Alongside its annual results for 2020-21, Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water, the first, and still the only, not-for-profit utility company in Wales and England, has announced that it plans to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2040.  

As one of Wales’ highest energy users with an annual energy bill of £46 million, the commitment it says, will play a key role in combating the climate change crisis declared by Welsh Government, and its goal to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

The company, which serves over three million people across most of Wales and some parts of England, relies heavily on energy to deliver its essential services.

It currently generates 23 per cent of its own energy needs through wind, hydro, solar and advance anaerobic digestion (AAD) with the rest procured from 100 per cent renewable energy resources.

The utility has said it will be 35 per cent energy self-sufficient by 2025, and will invest a further £21 million to achieve this, ultimately becoming 100 per cent energy self-sufficient - or energy neutral - by 2050.

In a media statement, Glas Cymru chairman, Alastair Lyons, said:

“Today marks a significant moment for Welsh Water, as we announce our journey to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2040. This is more than a target in relation to infrastructure or operational emissions: rather it’s about changing the way we think, plan and deliver.

"As one of the flagship companies in Wales, it’s about taking responsibility for managing the biggest challenge of our time in terms of climate change, focusing on the long-term and ensuring we help protect our customers, communities and the wider environment and create a better future for generations to come.” 

Welsh Water Chief Executive, Peter Perry, echoed his chairman's comments.

“As a company owned on behalf of our customers, we are rooted in the communities we serve.

"Our not-for-profit operating model continues to benefit our customers and communities and we are proud to announce our ambitious environmental plans to ensure that we can continue to provide an effective, resilient and affordable service for decades to come.”

The company says its commitment to achieve net zero carbon emissions will help it play a key role in combating the climate change crisis declared by Welsh Government which has its own goal of Wales reaching net zero by 2050. 
Since 2010, the utility says it has reduced its carbon emissions by 65 per cent and aims to reduce total carbon emissions by 90 per cent by 2030. 

To transform its water and wastewater services, the company has said it will set aside over £80 million for research and innovation in the next five years.

It's biodiversity plan includes peatland restoration, wetland treatment and catchment management.    

Welsh Water has recently invested £50 million into Cog Moors Wastewater Treatment Works in the Vale of Glamorgan to generate clean, green energy from sewage  - through its state-of-the- art AAD facility, creating enough energy to power the works which will make it an energy neutral site. 

The announcement to achieve net zero carbon emissions comes as the company publishes its annual results for 2020-21, showing that it invested almost £1 million a day in its water and wastewater services (£353 million in 2020-21) - with £44 million invested in environmental improvements aimed at protecting the quality of rivers and coastal waters.

Welsh Water has confirmed it incurred additional costs of £34 million to help deal with the effects of the pandemic in additional measures to protect public health. The extra costs include supporting 5,000 household customers in financial need, and suspending payments for 45,000 businesses which closed due to Covid restrictions.

If you value The National's environment and climate-action stories, help grow our team of reporters by becoming a subscriber

The National is running its first Environmental Awards to celebrate the best green practices and climate-action projects across Wales.

The awards will shine a spotlight on the individuals, companies and organisations doing outstanding work to protect the environment and tackle climate change.

Find more information on the criteria and how to nominate here

The National Wales: