GRI 305-1, GRI 305-2, SDG7, SDG13
In addition to electricity consumption, the fleet vehicles have anindefinite influence on the CO2 footprint. They are essential for fully covering the extensive grid area and fast access to the facilities. Since 2019, a new location concept with ten instead of seven locations has been supporting the reduction of the necessary travel distances and thus contributing to the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. In addition, a further eight diesel vehicles have been replaced by electric vehicles as part of fleet management. A further two hybrid vehicles were ordered. Large-scale use of electric vehicles is not yet planned for reasons of range. As part of the replacement procurement process, the fleet is being continuously adapted to endure the advancement of technological standards and efficiency. These measures are reflected in the reduced CO2 emissions of the vehicle fleet. In 2019, these vehicles emitted 1,521 tons of CO2. Compared to the previous year (previous year's value 1,758 tons CO2), 237 tons of CO2 were not released.
Today, sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) is used as an insulating and switchinggas in gas-insulated high-voltage switchgear. It has very good electrical properties, is non-toxic and chemically very stable. However, SF6 has a global warming potential per unit of a substance that is approximately 23,000 times higher than CO2. For this reason, SF6 is used in switchgear in a closed circuit, i.e. emissions to the environment are, in this way, virtually eliminated. The pressure chambers are permanently monitored technically for potential leaks. However, despite all these protective measures, natural leakage is inevitable due to the sealing technology and the necessary gas handling. According to a voluntary commitment by SF6 manufacturers and users, the loss rate measured on the total stock of SF6 in Germany may only amount to 0.6 percent - at 50 hertz, this rate was significantly lower in the year under review at 0.1 percent. 50Hertz ensures that this technical gas is handled extremely sensitively and responsibly during transport, storage and use and is aiming for an alternative solution. Nevertheless, there is yet no marketable alternative to SF6 for switchgear at the 220 and 380 kilovolt levels. Therefore, 50Hertz, together with 13 other companies, is funding a research project at the ETH Zurich. This project aims to systematically investigate alternative gases for their suitability as insulating and switching gases in switchgear. The research programme will be conducted over the course of three years.
Various modes of transport are used for business trips. In the reporting year, air travel accounted for 436 tonnes of CO2. In addition, employees travelled 546.000 kilometres by long-distance trains. Long-distance train journeys are not reported, as Deutsche Bahn claims to use 100% green electricity.
50Hertz is currently evaluating the successive expansion of its climate management scheme and the associated possibility of reducing its GHG emissions. For the reporting year 2019, the full CO2 emissions from airtravel were offset for the first time via the service provider atmosfair and the first wind farm in Nicaragua's Rivas province was supported. With a total capacity of 39.9 MW and an average electricity production of 196 GWh per year, the wind farm makes a considerable contribution to clean electricity production all while fighting the energy deficit of the second poorest country in this region. The project is in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 1, 3, 7, 8, 9, 13 and 17) of the United Nations.
In the reporting year, direct (Scope 1) and indirect GHG emissions (Scope 2) were calculated for the second time.
The calculated figure in the carbon footprint corresponds to 1,002 tonnes of CO2 equivalents per person including grid losses and 29 tonnes of CO2 equivalents per person excluding grid losses (basis: 1,120 employees).
Strict regulations apply in Germany for electric and magnetic waves, which are regulated by the Federal Emissions Act. 50Hertz fully complies within these limits. 50Hertz takes the concerns of citizens very seriously and, upon request, carries out measurements on site, together with the concerned citizens, all the while demonstrating aprecautionary approach.
Just as in the field of electric and magnetic waves, strict limits apply in Germany for noise emissions, which are regulated by the Federal Emissions Act. 50Hertz fully complies with these limits.
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 applicable in this case. When dealing with waste that cannot be prevented, we act on the principle “Avoid – reuse – reduce –recycle – dispose”. When we build, convert or dismantle a system, we dispose of any parts we no longer need in a resource-friendly way. In comparison with the previous year, construction and compensation projects generated less waste overall in the year under review.
50Hertz was able to comply with the legally prescribed recycling requirement (recycling before disposal) at a recycling rate of approximately 74%.
GRI Sector disclosure EU12
When electricity is transmitted, energy losses are inevitable. They present themselves in the form of current heat losses in transmission lines, in transformers and other system elements as well as as as leak and corona losses. In 2019 the grid losses of 50Hertz totalled 2.3 TWh. The grid losses of the extra-high voltage level were 1.9 TWh, and those of the transformation level 0.4 TWh. 50Hertz has already premeditated the South-East Link between Saxony-Anhalt and Bavaria, the first 525kV high-voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission line in its grid area. This technology is more suitable than conventional three-phase AC technology for transmitting large quantities of electricity with low grid losses and optimal control over long distances.
To be able to better predict the losses more precisely and to be able to purchase electrical energy for balancing more cost-effectively on the electricity market, 50Hertz has developed a new forecasting model based on artificial intelligence (AI). 50Hertz has developed the grid loss model in cooperation with the Fraunhofer Institute for Optronics, Systems Engineering and Image Analysis (IOSB) in Ilmenau. Additionally, 50Hertz is considering an evaluation project in corporation with Elia, the aim of which is to counteract grid losses with renewable energies in order to reduce the CO2 footprint in Scope 2.