
  • procurement of more renewable energy.

The majority of our carbon emissions are from grid electricity, with the remaining emissions being attributed to areas such as sludge emissions and transport. The annual carbon emissions resulting from activities of NI Water have decreased by 15%, decreasing from 106,816 t/CO2e in 2017/18 to 90,364 t/CO2e in 2018/19. This equates to 0.139 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per million litres of treated water in 2018/19 (2017/18: 0.176 tCO2e/Ml) and 0.432 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per million litres of treated used water in 2018/19 (2017/18: 0.611 tCO2e/Ml).

The annual carbon emissions resulting from the purchase of electricity have decreased by 20%, decreasing from 103,307 t/CO2e in 2017/18 to 81,876 t/CO2e in 2018/19. The main influencing factors include: overall reduction in kWhrs; reduction in emission factors; and changes in how green electricity purchased from the grid has been accounted for in the Carbon Accounting Workbook (CAW).

The emissions data is calculated using the CAW developed through UKWIR and WRc with participation from many of the UK water companies including NI Water.

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