GRI 305-1, GRI 305-2, GRI Sector disclosure EU12
In addition to electricity consumption, our fleet of vehicles (which are crucial for being able to quickly access different parts of our grid area) also have an impact on our carbon footprint. In 2021, these vehicles produced 1,586 tonnes of CO2 (2020: 1,351 tonnes of CO2). As part of ActNow, 50Hertz has set itself the objective of having a zero-emission vehicle fleet by 2030. For this purpose, the existing fleet was analysed and a roadmap for the replacement of vehicles was developed, including supporting measures, such as the establishment of the required charging infrastructure around our administrative sites.
Sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) is used as an insulation and switching gas in gas-insulated high-voltage switchgear. It has great electrical properties, is non-toxic and is also very chemically stable. However, the global warming potential of SF6 is 23,500 times higher than CO2. SF6 is therefore used in closed circuits in switchgear, meaning emissions are very limited. The pressure vessels are monitored on a regular basis to check for potential leaks. Despite this, however, some leaks can’t be avoided, since they can be caused by the seal technology and (necessary) handling of the gas. In line with a voluntary commitment developed by SF6 producers and users, the loss rate measured against the total stock of SF6 may only be 0.6% in Germany; at 50Hertz, this rate was significantly lower at 0.14% in 2021. 50Hertz handles this gas with great care and responsibility during its transport, storage and use, and is exploring alternative gases to use across its assets. The market currently offers no alternative to SF6 for switchgear at 220 kV and 380 kV levels. 50Hertz, along with other companies, is sponsoring a research project at ETH Zurich. The aim of this project is to systematically investigate the suitability of alternative gases which can replace SF6 as insulating and switching gases in switchgear. The research programme will run for several years. In 2021, a 123 kV switchgear with an alternative gas mixture was commissioned for the first time in the Charlottenburg substation. This reduces the greenhouse effect by 99% compared with equivalent substations that use SF6. In addition, recycled SF6 was placed on an equal footing with brand new SF6 and 50Hertz has decided to use it in the future. In this way, the organisation is making an important contribution to reducing the amount of SF6 which is produced. As part of the Group’s sustainability programme ActNow, the search for a replacement for SF6 is being continued.
Power losses are an inevitable and inherent part of electricity transmission. They occur as current heat losses in conductors, transformers and other system elements, as well as in the form of leaks and corona losses. In 2020, 50Hertz recorded grid losses amounting to 2.3 TWh. The average grid losses at the extra-high-voltage level were 1.9 TWh; those during transformation were 0.4 TWh. 50Hertz planned the first 525 kV extra-high-voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission line in its control area as part of the SuedOstLink between Saxony-Anhalt and Bavaria. This technology is more suitable than conventional three-phase alternating current technology for transmitting large quantities of electricity in a targeted manner and with optimal control over long distances.
Different means of transport are used for business purposes. Air travel was responsible for emitting 48.4 tonnes of CO2 equivalent in 2021. In addition, employees used the long-distance transport services of Deutsche Bahn. According to Deutsche Bahn, long-distance transport can be considered to be CO2 neutral. In 2021, all GHG emissions related to business-related air travel were offset for the third year running.
In 2021, SF6 losses were offset via service provider Atmosfair for the second time. In 2020, the construction and operation of a wind farm in Nicaragua was supported as part of this, whilst the 2021 compensation payments were used to support a photovoltaic system in Senegal. The project is aligned with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs 1, 3, 7, 8, 9, 13 and 17).
50Hertz is committed to the principle that CO2 emissions should be avoided and reduced. Offsetting should only be undertaken if avoidance or reduction is impossible.
In 2021, direct (Scope 1) and indirect GHG (Scope 2) emissions were reported on for the fourth time. We have set ourselves the goal of reporting on scope 3 emissions by 2023.
* The values stated are estimated values as of 31/12/2021. The following calculation base figures and emission factors were used to determine the CO2 equivalents: SF6/IPCC 5th ARS, Fleet/direct usage fuel, Energy (electricity, district heating, gas)/Umweltbundesamt 2017 Scope 2 Guidance)
The calculated value of the carbon footprint corresponds to 96 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per kilometre of line, including grid losses (base figure: 10,325 kilometres of lines) and 9,052 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per TWh (basis: 109.5 transmitted TWh).
Strict regulations apply to electric and magnetic fields in Germany, which are governed by the Federal Immission Control Act. 50Hertz complies with the limits imposed by the act. 50Hertz takes the concerns of interested parties seriously, carries out on-site measurements of such areas and implements associated measures if necessary.
Strict guidelines apply in Germany for noise emissions, which are regulated as part of the Federal Immission Control Act. 50Hertz complies with the limits imposed by the Act. Measurements are carried out in response to information from interested parties and associated measures are carried out where necessary.
When dealing with waste, avoidance is 50Hertz’s preferred approach. However, the annual amount and composition of waste that is produced is highly dependent on the type of conversion and dismantling projects. When dealing with waste that cannot be avoided, the motto is ‘reuse - recycle - recover - dispose’. If facilities are newly built, converted or dismantled, any parts that are no longer needed are disposed of in as sustainable a way as possible. Since numerous grid expansion projects were undertaken in 2021, construction projects and compensation projects generated more waste overall than they did in 2020.
* preliminary values
50Hertz was able to adhere to the legally stipulated recycling requirement (recycling before disposal), meeting a recycling rate of 90%.