ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT AND CLIMATE ACTIONS (E)PSE's priorities in the area of environmental protection

The priorities of our organisation's actions for the natural environment are set out in the Policy for an Integrated Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety Management System. Successful implementation of the integrated system has been confirmed by an external certification body with a relevant certificate issued for the period from 24 July 2021 to 23 July 2024.

In line with the Management Board's strategic decision, the company strives to reconcile reliable and efficient operation of the power system and its development, while respecting the natural environment and public interest. In furtherance of these objectives, we are committed to:

  • pollution prevention and continuous efforts to improve actions for natural environment protection, including through hazard identification and risk management,
  • environmental monitoring of the work environment,
  • comply with legal and other requirements applicable to the Company,
  • improvement of employee skills, taking into account their role, and involving them in the improvement of environmental protection,
  • development and modernisation of network infrastructure in a way that ensures respect for the landscape, protected areas and areas of special natural values.

At the beginning of 2022, PSE's actual and potential areas of environmental impact were reviewed. As a result, the list of environmental aspects was supplemented with the item "Generation of electricity from renewable sources". Power is generated for the grid infrastructure auxiliary systems using photovoltaic panels and mini wind turbines to power obstruction lighting on lines and substations.

The company has identified 12 environmental aspects, of which 4 are significant:

  1. electromagnetic field emission,
  2. noise emission,
  3. generation of waste,
  4. hazardous substance leakage.

Priorities in the area of the environment

The significant aspects listed above are PSE's priority environmental areas. In order to ensure that the activities of a Transmission System Operator comply with environmental protection regulations, constant monitoring is carried out on the premises of the facilities operated, as well as during the implementation of investment tasks, and measures are introduced to reduce harmful effects on the environment. Periodic environmental training is carried out to update and consolidate knowledge and skills in the field of environmental protection and to familiarise employees with technical and organisational solutions. Training topics include, among others, environmental legislation, environmental aspects, waste management, dealing with hazardous substance leakages, noise emissions into the environment, EF emissions into the environment, air emissions, water and wastewater management and internal environmental inspections.

Environmental aspects

With regard to the most significant environmental aspects identified, our company has internally defined rules of conduct and supervision to ensure meeting of all legal requirements and sustainable use of natural resources – as far as possible.

  • Electromagnetic field emissions

We carry out a number of activities that are conducive to achieving our objectives:
– meeting the legally required permissible levels of electromagnetic fields in the environment outside the right-of-way of the line,
– selection of locations for new investment projects allowing to limit construction of power facilities in residential areas,
– maintaining the efficiency of systems and equipment,
– modern technological solutions of equipment and systems.

  • Noise emission

We perform tasks affecting the compliance with permissible levels of noise in the environment required by law, such as:
– selection of network infrastructure locations to limit the construction of power facilities in residential areas,
– quality inspections of the works performed,
– maintaining efficient systems and equipment.

  • Waste generation

Waste generation has been classified at PSE as a significant aspect. The rules for dealing with waste generated from operations at network facilities, the head office and field units are regulated in PSE S.A. Waste Management Manual. Employees are informed of updates and changes to the document resulting from adaptation to applicable provisions of law.

To enable selective waste collection, the company's head office building, branch offices and substations have been equipped with containers for selective collection. Waste is stored on site until it is collected by authorised parties. Waste storage areas – warehouses and containers for storing different fractions – have been appropriately marked. One of the regular training points for the company's employees is the presentation of rules and responsibilities regarding waste segregation. Maintaining proper segregation is also the subject of inspections at the facilities.

The Waste Management Manual applies both to waste generated by PSE and to waste generated by PSE-owned external entities as part of operation. It is applicable at the stages of operation, disaster recovery, investment, overhaul and decommissioning. Agreements with external entities include an HSEQ appendix, which sets out, among other things, waste management rules applicable to contractors. In order to ensure that contractors' waste management activities comply with the regulations, constant supervision is carried out on the premises of operated facilities and during execution of investment tasks.

