United Utilities generates 18% of power from renewables, plans £55m further solar investment

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United Utilities spent £45m on solar generation over the last two years and plans to invest at least £55m in the next three.

The firm said adding more combined heat and power assets had driven efficiencies but solar represented its main plan to increase self-supply and reduce carbon emissions. It will invest £100m over the current five year spending period (2015-20).

Posting full year financial results, UU said it had “substantially locked in our power commodity costs across 2015-20, providing greater cost certainty for the regulatory period”.

The company added that it has reduced its carbon footprint by 22% over the last 10 years. Its renewable energy production in 2016/17 was 149 GWh, representing 18% of total annual electricity consumption.

“This represents good progress over the last few years, up from 13% in 2012/13, and we are implementing plans to significantly increase self-generation over the next few years,” the company stated.

UU reported underlying operating profit at £623 million, up £19 million (+3%) on last year.

The firm’s solar assets include one of Europe’s largest floating installations at Godley reservoir in Greater Manchester. UU also has significant demand-side response plans, targeting 50MW capacity by 2020.

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