The Beckton plant will run on renewables. The facility was built at an investment of €320 million.
HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, today officially opened the ACCIONA Agua-built Beckton (London, UK) desalination plant. The facility, which will deliver water to a million Londoners, was built by ACCIONA's water division in a Temporary Joint Venture with Interserve and was commissioned by Thames Water. Located on the Thames Estuary, the Beckton desal plant will be the first to extract water from the river using Reverse Osmosis membranes. The new facility and the conduits connecting it to the mains system have been built at a cost of 270 million pounds sterling (around 320 million euros).
The plant is expected to produce 150 million litres of drinking water daily. To avoid the environmental impact and CO2 emissions arising from the facility's energy needs for water treatment processes, the Beckton desalination plant will run on renewable energy.
At a ceremony held this morning on the banks of the Thames, the Duke of Edinburgh declared the Beckton plant officially open. Prince Philip was accompanied by the Chairman of Thames Water, Sir Peter Mason (Thames Water is responsible for delivering water to the more than 8 million inhabitants of Central and Metropolitan London), and ACCIONA was represented by ACCIONA Vice President, Juan Ignacio Entrecanales; the President of ACCIONA Agua, Luis Castilla, and ACCIONA's Chief Innovation & Sustainability Officer, Jose Joaquin Mollinedo. Luis Castilla says of the Beckton plant: 'This is one of our flagship projects. The kind of water that is being treated, a combination of seawater and Thames River water, poses a technical challenge of the highest order.'
London is a city affected by hydric stress, and without adequate planning a year of low rainfall could give rise to severe water shortages. London's average annual rainfall is lower than that of hotter cities such as Istanbul, Sydney or Dallas. London's population is growing and climate change is threatening the UK capital with hotter, dryer summers in the future. The Beckton plant falls within the Gateway Project, a long-term plan designed by the City authorities and which sets out to avoid water shortages in London, even in times of drought.
This is ACCIONA Agua's first UK contract, and comes in the wake of the company's considerable success in major international markets, such as the US or Australia. In 2009, the internationally acclaimed water industry publication Global Water Intelligence (GWI) named Beckton 'Sustainable Project of the Year'.