Utility new recruit scores with hydropower pitch

Scottish Water employee Zac Mooney holding an award shield

After less than a year in his job, a Scottish Water apprentice has clinched both Scottish and UK top awards for his innovative work and presentation on using the natural flow of water to generate electricity.

Inspired by an industry-leading hydropower scheme at his local site in Falkirk, Zac Mooney presented at the Pipeline Industries Guild Professional Development Network Competition. At just 22 years old and competing against industry professionals with far greater experience, Zac first won the Scottish award before then going onto to double his success at the UK-wide event held in Coventry.

Addressing an audience of over 100 industry experts, Zac described how a turbine installed on a critical clean water main at Carron Valve Chamber will provide nearly 20% of the energy needs for the nearby Dalderse Waste Water Treatment Works.

The innovative project, which is being developed by Scottish Water Horizons, Scottish Water’s commercial subsidiary, is set to be one of the first in Europe where a clean water supply powers a wastewater site.

Expressing his gratitude, Zac said: “I am thankful to have been given the opportunity to showcase my hydropower learnings so early in my Scottish Water career.

“We are committed to becoming a net zero organization by 2040, and Scottish Water Horizons is delivering many projects in line with this goal. My work has a strong focus on the environment which is something I am very passionate about.

“The support from Scottish Water Horizons has been instrumental in my development and has given me the confidence to compete at such a high level at Pipeline Industries Guild Competitions.”

Scottish Water Horizons Project Manager and Zac’s mentor, John Lenehan, highlighted Zac’s unique approach:

“Zac distinguished himself by using a prop on stage – a small pressure reducing valve to demonstrate the power-generating potential in our pipes and flows. His winning presentation attracted significant interest from attendees, who were impressed by the carbon reduction and cost saving aspects.

“Zac has had a busy first nine months with us but has taken all these new experiences which come from a Scottish Water apprenticeship in his stride and has done brilliantly.”

The publicly owned utility has 175 apprentices across the business with Zac’s achievements in the Horizons Hydropower Team highlighting the varied nature of opportunities available through its apprenticeship programmes.

Rachel Bridge, Chair of the Pipeline Industries Guild, said:

“The Guild is passionate about nurturing talent and the Professional Development Network Presentation Competition provides a platform for individuals to showcase innovation, share best practice and learn together. I was delighted to attend and sit on the panel of judges for the final round of this year’s competition, Zac Mooney’s winning presentation on Harnessing the Hydropower in Pipes was a creative presentation of a circular solution harnessing energy from one process to utilise in another. It was excellent and a worthy winner.

“Zac presented confidently with interactive elements to engage the audience. We are delighted that his idea has now been shared amongst the pipeline operators in the UK and look forward to seeing this idea progress across the water networks and wider pipeline industry sectors.”