  • Leakage of a hazardous substance

Another aspect identified as significant is a hazardous substance leakage occurring in emergency situations. Our company is working to reduce the likelihood of an emergency through preventive measures, appropriate operation of facilities and maintaining readiness to reduce the environmental impact of failures caused by PSE-owned infrastructure.

Due to the possibility of failure of equipment containing hazardous substances that could cause pollution, and because of the associated risks, the company makes every effort to reduce the negative impact on the environment as far as possible. For this purpose, Instructions on the hazardous substance leakage response and the use of sorbents during the leakage at PSE S.A. network facilities were implemented for use at network facilities and the Instructions on the hazardous substance leakage response were implemented at the head office and field units.

Each site has been equipped with environmental first-aid kits – handy sorption kits for cleaning up oil and acid leakages – and protections installed on the rain water drainage system draining substation facilities as protection against the spread of leakages into the environment.

There are also online workshops on handling hazardous substances, storing hazardous materials, as well as practical training in the use of handheld firefighting equipment and hazardous substance leakage clean-up activities. As part of the exercise, hazards that may arise at the substation are discussed. The practical part includes a mock hazardous substance leakage and exercises on how to use available sorbents.

In 2021, the amount of SF6 gas emitted by PSE into the environment was 23.6 percent higher than the previous year. For electrical insulating oil leakages, there was a significant decrease in the mass of soil contaminated with electrical insulating oil as much as 85.12 percent compared to 2020.

Equipment with a considerable amount of electrical insulating oil, i.e. transformers, autotransformers, glands, are equipped with suitable protection devices, i.e. the so-called oil pits, which in case of an uncontrolled leakage are designed to take over the emergency discharge of oil and fire water, if any. In 2021, there was no significant electrical insulating oil leakage with negative environmental impacts.

Other environmental aspects

  • Discharge of wastewater into waters or soil

Our operations generate domestic wastewater. They are discharged into the combined sewerage system, septic tanks, or, after treatment in a biological treatment plant, into water or soil. Biological wastewater treatment plants using various treatment methods, including activated sludge and spray bed, are in operation at our network facilities.

When treated, the wastewater meets the requirements of the law and water permits. Wastewater treatment facilities are designed in accordance with applicable standards and laws. They undergo periodic maintenance and inspection to ensure proper operation. The quality of wastewater discharged into the environment is also periodically monitored.

  • We strive to minimise water consumption

Water consumption at our corporate headquarters and substations is low, as we have no manufacturing operations. Nevertheless, as part of our Environmental Management System, we monitor water consumption. To supply water to the substation buildings we use our own deep water intakes and municipal or city water supply pipelines.

In 2021, as in previous years, PSE was not fined for non-compliance with environmental laws and regulations.

Reducing PSE's environmental impact resulting from the operational activity

The environmental management system regulates PSE's activities in the area of environmental impact at all levels of management. In the environmental policy document (The Integrated Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety Management System Policy), the Management Board declared that the Transmission System Operator's activities are carried out with respect for the natural environment. In operational terms, the tasks carried out by the units are governed, among other things, by procedures and instructions taking into account legal requirements and good practice. The most important of these documents set out the rules for waste management and handling of hazardous substance leakages. Wherever required, PSE has implemented fire safety manuals as part of prevention against the emission of environmentally harmful gases and discharge of fire water. Agreements with contractors include environmental protection clauses. Investments provide for the use of modern technologies and environmentally friendly solutions. The company carries out ongoing supervision of the implementation of environmental requirements, performs audits and inspections of PSE's facilities and work in progress. Each unit is responsible for complying with environmental requirements within the scope of its own tasks. Once a year, all offices and departments independently carry out an assessment of the fulfilment of these requirements, taking into account legislation, administrative decisions, company regulations and concluded agreements. Reports with information on compliance assessment and action for non-compliance are submitted to the Management Board of PSE.

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