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  • by Trevor Loveday

Curbing methane and nitrous oxide holds most promise in net zero bids by sector

Mitigating nitrous oxide and methane emissions and direct purchasing renewable power from generators are the measures open to the UK water sector that are most likely to produce the greatest greenhouse gas reductions according to findings from an Ofwat-commissioned study by Jacobs.

In its report on the study, Net Zero Technology Review, Jacobs has produced a shortlist of technologies and interventions in order of likely net zero impact. Curbing the table-topping gas emissions was also “likely to offer some of the lowest cost opportunities,” according to Jacobs. The greatest opportunities for emission reduction were with water and sewerage companies (WaSCs) within three of the shortlist technologies shared between WaSCs and water-only companies (see table below).

The project was commissioned by Ofwat to identify technologies and interventions likely to be capable of reducing greenhouse gas emissions during PR24.

Reduction of methane and nitrous oxide along with procurement of renewable power through direct deals with generators (Power Purchase Agreements) were scored at about 3.9 out of 4 with the remaining 15 9 interventions between about 3.5 and 3. Scores comprised assessments under four scenarios each with its defining priorities (see left): maximum decarbonisation in which carbon reduction is prioritised; economy plus (the call on resources and costs); minimal disruption (aligned with business as usual); and max confidence (technologies in which understanding is greatest).


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