Scottish Water’s innovative efforts to slash its £45 million power bill have seen the utility firm scoop the Renewing Scotland prize at the annual Scottish Green Energy Awards.
The UK’s largest community-owned wind farm, the three-turbine Beinn Ghrideag scheme on the Isle of Lewis, has been named Best Community Project.
Other awards handed out include the Best Supplier accolade, which was won jointly by two Orkney businesses that judges said have brought value to their entire community.
This year’s awards, organised by industry body Scottish Renewables, come in a challenging year for the sector after the UK government announced a raft of funding cuts for renewables projects.
John Cridland, former director general of the Confederation of British Industry, was named Champion of Renewables for his work highlighting the impact of the Tory cutbacks on renewable energy investment.
An eye-catching image of wind turbine blades beat stiff competition to bag the Best Photography Award for Highland Council engineer Eddie Boyd.
In two years Scottish Water has doubled the amount of renewable energy generated at treatment works, meaning several now produce more than they consume. It has also installed the world’s first in-pipe hydro turbine – which controls water pressure while generating electricity – and operates 14 wind and 18 solar schemes.
Accepting the award, Chris Toop, general manager for the firm’s energy programme, said: “We are delighted to win this award, which recognises our efforts to maximise the use of our 2,000 treatment works and 60,000 miles of pipes to generate an increased amount of renewable energy.
“From hydro schemes to solar PV and food waste recycling, these initiatives are helping to reduce our carbon footprint and bring down the cost of providing vital water and waste water services to customers.”
Best Community Project: Beinn Ghrideag wind farm, Isle of Lewis
Best Innovation: Accelerating Renewables Connections, by SP Energy Networks, Community Energy Scotland, Smarter Grid Solutions and the University of Strathclyde (Scottish Borders)
Best Photography: Turbine blades at the Port of Inverness, by Eddie Boyd
Best Supplier: Green Marine (UK) Ltd and Leask Marine Ltd, both Orkney
Business Growth: Locogen
Champion of Renewables: John Cridland, former director general, Confederation of British Industry
Contribution to Skills: Energy Skills Partnership
Engineering Excellence: Atkins and Burntisland Fabrications Ltd
Export Award: SgurrEnergy (Glasgow)
Outstanding Contribution: Allan MacAskill
Renewing Scotland: Scottish Water
Rising Star: Irina Cortizo, Atkins
Sustainable Development: Guide to Hydropower Construction Best Practice, by Scottish Natural Heritage, Scottish Environment Protection Agency and Scottish Renewables
Judges Award: Highlands and Islands Enterprise