FROM 'RE-MEANDERED' RIVERS TO POLLINATOR SUPER HIGHWAYS: HOW ARE UTILITIES INNOVATING TO SUPPORT HEALTHY AND FUNCTIONAL ECOSYSTEMS?

From ‘re-meandered’ rivers to pollinator super highways: how are utilities innovating to support healthy and functional ecosystems?

While the utility sector’s creative minds are pulling up trees to fuel the energy transition, decarbonise and innovate around water supply, firms’ green strategies incorporate far broader schemes than simply replanting them.
Published 13 May 2022

Recent research by Utility Week and low-code automation specialist Appian found that more than three quarters of utilities have already introduced stretching targets to decarbonise operations and asset bases since the UK made its 2050 net zero commitment – a pledge which more than 90% of firms claim has triggered major strategic transformation.

As part of this, utilities are increasingly digging into non-traditional, nature-based, solutions to the pressing challenges they face while attempting to meet the enduring expectation that they safeguard the environment and promote biodiversity in everything they do.

EDF, for instance, has worked with 50 environmental specialists on Hinkley Point C to help restore Steart Marshes – a saltmarsh the firm claims stores as much carbon over four years as one million trees grown for a decade – while Southern Water has implemented nature-based sustainable drainage solutions (SuDs) spanning ponds, wetlands, soakaways, and rain gardens to prevent water from entering combined sewer system during heavy rainfall and reduce storm overflows.

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