GRI 102-11, GRI 308-1, GRI 308-2, GRI Sector disclosure Biodiversity
Environmental and social sustainability, as well as a clear commitment to environmental protection and the conservation of resources, are all integral components of the corporate strategy. 50Hertz is a frontrunner in the integration of renewable energies into the entire electrical system: In 2019, around 60% of gross electricity consumption in the 50Hertz balancing zone was derived from wind or photovoltaic power as well as biomass, hydropower and other renewable energies. The development of the extra-high-voltage grid is necessary for transporting gradually increasing amounts of renewable energies overlong distances and to ensure the security of the electricity supply and an effective electricity market. Our main goal is to sustain the impact of 50Hertz’s plants and activities on people and natural habitats to an absolute minimum. Therefore, compliance with the NOVA principle is a matter of course for 50Hertz. NOVA states, grid optimisation (Netz-Optimierung) before reinforcement (Verstärkung) before expansion (Ausbau). Simply put, 50Hertz only builds new lines when all other options for increasing grid capacity have been exhausted.
The planning, operation, maintenance, and environmentally friendly conversion and expansion of our transmission grid in the northern and eastern parts of Germany follow national and European frameworks and regulations. This operational implementation of environmental requirements is controlled by means of company guidelines and process instructions, which are continually updated and adapted. In our environmental protection organisation guideline, 50Hertz has set out tangible obligations and tasks. Principally, the management team is responsible for environmental protection. It defines the goals and organization of the Company’s environmental protection efforts. Within management, the Chief Technical Officer Dr. Frank Golletz assumes the function of the environmental officer. The management also directs the hazardous materials, waste and water protection officers, who advise the entire organisation on environmental issues.
Since October 2019, the new Department of Environment / Quality Management / Business Unit Control has been responsible for the appropriate handling and implementation of all tasks relating to environmental and nature conservation issues, quality management and the management of related tasks. The department advises the head office functions (staff functions) at the various company locations in respect to process control and ensures the stringent implementation of the environmental and quality strategy and legal compliance.
50Hertz ensures the availability of any relevant information and all required resources for fulfilling the strategic and operative objectives relating to energy efficiency and environmental protection. Environmental protection activities are documented internally via annual environmental reports. The Environmental Report for the 2019 reporting year is due to be published in March 2020. For this reason,some of the figures mentioned are based on calculated estimates and have therefore been marked.
50Hertz consistently and actively works on continuously improving its environmental performance, energy-related performance and management system. To progressively further develop operational environmental protection and energy management, you also need to raise awareness of and actively involve employees, which are motivated to act in an environmentally friendly and energy-efficient way. In doing so, the legal requirements for training are consequently met. As the law requires water protection and waste officers to attend a two-day training every two years, at 50Hertz employees receive one day of training every year. The training for employees and hazardous materials officers involved in the hazardous materials process is provided every five years. Individual company departments, such as the Procurement/Facility Management Department and the project units, are given training as and when required.
The "Agreement on Quality Assurance on Construction Sites" is an essential part of new contracts. Suppliers and contains, among other things, are concerns of the precautionary principle in environmental protection. Compliance with this principle is frequently checked by means of IT-supported construction inspections. In the year under review, 1,260 construction site inspections were carried out. The common code of conduct for suppliers of Elia Group is assumed for 50Hertz and contractual for all suppliers. The code of conduct enlists additional principles on environmental protection and resourceconservation.
A further step towards consequently reducing the impact on the environment is the development of the "compactLine" pylon design. Lowering mast heights, narrowing routes and a solid wall mast with a smaller circumference are the hallmarks of this innovative research and development project. In the future, it should make it possible to reduce the impact of overhead lines on the landscape and nature in endangered areas. The compact design offers an ideal opportunity to integrate a new 380 kV line into sections of existing 220 kV lines. Following the one-year test operation, which commenced in August 2018, the evaluation began in the year under review we are awaiting the results in the second quarter of 2020.