Maesgwyn

Walters continue efforts to offset carbon

Walters have begun the next phase of our carbon offsetting plans: aiming for 100% renewable electricity supply across all our businesses by 2020.

We have long been known for operating the largest self-financed plant fleet in the UK, comprising over 650 items of heavy construction, mining and earthmoving equipment. Uniquely, the majority of our fleet is deployed on our own contracts, driven by our own directly employed operators, building infrastructure and handling materials on over 50 projects across the UK. This gives us the added responsibility of ensuring our fleet represents the most modern and fuel-efficient plant available, used by operators who are trained in fuel optimisation and efficiency.

However, even with this unique, environmentally sensitive approach, our combined fleet still emits approximately 60,000t of carbon every year. To help ‘offset’ this, in 2005 we formed a renewable energy division (Pennant Walters), with the aim of developing green energy solutions across some of our extensive land holdings. Following our first successful development on the former Maesgwyn Opencast Coal Surface Mine in 2007, the division has gone from strength to strength, now delivering over 115MW of green electricity through wind and solar farms. This is equivalent to offsetting nearly 100,000t of carbon emissions every year, some 50% more than the output of our combined fleet and significantly greater than our entire group’s carbon emissions. With a further 163MW in development, Walters are well positioned to fully offset our carbon emissions for years to come.

Building on this success, we have teamed up with Birmingham-based energy company Bryt Energy, with the aim of switching all of our businesses to 100% natural renewable electricity supply.  We first partnered with Statkraft – Bryt Energy’s majority shareholder – in 2011, signing a long-term Power Purchase Agreement on our 52.5MW wind farm development at Pant Y Wal – Fforch Nest near Gilfach Goch.

Walters currently operate 24 electricity contracts across our operations and have begun to transition to clean energy by switching 8 initial supply contracts to Bryt Energy. Once we have completed the transition over the next two years, we’ll be consuming zero-carbon electricity across all our contracts – sourced solely from wind, hydro and solar generation.

Commenting on the partnership, Group Director, Sarah Lewellyn said “We are really pleased to be expanding our partnership with Statkraft through this new renewable import supply deal with Bryt Energy. Securing 100% natural renewable supply for all our businesses is the logical next step for us as we look to continue our carbon offsetting plans. With the forecast growth of our plant fleet to over 1,000 items of heavy plant over the next 5 years (in order to cope with the anticipated growth in UK infrastructure spending), our carbon offsetting plans are key to exploring every opportunity to offer a more sustainable service to our clients.”

The success of our work has recently been recognised by our nomination in two categories by the prestigious New Civil Engineer NCE100: ‘Low Carbon Leader’; and ‘Excellence in Renewable Energy’.