Octopus Energy Group armed itself this week with a major commercial alliance, inking a renewables understanding to instal its clean generating kit on Severn Trent Water’s sewage farms, reservoirs and associated real estate. 

From its Coventry HQ, the water-to-waste firm serves 4.3 million premises across the Midlands.  Octopus will help Severn Trent meet its 2030 pledge to switch its operations to 100% carbon-free power and to run its vans exclusively as EVs. 

The deal is the rising integrated generator-retailer’s first with a utility. Water firms enjoy legally-sanctioned access to every premise within their designated region. 

Among its 25,000 UK business accounts, specific to Severn Trent’s patch, Octopus already supplies iconic enterprises with locally sourced renewables. Its power lights venues such as Leicester’s National Space Centre and the Richard III Visitor Centre.

Octopus will run the water-to-watts understanding through its Energy Generation division. The unit’s head Zoisa North-Bond noted, “Severn Trent is one of the most important companies in the Midlands, and we’re delighted to be working with them to create even more value for the people of the region”.

“As net zero commitments are becoming increasingly important in the fight against climate change, we’re hoping more large scale utilities like Severn Trent see the value in using their land to drive the green energy revolution“, she added. 

“By being actively involved in their own energy supply chain, Severn Trent are starting an exciting journey to becoming carbon neutral that will help make the Midlands cleaner and better for generations to come.”

Severn Trent’s CEO Liv Garfield

Severn Trent’s chief executive Liv Garfield said, “Signing this agreement couldn’t come at a better time, as we continue to emerge from the pandemic and help the country to build back greener and cleaner.”

“This is an exciting new partnership which has the potential to revolutionise the way Severn Trent generates renewable energy across our sites. We’re looking forward to working with Octopus Energy and benefiting from their expertise and experience, marking a major step forward on our journey to net zero”.

In May, Severn Trent revealed plans to invest £565m by 2025, improving infrastructure across the Midlands. 2,500 new jobs are planned as part of an ambitious Green Recovery programme.

It is also teaming up with sports organisers Birmingham 2022 to help deliver the first ever carbon-neutral Commonwealth Games. A series of initiatives will offset the carbon generated by the Games.

Octopus Energy Generation says it is Europe’s biggest investor in solar; in Germany and Britain, its 315MW portfolio embraces 22 solar parks and two wind farms. In early 2020 its then-parent trust paid £143 million for eight PV farms, out of IPO proceeds of £250 million.

Severn Trent is far from being Britain’s sole solar-supporting water company, though.  

Up to 12GWh of solar power flows each year from Thames Water’s solar sites, including from the world’s biggest floating PV farm, 6.3MWp of pontoons on the Queen Elizabeth II reservoir near Heathrow. They light a total of 3,700 households.

In June Thames unveiled a ventures unit, tasked to expand its renewables operations.  The capital’s treaters of sewage produced 311GWh of renewable power last year, equivalent to the annual consumption of Bexley, south-east London.


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