Edison’s approach to an increasingly low carbon production model with an even larger share of energy from renewable sources has translated into an unwavering commitment to reducing environmental impacts and highlighting natural resources.
Edison’s focus on the environment is confirmed by, among other things, the positive results of audits on the integrated environment and safety system in accordance with ISO 14001 and BSI OHSAS 18001 standards with respect to the Power Asset and Engineering Divisions. Indeed, all the scheduled inspections to monitor and/or update management systems were successfully completed. During the year, certification was also extended to the photovoltaic system in Piedimonte San Germano (Frosinone), an operating annex of the thermoelectric operations, and the photovoltaic system in Maleo in the hydroelectric sector. All plants in the division, except the new hydroelectric power plants acquired in the year, are certified.
In 2016, activities continued to classify, update to safety standards and reclaim certain sites, most of which are located in highly significant industrial areas that could potentially be polluted by the previous activities that have been sold and/or discontinued.
Environmental reclamation proceedings on soil and underground water contamination sites detected or commenced in previous years at certain thermoelectric and hydroelectric power stations continued in 2016 as well. In particular, they concern the Marghera Levante and Marghera Azotati production sites in Porto Marghera (Venice), Sesto San Giovanni (Milan), Bussi sul Tirino (Pescara), San Giuseppe di Cairo (Savona) and Pieve Vergonte (Verbana-Cusio-Ossola). At the thermoelectric plant in Simeri Crichi, the phyto-purification system to treat non-industrial effluents from the power station was put into operation, reducing the disposal of non-industrial effluents as waste.
As for new production plants, care for the environment begins as early as the design stage: experience gained over the years not only in development, but in plant operation and relationships with environmental protection bodies as well, has led to a wealth of knowledge currently serving all the production sources in which Edison operates.
To protect and best use water resources, Edison obtained authorisation to recover water from the water table for the Marghera Azotati power station: the project will be developed in 2017.
In the wind power sector, the path taken in 2015 with the preparation of the “Charter for the renewal of sustainable wind power” – sponsored by e2i and signed by leading players in the sector, together with ANCI and Legambiente – was consolidated in 2016 as another player signed the charter as well. The content of the charter was reported to local parties and operators in various initiatives and meetings. In 2016, a document titled “Implementation of the charter” was prepared and will be defined and discussed with the various players in 2017.
Parallel to this external process, e2i revised and consolidated its ethics and compliance tools, which earned it the highest possible “Legality rating” from AGCM (the Italian anti-trust authority).
e2i adopted an organisational and management model pursuant to Legislative decree no. 231/2001 which, together with the anti-bribery code, defines the company’s governance rules. It also implemented and maintained a management system in accordance with UNI EN ISO 14001 and BSI OHSAS 18001 standards and EC 1221/2009 (EMAS) standards. In November 2016, the company’s EMAS registration was updated and the ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001 environmental and safety certificates were renewed.
The production of waste in the wind power sector is particularly important when the plants are built, due to the site activities. During plant management, waste is produced in normal ordinary and extraordinary maintenance on parts. Edison’s goal is to privilege recycling over disposal, where possible. In 2016, no development sites were opened and only extraordinary maintenance was carried out.
Complete rebuilding projects that will be implemented beginning in 2017 were aimed at more efficient ground use. The fleet of wind power plants is being expanded with the installation of larger machines (in terms of power and size) that are efficient (more productive), without the additional use of ground space.
Certain electric equipment uses less sulphur hexafluoride (SF6): when used as an insulator, this gas is considered a greenhouse gas. In order to mitigate and monitor emissions, specific machine cards are created and the dispersion of SF6 is kept in check.
Preliminary assessments and electro-magnetic field measurements are conducted as a rule at the various wind farms when applying for authorisation and during the first months of plant operation: the findings are always under the legal limits. Only pre-assessment studies were carried out in 2016 on electro-magnetic fields for the wind farms that were taken to auction at the end of 2016.
As part of the integrated management system that went into effect in 2016, e2i has implemented a procedure known as “PTE 030 Noise Impact” which describes how the company assesses, starting with the initial design stages, the noise impacts of its wind farms and how it limits the effects of such noise. All the receptor records relating to projects taken to auction were updated and two noise impact forecast assessment reports were prepared for the Troia (Foggia) and Vaglio Basilicata (Pistoia) wind farms.
In 2016, three large environmental restoration projects were carried out at two operating wind farms in Calabria and Sicily following small landslides that made it necessary to carry out work to secure areas near the farms.
Activities continued to monitor birds near the wind farms in Calabria. These activities were also flanked by tangible work to protect biodiversity with the construction of feeders in certain periods of the year and installation and monitoring of nest beds for reproduction. Kestrels and jays, species of particular interest to conservationists, have been seen.
2016 was also the fourth year in which birds are tracked near the San Benedetto Val di Sambro (Bologna) wind farm. The study confirmed that the site was not an important location along the birds’ migratory path. Information on the mating season has not changed with respect to previous surveys.
Activities were completed in 2016 to definitively restore the Baselice (Benevento) wind farm. All the areas used for the site were adequately replanted and the conditions in place before the construction were restored.