Sustainability Report 2016


Sustainability and environmental protection are integral parts of our business operations. We are a worldwide pioneer in the integration of volatile renewable energies: In 2016, around 48 per cent of the in-fed electricity in our control area came from wind or photovoltaic power, or biomass. Sustainability was also a major consideration from the start in the construction of our 50Hertz Netzquartier building in Berlin Mitte. The building, finished in 2016, sets new standards in terms of energy efficiency, ecology, utilisation options and accessibility – the fact that it received the internationally recognised Gold Award of the German Association for Sustainable Building (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Nachhaltiges Bauen or DGNB) and the American LEED Standard (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) speaks for itself. Our regional centres in Röhrsdorf and Hamburg Ost were also built as sustainable structures.


The external energy audit conducted during the reporting period revealed optimisation potential across the Company. We are now carefully examining the feasibility of these optimisations in terms of economy and sustainability. Not all locations are equipped with suitable energy and heat meters to reasonably analyse the energy needs and identify potential savings. We are currently checking where such devices can be successively installed in order to precisely record consumption data.

Energy Consumption

The influencable total energy consumption of 50Hertz in 2014 was 59,831.710 megawatt hours (MWh) without transmission losses. The major proportion of the total energy consumption at about 85 per cent was electricity consumption. Diesel consumption was in second place with 9.7 per cent, followed by district heating at 4.1 per cent.

Grid loss

Some energy is always lost when electricity is transmitted, whether as current heat loss in transmission lines, in transformers and other system elements, or as leakage and corona loss. These grid losses are happening primarily because we are transmitting electricity over long distances, for example from offshore wind farms to southern Germany. In 2016, 50Hertz recorded grid losses of 2.05 terawatt hours. The average grid losses at the extra-high-voltage level were 196.7 megawatt; those of transformation were 36.9 megawatt.

According to the German Energy Act (Energiewirtschaftsgesetz) and the Grid Access Directive (Stromnetzzugangsverordnung), we are obliged to procure the energy necessary to cover grid loss in a market-oriented, transparent and non-discriminatory process. The average costs during the report period were 3.8 cents/kilowatt hour. With the SuedOstLink between Saxony-Anhalt and Bavaria, we are planning the first 400 kV extra-high-voltage direct current transmission line in our control area. This technology is more suitable than conventional three-phase AC current technology to expediently transport large amounts of energy over long distances with lower grid loss and optimal control (more on this topic in the Annual Report in the chapter “Our business” on p. 32–34).

CO2 balance

We use various modes of transportation for business trips. The vehicles in our fleet have the largest impact on our CO2 balance, but are indispensable for comprehensive coverage of our extensive grid area and quick access to our systems. In 2016, these vehicles produced 2,058 tons of CO2. Air travel in the same year accounted for 320 tons of CO2 equivalents. In addition, our employees logged over 539,000 railway kilometres. When travelling by rail, we use 100 per cent renewables, which according to Deutsche Bahn means we saved about 87 tons of CO2. We are currently examining options to further reduce our CO2 emissions in the context of operational requirements and intend to expand our reporting accordingly in the future.

We use sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) in our contactors, transformers and gas-insulated switchgear. This gas is a central operating material at 50Hertz because of its excellent insulating and arc properties. At the same time, however, SF6 has high greenhouse potential, so we have to be very cautious in transporting, storing and using the gas. We already comply with the requirements of the European F-Gas Directive*, which was updated in 2014, and since 2005 we have worked in accordance with the Voluntary Commitment of SF6 Producers and Users (Freiwillige Selbstverpflichtung der SF6-Hersteller und -Nutzer). Its goal is to reduce the loss rate of 0.8 per cent of the total in 2004 to 0.6 per cent in 2020. As a result of conscientious handling and internal monitoring for operation and maintenance of our gasinsulated systems, in 2016 we came in significantly below the voluntary commitment with a loss rate of only 0.2 per cent.

* Regulation (EU) No 517/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 April 2014 on fluorinated greenhouse gases

Sustainable construction - the 50Hertz "Netzquartier" building

  • Double Gold Awards from DGNB and the international LEED Standard 
  • First building worldwide with “DGNB Diamant” Award for outstanding design and architectural quality
  • Optimised energy savings and intelligent lighting systems 
  • 100 per cent powered by renewable energies 
  • Photovoltaic and wind energy systems on the roof for charging electric vehicles and to supplement the building’s power needs 
  • Excellent connection with local public transport system and special parking spaces for bicycles and electric vehicles

influenceable total energy consumption of 50Hertz in 2014*

Energy consumption
  MWh %
Electricity 50.744,187 84,8
District heating 2.467,109 4,1
Fuel (Gasoline) 32,910 0,1
Fuel (Diesel) 5.799,063 9,7
Natural gas 788,442 1,3
Total energy consumption 59.831,710 100,0


* Data resource: External energy audit according to DIN EN 16247-1 in 2015. Periodic reporting is subject to future planning.

Feed-in from renewable energy sources (under EEG) in the 50Hertz control area and in Germany Evolution of feed-in from renewable energy sources (under EEG) in the 50Hertz control area and in Germany