First-of-its-kind project will harness hydropower from wastewater


Described as a first of its kind in the UK, a new project will see Scottish Water install a hydro turbine at Hamilton Waste Water Treatment Works in South Lanarkshire.

The scheme is well underway and is being led by Scottish Water’s commercial subsidiary Scottish Water Horizons and the group says it is expected to generate 0.42GWh of green electricity each year – the equivalent of boiling around 1,800,000 kettles a year – and offset 13 per cent of the treatment works’ annual electricity demand.

It will be the first pre-fabricated hydro scheme to be installed ‘mid process’ at a wastewater treatment works in the UK, with wastewater flowing through a hydro-electric generator within the pipeline of the plant.

The hydro turbine is anticipated to cut carbon emissions by around 64 tonnes each year, the same amount as a passenger jet flying from Glasgow to Sydney, Australia 13 times.

Neil Beaumont, Horizons Hydro Energy Team Lead, said: “Scottish Water has a vast array of land, property, and operational assets that offer enormous potential when it comes to renewables. We need to be open to fresh ideas and bold in our delivery when it comes to achieving our green energy ambitions.

“Until recently, all previous hydro efforts have concentrated on harnessing energy from our water assets. Now we’re looking at more creative ways to generate energy and lower our carbon emissions. By adopting a non-traditional approach such as that at Hamilton Treatment Works, we can identify opportunities to further optimise generation and tap into significant potential across Scotland.

“This novel approach will also go a long way towards helping Scottish Water achieve net zero emissions by 2040 and beyond, deliver service excellence, and create greener communities.”

The hydro scheme is expected to be up and running by the end of autumn 2023. Even prior to commissioning, it has been shortlisted for two categories at the Water Industry Awards which take place in Birmingham on 29 June, 2023.

The scheme will be delivered by local renewable energy solutions specialists FES Support Services Ltd on behalf of Scottish Water Horizons and will join a growing portfolio of water and waste water treatment works that are now either self-sufficient or partly sufficient in generating their own power requirements.