Hidden away or underground, wastewater infrastructure is an essential component to growing, sustainable communities. Around the world, this infrastructure enables cities to develop, economies to grow and communities to thrive. It is also a major source of global greenhouse gas emissions, primarily due to inherent inefficiencies. (Source: EPA)
Meanwhile, the global environmental challenges we face are becoming more urgent each day. Failing or inefficient infrastructure is one factor that poses serious environmental and economic risk. Our latest research shows that solutions to some of these challenges are available today—and the economic implications are compelling. Existing high efficiency wastewater management systems can significantly cut harmful emissions without adding costs to current operations around the world. What are we waiting for?
This study assesses 18 distinct electricity-related emissions abatement opportunities across three core regions: the United States, Europe, and China. A summary of the results by region can be found in Table 1. For each of the abatement opportunities, the concepts of marginal abatement cost curve (MACC) and internal rate of return (IRR) provide insight into the financial attractiveness of the opportunities, the overall emissions abatement potential, and the sensitivity of these investments to the key levers of carbon pricing and investor discount rates. This approach identifies low-cost ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while acknowledging the political and financial barriers to adoption; a perspective which we believe is of interest to the wastewater industry and all stakeholders in the climate change debate, including non-governmental organizations, financial institutions, academics, and policy makers.
"At Xylem, we look forward to working with colleagues in the water sector and across industries, with academics and innovators, NGOs and the financial community to develop new ideas and creative partnerships to advance adoption of these and other sustainable solutions. We hope you’ll join us." - Patrick Decker, President and CEO, Xylem