Aqua’s Commitment to Renewable Energy

While Aqua is committed to protecting and preserving Earth’s most essential resource, water, we are also keenly aware of the energy it takes to move vast amounts of water and wastewater through our networking of pipes.

As part of the company’s commitment to reduce our overall environmental impact and drive progress toward our overall greenhouse gas emissions reductions targets, which is to reduce the Scope 1 and Scope greenhouse gas emissions of Essential Utilities by 60% between 2019 and 2035, we have implemented several programs in recent years that will significantly increase our reliance on renewable energy.

Since 2020, Aqua Texas has contracted 25% of our electricity through an offsite solar power purchase agreement, beginning in 2020. During that same time, we worked with a retail power supplier to use 100% wind power through Green-e Renewable energy certificates in Illinois, New Jersey, Ohio and Pennsylvania, beginning in 2022.

Of particular note is a recent project in Aqua Illinois, which helped Essential Utilities double its onsite solar generation.  The company worked since 2018 on an ambitious project to evaluate suitable Aqua land and select opportunities for the installation of solar power facilities, made possible by the Illinois Adjustable Block Program, which provides favorable pricing of Renewable Energy Credits (REC) through 15-year contracts.

Working closely with community neighbors, elected officials, zoning boards, a solar developer and impassioned staff, Aqua identified an opportunity for a one-megawatt facility at the Manteno wastewater treatment plant, which opened in February of 2021, and a two-megawatt facility at our Danville water treatment plant, which is projected to open this summer.

“Thanks to incredible collaboration with a variety of internal and external stakeholders, Aqua Illinois is proud to go live with two new projects that provide a lower-cost renewable energy alternative,” said Aqua Illinois Director of Operations Robert Ervin. “Not only is solar power environmentally friendly, but it will offer savings to our customers and help to make our plants more resilient.”

The fields provide 86% of the electricity needed to power the Danville plant and 71% at Manteno, are expected to reduce carbon emissions by 2,800 tons annually and offering both plants more resiliency. The project also offers a financial benefit to Aqua and its customers: through 25-year life of the solar field, we expect to save over $4 million, which will directly benefit our customers through utility rates.

These three initiatives—in partnership with community, business and environmental leaders—will increase our energy derived from renewables from 5% in 2019 to 60% in 2022, and will help us to reach our sustainability goals.