Joining the 2030 club
2030 has become a future milestone for many climate ambitions.
As well as the all-encompassing Sustainable Development Goals, the UK water sector has committed to net zero carbon emissions by 2030.
And computer giants Microsoft and Intel have pledged to become carbon negative and water positive, respectfully, by 2030.
Now Portuguese water utility group, Águas de Portugal Group (AdP), is joining the “2030 club” and has set out the target to be energy neutral within a decade.
Through its ZERO program, AdP said it would be the first group to achieve energy neutrality across its national and international activities.
To put the ambition into perspective, this will include 100 per cent renewable energy generation across eight regional utilities, providing services to 80 per cent of Portugal’s population.
Internationally, this includes energy neutrality across operations in Angola, to Cabo Verde and Guinea-Bissau.
AdP announced the ZERO Energy Neutrality Program at an event including high profile minister, including João Pedro Matos Fernandes, the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change.
Floating solar panels
GdP consumes just over one per cent of Portugal’s total electricity, with water supply consuming 60 per cent and wastewater treatment, 40 per cent.
To meet the 2030 ambitions, the group plans to invest a total of 480 million euros to bolster energy from biogas, hydro and solar power sources across its portfolio.
In total, AdP aims to generate 708 Gigawatt hours (GWh)/year from renewables within a decade.
Solar energy will provide the bulk of the energy (4.1 GWh to around 478 GWh), as well as the installation of floating solar panels on 25 reservoirs.
Furthermore, this is also set to include the installation of 48 wind turbines and 38 hydropower plants.
This program follows a project from subsidiary EPAL that aims to enable energy and emissions neutrality in 2025.
AdP said it will achieve this through "the construction of hydro-electric power plants within its water pipe system”, as well as energy generated by the Asseiceira wastewater treatment plant.
As well as increasing renewable energy generation, the group plans to improve efficiencies of its existing assets: 8.5 per cent from water supply energy and 13 per cent from wastewater treatment energy.
Elsewhere in Portugal, Águas do Porto managed to save €80,000 per year through improving operations at its Sobreiras wastewater treatment plant.
The organisation said: “The ZERO Program also extends to actions targeting water losses and excess inflows that are to be undertaken by the municipal system management entities, whether in isolation or in conjunction with AdP Group companies.”