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Efficient energy management

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Treating and pumping water and waste water uses a lot of energy.

South West Water is a big energy user in the South West, with an electricity bill of about £24million per year.

If we can reduce the amount of energy we use, we can help manage our costs and cut our carbon footprint, which will help slow down the effects of climate change.

Focus on renewable energy

We operate some 60 renewable energy sites: a mixture of hydro power, sewage gas engines, solar PV and wind.

Thanks to this investment we generated 10% of our energy from renewables in 2015-16 and we have ambitious plans for increasing this.

We've set a target of sourcing 20% of our energy from renewables by 2020 from:

  • Investing in new renewable energy schemes across the different technologies
  • optimising our existin renewable energy sites
  • Collaborating with projects that neighbour our larger operational sites 
  • Working with our company Viridor to look into sourcing green grid electricity.

Reducing carbon emissions

We measure and publicly report our carbon emissions, set targets and take action to reduce emissions. We encourage our staff to reduce emissions both at work and at home, work in partnership with suppliers to reduce emissions in the supply chain, and encourage our customers to be water wise.

To help with our carbon management at an individual site level, we give each of our larger sites a carbon performance rating, similar to the Eco-label found on domestic white goods. This provides an immediate visual aid to help identify poor performing sites which can then be investigated and action taken.

Renewable energy from the moors


Mary Tavy Power Station
Mary Tavy and Morwellham power stations harness the forces of nature to generate three-and-a-half megawatts of green energy for South West Water - enough to power a small town like Tavistock.

Renewable energy comes from sustainable sources: the water that is naturally flowing from a high level back to sea level provides the mechanical power that is converted by the hydro process into electricity. It is 100 per cent renewable and recyclable by our natural weather patterns and is one of the most efficient sustainable energy resources we have today.

There has been a form of hydro-electric power generated at Mary Tavy since 1932. During the last 75 years, the original turbines have gradually been upgraded with the latest technology to meet the latest efficiency standards.

Although the Mary Tavy hydro-electric power station is now small compared with more recent plants, it provides a fascinating insight into how hydro-electric has developed over the decades.

You can download a leaflet about Mary Tavy on the right.

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