Sustainability Report 2017

Energy and Emissions

Sustainability and environmental protection are firmly anchored in the business operation of 50Hertz. We are a world champion in the integration of volatile renewable energies: In 2017, over 53 percent of the gross electricity consumption in the 50Hertz grid area came from wind power, photovoltaics and biomass.

Influenceable total energy consumption at 50Hertz for 2014*

Energy consumption
  MWh %
Electricity 50,744.187 84.8
District heating
2,467.109 4.1
Fuel (petrol) 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.

The total energy consumption that could be influenced by 50Hertz in 2014 without grid losses was at 59,832 megawatt hours (MWh). We regularly conduct an energy audit according to DIN EN 16247-1. The last audit took place in 2015 for the reporting year 2014. In 2019 we plan to conduct the follow-up audit. We are currently looking into the possibility of installing a process to determine consumptions during the year.

Grid losses

With power transmission, energy losses inevitably occur. These arise in the form of heat losses at transmission lines, transformers and other system elements as well as discharge losses and corona losses. In 2017, 50Hertz’ grid losses came to 2.4 TWh. The average grid losses at the high voltage level come to 231.7 MWh and those from transformation to 43.5 MWh. 50Hertz is planning the first high voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission line route in its grid area, between Lower Saxony and Bavaria – the SuedOstLink. The HVDC technology is more suitable compared to alternating current (AC) technology for transmitting large quantities of power at low grid losses with optimal control and in a targeted manner over large distances.

CO2 Balance

We use various means of transport for business travel. Fleet vehicles have the greatest impact on the CO2 balance. Their use is indispensable for comprehensive coverage of the extensive grid area and quick system access. In 2017, these vehicles emitted 1,854 tonnes of carbon dioxide. This value is below the previous year’s value of 2,058 tonnes of CO2. We attribute this to fewer trips to the grid area and to our efficiency project that started in 2017. In the context of fleet management, we tested and selectively deployed electric and hybrid vehicles. Large-scale use is not currently foreseeable from the effectiveness point of view. In the context of replacement procurement, we are continually adapting our fleet to the current state of technology.

Air travel by 50Hertz employees in 2017 caused emissions of 335 tonnes of CO2 equivalents. Furthermore, our employees travelled about 540,000 kilometres by train. According to Deutsche Bahn, we travel in this manner using 100 percent green power. Thus, we saved around 118 tonnes of CO2 compared to the previous year.

Usage of Sulphur Hexaflouride (SF6)

In switchgears, transformers and gas-insulated switching stations, sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) is used. Due to its excellent insulating and arc properties, this gas is a key fuel for 50Hertz. At the same time though, SF6 has very high greenhouse potential. Therefore, during transport, storage and use, this gas must be handled with the appropriate sensitivity. The requirements of the 2014 Revised European F-Gas Regulation are complied with. Since 2005, 50Hertz has applied the “Voluntary commitment on the part of SF6 manufacturers and users”. It aims to reduce the measured loss rate for the entire inventory of 0.8 percent in 2004 to 0.6 percent by 2020. As a result of conscious internal monitoring of the operation and maintenance of our insulated facilities, we were already significantly below our own commitment at a SF6-loss rate of 0.06 percent in 2017. A new kind of gas-insulated 110-kV switching station is being built at the Berlin Charlottenburg substation. Here, instead of the conventional insulating gas, sulphur hexafluoride (SF6), we are using a gas mixture with far less greenhouse warming potential. The gas mixture with the designation g³ offers the same technical properties as SF6, but is up to 99 percent less harmful in regard to the greenhouse effect.

The new 50Hertz Netzquartier – Energy Efficient

The new 50Hertz Netzquartier was awarded the internationally recognised Gold Standard of the German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB) and of the American LEED Standard (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). The regional centres in Röhrsdorf and Hamburg were also newly built as energetically sustainable buildings.