Countdown to COP

Our new campaign plots the course to the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow this November and looks at the key topics for utilities.

Editor's picks

Anglian Water has several industry firsts under its belt including in green finance. As part of our Countdown to COP coverage Utility Week talks to Anglian's head of carbon neutrality about the company putting its money where its mouth is when it comes to carbon commitments. He also discusses trials around process emissions and how better data can help crack the problem
Analysis
The need to adopt methane strategies is an under-explored area of net-zero policy but there are still important steps that can be taken by the government and Ofgem. Maxine Frerk delves into the issue in her latest column for Utility Week.
Opinion
Decarbonisation is under the spotlight more than ever before with the water sector's net zero 2030 deadline fast approaching. The industry target was ambitious enough but one company has broken ranks and says it wants to be there by 2027. As part of Utility Week’s Countdown to COP coverage, Ruth Williams speaks to Northumbrian Water’s chief executive Heidi Mottram about why the company set itself the earlier goal.
Interviews

Featured

When last year's ambitious Routemap to net zero was published by Water UK in collaboration with Mott MacDonald and Ricardo, the sector was frank that it did not have the answers to all the challenges to be faced by 2030. As part of our Countdown to COP coverage, Maria Manidaki, net zero technical lead at Mott MacDonald, talks to Utility Week about the technical hurdles that remain on the water sector’s journey to net zero.
Interviews
The utilities sector continues to under-value data as an asset in its own right, according to senior executives, who also told Utility Week that greater collaboration was needed to unlock the potential of data in delivering on common goals, most notably decarbonisation.
Analysis
Lawrence Slade, chief executive of the Global Infrastructure Investor Association (GIIA), highlights a gap in the policies and regulations needed to attract the tens of billions of pounds of investment required to meet the government’s 2050 net-zero emissions target.
Opinion

Latest in Countdown to COP

Businesses across all sectors are waking up to the fact that they have a role in climate change. However, not all of them have the plans to match their good intentions. Gemserv’s Trevor Hutchings explores the sticking points to climate action.
Opinion
A fully renewable grid, purely reliant on wind and solar generation, could require hundreds of terrawatt hours of storage capacity to correct seasonal and multi-year imbalances between the supply and demand of electricity, according to research by Birmingham University and Dr Keith MacLean. Utility Week spoke to MacLean to find out more.
News
Wessex Water has pledged to take a “total carbon” approach to reaching net-zero emissions by 2030, stressing that water companies cannot shy away from tackling difficult-to-decarbonise areas. However, the company stressed that the innovative solutions required to achieve genuine decarbonisation would only be possible with a new approach to investment in the water sector.
News
A more supportive planning framework for renewables has been included in Scotland’s new programme for government, which has been unveiled following the Green Party’s landmark decision to enter the Holyrood administration.
News
South Staffs has secured government funding of £10 million under the Green Recovery Challenge that enabled it to upgrade its largest water treatment plant to a ceramic filtration system that will save around 1,000 tonnes carbon annually. The company plans to invest around £55 million upgrading two treatment works during AMP7.
News
Utility Week hears initial thoughts from the water sector on the first draft of Defra’s strategic policy statement to Ofwat, with commentators warning that it lacks the detail required to trigger the investment needed at PR24 if the government is serious about tackling river pollution and decarbonisation.
Analysis
Affinity Water will measure and report on its non-operational emissions from next year as it sets out plans to be carbon negative for scopes one two and three emissions by 2030. Nature-based solutions and developing a blue carbon finance framework are included in the plans.
News
Ofgem has made clear that decarbonisation is at the heart of its strategy but without updated guidance from government, how can it tackle the trade-offs net zero will inevitably present? Utility Week asked experts in energy regulation what they want to see in the promised strategic policy statement (SPS) from government, as well as where unintended consequences could lie and if there is a better way to provide clear direction on Ofgem’s role in a future energy system.
Analysis
Utilities have big ambitions to adapt for net zero, but many lack the fundamental data to enable the transition. This was a key finding from a recent virtual debate hosted by Utility Week and Appian.
Analysis
Bristol Water has unveiled a routemap to decarbonising its business and operations by 2030 aligned with its city's climate strategy. It sets out four pathways to net zero, with a focus on ramping up renewable generation and a cautious approach to offsetting.
News
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