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Veolia helps power Irish water treatment plant with renewable energy

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Group Water Scheme (GWS) company Polecat Springs has partnered with Veolia to use renewable energy to power its water treatment plant.

Located near Elphin in County Roscommon, Ireland, the site will cut energy costs by 70% and reduce carbon emissions, following the installation of solar panels. As well as cutting emissions of carbon dioxide, the photovoltaic (PV) system will enable the local community to benefit from water treatment cost savings.

Polecat Springs GWS currently supplies water to rural properties over an 80 square kilometre area, and is operated as a community cooperative. Installation of the new solar panels will produce electricity, which was previously drawn from the National Grid, to be used in powering the water treatment plant.

Operated under a contract with Veolia, the project is supported by the Federation of Group Water Schemes and has been backed by a Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland grant, which covers half of the investment.

The resultant energy cost savings will enable the project to pay for itself within six years. The project was installed by Veolia, Clár ICH and Eco Smart.

“While developments similar to the one at Polecat Springs have been done at a municipal level, this is the first GWS that is using sustainable energy to power its water treatment plant operations,” commented Joe Higgins, regional director for Veolia. “Veolia is delighted to have been involved in the project and we hope that more water schemes will invest in sustainable energy in the future.”

Eugene Cummins, CEO of Roscommon County Council, added: “It is great to see the community around Polecat Springs investing in a more sustainable future that will see significant savings in energy and will contribute in a very positive way to climate change at a local level. This community initiative is an example to all and hopefully other schemes and communities will follow the example set by the Polecat Springs GWS.”

The GWS programme was set up in 1962 to provide grant aid to rural communities in Ireland for the construction of water distribution systems from local water sources.