Power Cost Inflation Wwtps
05 June 2024 Type: Blog

Power Cost Inflation and Its Implications for Wastewater Treatment Plants

Wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) play a crucial role in maintaining public health and environmental sustainability by treating sewage and wastewater before releasing it back into the environment. However, as the world grapples with the challenges of climate change and energy sustainability, the operational costs of these essential facilities are facing significant increases. 

Understanding Power Cost Inflation

Wastewater treatment operations require substantial amounts of electricity. As energy prices rise due to factors such as dwindling fossil fuel reserves, geopolitical tensions, and environmental regulations, the operational expenses of WWTPs escalate accordingly.

Implications for WWTPs

The ramifications of power cost inflation for WWTPs are multifaceted; firstly, increased energy expenses directly translate into higher operating costs for wastewater treatment facilities. This rising cost is then passed on to service users; in the UK, typical household energy bills increased by 54% in April 2022 and 27% in October 2022. Increasing costs for the bill payer shows no sign of slowing down - average yearly water and sewerage bills in England and Wales are forecast to rise 7.5% in the forthcoming year. 

Power cost inflation undermines the economic viability of traditional wastewater treatment methods, which heavily rely on energy-intensive processes. Inefficiencies in energy usage further exacerbates this issue, as outdated infrastructure and technology struggle to adapt to evolving energy pricing dynamics.

Sustainability of WWTPs  

The sustainability of WWTPs comes into question in the face of escalating power costs. As environmental concerns mount, stakeholders are increasingly scrutinising the carbon footprint of wastewater treatment operations. High energy consumption not only contributes to greenhouse gas emissions but also poses a long-term risk to the resilience of WWTPs in the face of energy supply disruptions or price shocks. 

Adapting to the Changing Landscape

In light of these challenges, stakeholders in the wastewater treatment sector must proactively address the issue of power cost inflation to ensure the continued functionality and sustainability of WWTPs. 

Onunda’s energy-efficient technology gives utility stakeholders the opportunity to mitigate the impact of rising energy prices on operational expenses by producing renewable, fossil fuel-free energy onsite. By converting sewage sludge into clean electricity at the point of consumption, utility companies are able to operate independently from the national grid – freeing up additional capacity.

This decentralised mode of energy generation significantly reduces transmission losses which means more electricity reaches its desired destination. Surplus electricity produced by Onunda’s technology can also be exported to the national grid to supplement fossil fuel sources like coal and natural gas. Diversifying the national grid minimises exposure to price volatility in global energy markets, enhancing energy security and reducing reliance on imported fuels.

Find out more about Onunda’s energy-efficient technology here.