GRI 305-1, GRI 305-2, GRI Sector disclosure EU12
In addition to electricity consumption, the vehicles in the fleet, which are indispensable for comprehensive coverage of our extensive grid area and quick access to our systems, also impact the carbon footprint. In 2019, these vehicles produced 1,351 tons of CO2. 170 tons of CO2 were saved compared to the prior year (prior-year figure: 1,521 tons of CO2). As part of the sustainability initiative "Act Now", 50Hertz set the objective of achieving a zero-emission vehicle fleet by 2030. For this purpose, the existing fleet was analysed and a roadmap for vehicle exchange was developed, including supporting measures, such as the creation of the required charging infrastructure at the administration locations.
Sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) is now used as insulation and switching gas for gas-insulated high-voltage switchgears. It has great electrical properties, is non-toxic and also very stable in the chemical sense. But: The greenhouse potential per unit of SF6 is 23,000 times higher than CO2. Thus, SF6 is used in a close circuit in switchgears, as a result of which emissions into the environment are almost fully eliminated. The pressure vessels are always under technical monitoring for potential leakage. Despite all of these protective measures, a natural leakage due to the seal technology and the necessary gas handling cannot be avoided entirely. According to the voluntary commitment of SF6 producers and users, the total SF6 loss rate in Germany may only come to 0.6%; at 0.2%, the loss rate of 50Hertz was significantly below this amount. 50Hertz generally takes a very sensible and responsible approach to transporting, storing and using this technical gas, and strives for an alternative solution. However, at present, there is no alternative to SF6 available on the market that is fit for use for 220 and 380 kV switchgears. For this reason, 50Hertz is promoting a research project at ETH Zurich alongside 13 other companies. This project aims to systematically examine alternative gases in terms of their suitability as insulation and switching gases for switchgears. The research programme will run for three years. In the new Charlottenburg transmission substation, an operating switchgear was tested with an alternative gas for the first time.
Various modes of transport are used for business trips. In the reporting year, air travel accounted for 436 tons of CO2 equivalents. In addition, our employees travelled by long-distance trains operated by Deutsche Bahn. According to Deutsche Bahn, long-distance train journeys are to be considered carbon neutral.
The service provider atmosfair compensated for the total CO2 emissions from aviation for the second time and for the minor SF6 losses for the first time in the reporting year 2020. While the construction and operation of a wind farm in Nicaragua was supported in the prior year, the compensation measures are aimed at promoting a photovoltaic plant in Senegal in 2020. The project is in keeping with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 1, 3, 7, 8, 9, 13 and 17).
In the reporting year, the direct (scope 1) and indirect HGH emissions (scope 2) were included in the balance sheet for the third time.
The calculated figure in the carbon footprint corresponds to around 730 tons of CO2equivalents per person including grid losses and 26 tons of CO2 equivalents per person excluding grid losses (basis: 1,265 employees).
Electric and magnetic fields are subject to strict regulations in Germany that are governed by the BImSchG ["Bundesimmissionsgesetz": German Federal Immission Control Act]. 50Hertz adheres to these limits. 50Hertz takes the concerns of interested parties seriously, carries out measurements with them on site and derives measures, if necessary.
As in the area of electric and magnetic fields, there are strict guidelines in Germany for noise emissions, which are regulated by the BImSchG. 50Hertz also adheres to these limits. In response to indications from interested parties, measurements are performed and measures are derived, if necessary.
When it comes to handling waste, 50Hertz’s top priority is prevention. However, the annual waste production and composition is heavily dependent on restructuring and dismantling projects as well as compensatory and replacement measures. A year-by-year comparison is therefore not appropriate. When dealing with waste that cannot be prevented, we act on the principle “Reuse – reduce – recycle – dispose”. When we build, convert or dismantle a system, we dispose of any parts we no longer need in resource-friendly ways. Owing to a large number of construction projects to expand the grid, more waste was produced overall year on year as a result of construction and compensation projects.
50Hertz was able to comply with the legally prescribed recycling requirement (recycling before disposal) at a recycling rate of about 95%.