PSE influences the stable operation of the electricity system in Poland with its activities. While ensuring the continuity of energy supplies to all regions of our country, our organisation recognises the impact of its activities on the climate and takes steps to monitor this impact on an ongoing basis. The tool PSE uses to measure this impact is to calculate its carbon footprint. Carbon footprint was adopted as a fixed indicator taken into consideration in evaluating the performance of our organisation and is used in managing the company.

PSE's carbon footprint calculations were performed in accordance with the international GHG Protocol Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard. We used 2017 as our baseline year – the year for which we calculated greenhouse gas emissions for the first time and against which we compare emissions in the following years.

In this year's calculations, we have decided to extend the analysis of the volume of greenhouse gas emissions resulting from our activities to include further categories related to our value chain (scope 3). Compared to the previous year, this year's calculations have also included emissions from the production and distribution of the fuels and energy used (the so-called Well-to-Tank emissions) and the production and losses arising from the transmission of electricity returned from the grid to end users. We have also calculated emissions associated with the management of the waste we generate. We have also included these aspects in the results for 2017-2020 by way of recalculation in order to maintain comparability of results and consistency in the methodology used. We aim to broaden our view of our company's climate impact and more accurately identify opportunities for action that PSE can take to reduce this impact.

We performed the calculations for:

  • activities carried out by the entire organisation, i.e. the Headquarters in Konstancin-Jeziorna and branches (ZKO), excluding ZKO in Warsaw,
  • the tasks of the transmission system operator set forth in the regulations.

In 2021, PSE's carbon footprint was:

  • According to the location-based* method – 3,765,290 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent. In year-on-year (YOY) comparisons, emissions increased by 16 percent, and compared to 2017 – decreased by 11 percent.
  • According to the market-based* method – 3,762,934 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent. There was an 8 percent increase in emissions from 2020, and a 19 percent reduction from 2017, which is the baseline year.

PSE's lower emissions compared to the baseline year according to the location-based method are largely due to a reduction in the amount of energy returned from the grid to end users and a decrease in the average carbon intensity of electricity in Poland. Taking the emission indices for electricity according to the market-based method into account, a change of electricity provider resulting from a modification of the method of contracting energy purchases contributed to a 33 percent emission in scope 2 as compared to the baseline year.

The year-on-year increase in emissions was due to an increase in the amount of energy transmission losses, as well as an increase in the amount of energy returned from the grid to end users. Nearly 99% of PSE's scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions result from the operations of the power system operator.

The remaining emissions are mainly due to electricity consumption for technical purposes by substations, electricity and heat consumption in our buildings, emissions of SF6 – the gas used as an insulator in substation equipment, and fuel combustion in company cars. Greenhouse gas emissions associated with business travels and the management of the waste generated together account for less than 0.1 percent.

Data sources and emission indices

Data on energy and fuel consumption are based on invoices and internal records. Emissions of SF6 and HFC gases (hydrofluorocarbon greenhouse gases) were determined based on gas refilling levels. The distance traveled by airplane was determined based on internal records and flight routes. Information on the types of waste transferred to third parties for disposal in 2021 came from internal records. Due to difficulties in obtaining data for previous years, emissions were calculated based on the total mass of waste transferred in previous years and assuming the same structure of this waste as in 2021.

For fuels, electricity (location-based method) and heat (until 2019), emission indices and calorific values based on data from the National Centre of Emission Balancing and Management were adopted in the calculations, for heat since 2020 – the index published by the Energy Regulatory Office was adopted, for SF6 and HFC gases – GWP100 indices were adopted according to the 4th (until 2020) and 5th (2021) Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change(IPCC). Emission indices for electricity according to the market-based method were adopted based on the information on the structure of fuels used as published on websites of relevant energy providers. Emission factors for air travel (until 2020) and for fuel and energy on a Well-to-Tank basis (emissions associated with oil extraction and processing, transport of used fuels to stations/end user, and transmission losses in the case of electricity) were adopted from the DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in the UK Government) database. Emissions associated with air travel in 2021 were calculated by the delegation management system used.

No biogenic greenhouse gas emissions were identified. The greenhouse gas included in the emission indices for fuel, electricity and heat is CO2. The greenhouse gases included in the emission factors from the DEFRA database (air travel, emissions for fuel and energy on a Well-to-Tank basis, waste management) are  CO2, CH4, N2O.

Worth knowing

The carbon footprint is the sum of greenhouse gas emissions caused directly or indirectly by a person, organisation, event or product. It includes emissions of carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and other greenhouse gases expressed in CO2 equivalent. An organisation's carbon footprint includes the emissions caused by all of its operations. Its measure is MgCO2e - a ton (megagram) of carbon dioxide equivalent.

Carbon footprint is one of the key tools of modern environmental management. It is international in nature and is increasingly being used by entrepreneurs as one of the primary methods to improve the efficiency of business operations.

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