Sustainability Report 2016


The development of the high-voltage grid is necessary for transporting steadily increasing amounts of renewable energies over long distances. To keep the impact of this development on people and nature to a minimum, we apply the NOVA principle: grid optimisation (Netz-Optimierung) before reinforcement (Verstärkung) before extension (Ausbau). What that means in concrete terms is that we build new lines only as a last resort, only after all other options for increasing capacity of the grid have been exhausted.

Compact Line

Another step toward consistent reduction of interference with the environment is the compactLine pylon design, which is currently in its pilot phase of construction. The innovative research and development project features lower masts, narrower aisles and a solid-panel tower of smaller circumference. It will allow us to reduce our interference with landscapes and nature through overhead lines and to integrate a new 380 kV line into an existing 220 kV aisle (more on this topic in the Annual Report in the chapter “Our business” on p. 35).

environment protection

The planning, operation, maintenance and environmentally friendly conversion and expansion of our transmission grid in the northern and eastern part of Germany follow national and European frameworks and regulations. We control the operational implementation of environmental requirements by means of Company guidelines and process instructions, which are constantly updated and adapted. In our Environmental Protection Organisation Guideline we have defined 50Hertzʼs concrete obligations and tasks. Principally, the Executive Board is responsible for environmental protection. The board defines the goals and organisation of the Companyʼs environmental protection efforts. Within the Executive Board, our Chief Technical Officer Dr Frank Golletz assumes the function of environmental officer. The Executive Board also appoints the hazardous materials, waste and water protection officers, who advise the entire organisation on environmental issues. 

Our environmental protection activities are documented internally in annual environmental reports. These focus on issues of nature and water conservation, soil and emissions protection, as well as waste disposal. In 2015, we commissioned our first external energy audit according to the DIN EN 16247-1 standard, to systematically record the energy consumption of our systems and administrative buildings. We plan to repeat the audit in 2019.

The gradual development of our corporate environmental and energy management also includes sensitising and actively involving our employees. We conducted a cross-departmental information event on operational environmental protection in our corporate headquarters in 2016. An important part of our operational environmental protection is the sensitisation of employees. A number of individual training events on this topic were offered.

What is the NOVA principle?

The NOVA principle – Optimisation (Netz-Optimierung) before reinforcement (Verstärkung) before expansion (Ausbau) forms the basis of our grid planning. In practice, that means system operators must first try to optimise the utilisation of an existing grid. This could be accomplished through intelligent load flow control: Energy flows of high-load lines are diverted to lower load lines. If this is not enough, individual components of existing lines can be reinforced or replaced with higher- performing components in order to increase transmission capacity. Only when these possibilities are exhausted can new lines be considered to cover demand and guarantee secure system operation.