ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT AND CLIMATE ACTIONSPSE's priorities in the area of environmental protection

The priorities of PSE actions for the environment are set out in the document Policy for an Integrated Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety Management System.

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 the above 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,
  • meet the requirements of legal and other regulations concerning the Company,
  • improve the skills of employees, taking into account their role, and involving them in the improvement of the 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.

In February 2023, the criteria for evaluating environmental aspects – areas of interaction between the company and the environment – were reviewed and revised. Aspects were then evaluated according to a revised method, which now refers to the hazard and risk matrix used to estimate hazards and incidents in the HSEQ area. Significant aspects have not changed.In February 2023, the criteria for evaluating environmental aspects – areas of interaction between the company and the environment – were reviewed and revised. Aspects were then evaluated according to a revised method, which now refers to the hazard and risk matrix used to estimate hazards and incidents in the HSEQ area. Significant aspects have not changed.

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

  • electromagnetic field emissions,
  • noise emissions,
  • waste generation,
  • leakage of a hazardous substance.

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.

In order to update and consolidate knowledge and skills in the field of environmental protection and to familiarise employees with technical and organisational solutions in this area, training courses, exercises are held, information campaign is carried out through announcements on internal pages. Training topics cover all environmental aspects with special attention to significant aspects and changing legislation.

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, as far as possible, sustainable use of natural resources.

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 is classified at PSE as a significant aspect. The rules for handling 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 which result from adaptation of the document 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 waste collection. Waste is collected, pending collection by authorised entities, at the site where it was generated. Waste collection/storage locations, and containers where specific types of waste are collected are properly marked. The principles for waste management are a regular item in ongoing periodic training for operational services and the subject of training and communications for all employees. The waste generated is subject to constant monitoring, and the correctness of waste collection is the subject of on-site internal inspections and audits.

The provisions of the Waste Management Instruction at PSE S.A. apply to hazardous, non-hazardous and municipal waste generated and collected by PSE as part of its operations, as well as disaster recovery, investment, renovation and decommissioning at network facilities and in head offices, as well as the company's field locations.

To the agreements signed with external entities the Company is adding an appendix “Guidelines for the management system for occupational health and safety, fire protection, environmental protection and quality regulations for Contractors performing works for PSE S.A.” which, among other things, specifies waste management rules for 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.

The amount of waste generated depends on the extent of operational work carried out on the power grid, the occurrence of failures and investments in progress. The weight of non-hazardous waste generated increased in 2022 compared to 2021, due to an increased number of line modernization cases.

Leakage of a hazardous substance

A leakage of a hazardous substance is another of the aspects identified as significant, occurring in emergency situations. PSE 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 the company-owned infrastructure.

Due to the possibility of failure of equipment containing hazardous substances that could cause pollution and 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 developed for 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 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 2022, the amount of SF6 gas emitted by PSE into the environment was 17.7 percent lower than the previous year. Refrigerant leakage recorded a 24.1 percent decrease compared to 2021.

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 2022, there was no significant electrical insulating oil leakage with negative environmental impacts. 

Other environmental aspects

Discharge of wastewater into waters or soil

The wastewater generated as a result of our operations is 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. 

We strive to minimise water consumption

Water consumption at our company's head office and at stations is low. 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 2022, 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 activities of the company in the area of environmental impact at all levels of management. In the environmental policy document, the Management Board declared that the Transmission System Operator's activities are carried out with respect for the natural environment. The tasks carried out by the units are regulated by, without limitation, procedures and instructions that take into account legal requirements and good practices. The most important of these documents set out the rules for waste management and responses to 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. Information from the compliance assessment and actions on non-compliance are reported to the Management Board.

Pollution prevention and control

In order to prevent negative environmental impacts, PSE has established a number of courses of action, such as:

  • maintenance of systems and equipment, as well as vehicles and machinery in proper working order,
  • monitoring of gas consumption, fuel consumption, VOC-containing preparations, water intake,
  • controls, inspections, internal audits,
  • post-failure inspection of equipment,
  • reducing the risk of an emergency through preventive measures,
  • selection of locations to limit the construction of power facilities in close proximity to residential areas,
  • optimizing the consumption and reducing unnecessary consumption of fuel, electricity, water,
  • educational activities, including workshops, training, and information campaigns,
  • participation in nature conservation projects,
  • environmental compensation measures.

Remediation processes for negative impacts

In the event of negative environmental impacts, PSE is responsible for its own actions and assumes limited liability for the actions of contractors acting on behalf of the company, and takes corrective actions.

Complaints can be made through the communication channels indicated on the company's website. The company remedies the effects of the negative impact in accordance with applicable laws. Stakeholders do not participate in the process of creating a complaint mechanism. One of the tools for monitoring the complaint mechanism is an internal audit.

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