Scottish Water is planning to be a partner in an 18-turbine wind farm in Angus to help cut its own £40 million electicity bill.

The planned development at the Backwater Reservoir near Kirriemuir has the potential to generate up to one-third of the utility's energy requirement.

The power would be sold to the grid and then bought back at a discounted rate, which could save several million pounds a year.

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Its partner is Eneco Wind UK, which has been awarded the rights to explore the development of a wind farm of up to 54MW on Scottish Water land at the Angus reservoir.

The project will be known as Macritch Hill.

The planned development could generate 142GWh per annum towards Scottish Water's 445GWh annual energy requirement, which powers about 2000 treatment works across the country as well as piping the water through the network.

Chris Banks, commercial director at Scottish Water, said: "As one of Scotland's biggest consumers of electricity, the generation of renewable energy on appropriate sites is a natural fit for Scottish Water.

"We want to become increasingly energy efficient while helping to meet Scotland's ambitious renewable energy targets. That's why we are exploring the feasibility of renewable energy development on suitable Scottish Water land."

Mr Banks said Macritch Hill had been identified for possible development. "The more Scottish Water commits to renewable generation on its own assets at stable future prices the more efficient we become and that can only be good for our customers."