Sustainability Report 2017

Environmentally Conscious Player

We assume social responsibility and are committed to the common good. Therefore, we are actively involved in the protection of the environment and climate in our grid area. We protect flora, fauna and biodiversity, conserve natural resources and keep our energy consumption and emissions as low as possible in our business activities.

The quantities of renewable energies that we integrate and transport in our grid are constantly increasing. Therefore, 50Hertz is constantly further developing its high voltage grid. So that this has as little impact on humans and nature as possible, the so-called NOVA principle applies: Grid optimisation before reinforcement before expansion. So we only build new lines when there is no other option. Before this, we exploit all other technical options with which we can increase the capacity of the grid.


A further step in the systematic reduction of adverse effects on the environment is the development of the new type of transmission line, the so called compactLine. This line features lower mast heights, narrower routes and a solid panel mast on a smaller scale. In the future, it should allow landscape and nature interventions by overhead lines to be reduced in sensitive areas. The compactLine is a 380-kilovolt line that, due to its compact design, fits into sections of existing 220-kilovolt lines. In the fourth quarter of 2017, we began construction work on about a two-kilometre long pilot line.

Smaller, slimmer, more effective – We are developing a new mast design

Everyone knows electricity pylons – and hardly anyone finds them particularly attractive. Together with partners from industry and science, in the context of the compactLine research and development project, we are testing the most space-saving mast constructions possible. The basic idea: Between the masts, carrier lines are pulled taut, so that they hardly sag at all. Similar to a cable car, the power lines are then hung from the carrier lines. In effect, compactLine is a small space-saving miracle: The mast height of 50–60 metres can be reduced to 30–36 metres and the line widths reduced from 72 metres to 55–60 metres.

Strommast der compactLine Jessen/Nord grid connection using the new compactLine mast design.

Environmental Protection

50Hertz plans, operates and maintains its transmission grid on the basis of national and European requirements and regulations, and builds and expands it in an environmentally sustainable manner. We implement the environmental regulatory framework conditions operationally in company policies and procedures that are continually updated and adapted. In the environmental protection organisation policy, we have defined the specific duties and tasks of 50Hertz. In principle, our Board of Management – and in particular our Chief Technical Officer Dr. Frank Golletz – is responsible for the protection of the environment at the company. It sets out the objectives and organisation of environmental protection at 50Hertz. The Board of Management also appoints the compliance officer for hazardous materials, waste and water protection who advises the entire organisation on environmental issues.

We have documented our environmental protection activities within the company in annual environmental reports. The focus is on the interests of environmental and water protection, soil and emission protection as well as the disposal of waste. 50Hertz is currently examining the possibility of providing individual key figures in advance in the coming reporting year.

For the first time, in 2015 50Hertz had an external energy audit performed in accordance with DIN EN 16247-1. This systematically recorded the energy consumption of our facilities and administration building. In accordance with the applicable schedule, we are planning the next audit for 2019.

We are developing our operational environmental protection and energy management step-by-step. We are sensitising our employees to the associated topics and getting them actively involved. 50Hertz has met the statutory provisions on training. Water protection and waste officers are trained annually on a one-day basis at 50Hertz. Here, we exceed the statutory provision of two days of training every two years.

We train those involved in the process of dangerous goods and the officer for dangerous goods every five years. Respective departments within the company, such as purchasing and facility management as well as project management, receive training as required.