Environmental Protection Initiatives and Current Programs
The key areas of protecting the environment against the adverse impact of operating activities of the distribution grid organizations managed by the Company are set forth in the Programs of Environmental Policy Implementation, whereby the principal areas of environmental protection are as follows:
- air protection
- forest protection and conservation
- water protection and conservation
- land protection and conservation
- technical measures.
Air protection measures generally dealt with:
- controlling the harmful content of vehicle exhaust emissions to prevent impermissible excess values, adjusting vehicle fuel systems, and replacing gasoline systems with gas-powered systems
- when their standard operating lives expire, replacing vehicles and special machines with new vehicles conforming to the Euro 3 emission standards
- regenerating and landscaping
- putting dust-collecting units into operation for woodworking machines.
Some branches of SDCs worked to develop and justify sanitary protection zones. These branches were located where the key adverse factors were the noise generated by the cooling systems of supply transformers in the case of substations of 35 kV and above and near residential areas, and the exhaust gas emitted by vehicles at vehicle depots near residential areas.
A slight increase in air emissions in 2012 on 2011 is due primarily to a greater number of vehicles (including the previously leased vehicles that were returned to companies) and the higher accuracy of recording emissions after the development of standards for maximum permissible emissions.
FOREST PROTECTION AND CONSERVATION
In relation to air and forest protection, the Company and its SDCs organized and held the All-Russia social and environmental event The Electricity Distribution Grid Sector for Environmental Protection and the target-oriented communications program Let’s Conserve Forest Energy resulting in the planting of tens of thousands of trees by employees of distribution grid companies.
WATER PROTECTION AND CONSERVATION
Water protection measures generally dealt with:
- exercising compliance control with respect to maximum permissible concentrations in effluents in sewerage and storm drainage systems
- obtaining permission for the nonpoint discharge of water
- repairing drainage systems to prevent effluents with exceeded maximum permissible concentrations flowing into sewerage systems or groundwater
- improving drainage systems, complying with laws with respect to making payments to specialist organizations for the receipt and treatment of effluents
- obtaining sanitary-and-epidemiologic opinions about the design of the sanitary protection zones of water wells and carrying out chemical tests of water samples from artesian wells
Overall, water withdrawal remained almost unchanged in the reporting period: cold water supply, 2,807.70 thousand cbm or 62.66 million rubles, exclusive of VAT; hot water supply, 137.03 thousand cbm or 6.41 million rubles, exclusive of VAT.
LAND PROTECTION AND CONSERVATION
Land protection measures generally dealt with:
- disposing of production waste and transferring (entering into agreements for the transfer of) production waste to specialist organizations for subsequent processing and dumping; setting limits on waste disposal; and providing equipment for temporary waste storage places;
In 2012, the Company generated 89,938 tonnes of waste and transferred 88,683 (98.6%) tonnes for processing and dumping, which is 4,202 tonnes more than in 2011 (the share of transferred waste grew by 2.5 percentage points). The increased amount of waste is mainly due to a growth in annual repair and renewal operations involving distribution grid facilities because of the development of the electric power industry.
- land rehabilitation.
Timely work on land rehabilitation was carried out, although it was limited in scope. 141.87 hectares were renewed in 2012 against 81.2 hectares in the previous year.
Technical measures are the main area of grid organizations’ environmental protection activities: the operation of electrical installations whose specifications, requirements, and characteristics comply with the applicable legislation, including with respect to environmental issues.
Much attention was given in 2012 to the following technical measures:
- oil-filled circuit breakers were replaced with vacuum equipment
- repairs were carried out to oil receivers, drainage systems and a trichlorodiphenyl-filled static compensator battery cells were disposed of pursuant to the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants.
This equipment is disposed of in a phased manner depending on its technical condition and the planned replacement and disposal expenses. A phased draft of the schedule for disposing of capacitor cells was made for 2013–2025.
TABLE 15. DISPOSAL OF TRICHLORODIPHENYL-FILLED STATIC COMPENSATOR BATTERY (SCB) CELLS IN 2011–2012
|No. of SCB cells
|Weight of SCB cells
|No. of SCB cells
|Weight of SCB cells
|IDGC of Center and Volga Region
|IDGC of Volga
|IDGC of Siberia
|IDGC of Urals
- reducing payments for permissible and above-level emissions, effluents, and waste disposal.
In spite of an inflationary spiral, the Company continued work on reducing payments for permissible and above-level emissions, effluents, and waste disposal. Compared with 2011, the reduction is 9.2 million rubles. This is primarily due to the preparation and approval of permits at most SDCs, which consequently reduced the volume of fivefold payments. The problems is obtain permits and the fivefold payments unjustifiably imposed for the disposal of Hazard Class 4 or 5 waste outside duly licensed waste dumps because some regions do not have such dumps.
Given the sector’s specific features, measures—in addition to those listed above—to reduce an adverse environmental impact focused on the following:
- new construction, renewal, and technical upgrading of overhead lines of 1,000 V and under use self-supporting insulated wires, and 6–20 kV overhead lines with protected cables are built, which decreases the area of cut-over land and protects birds from electric shock
- noise screens are installed in 110 kV substations to reduce noise in residential areas to the maximum permissible limit, in accordance with the applicable sanitary rules and regulations
- oil-filled feeders were gradually replaced with solid- or polymer-insulated feeders to prevent oil product spills from contaminating land
- renewal and re-equipment of oil-filled 6–10/0.4 kV supply transformers was accompanied by their gradual replacement with oil-filled sealed, dry transformers, which makes it possible to minimize oil product spills contaminating land
- construction and repair of cable lines used modern cables with insulation made of cross-linked polyethylene and heat shrink tubing, which reduces the use of lead
- new construction in the nesting areas of large birds does not use towers with pin insulators; bird barriers are installed
- bird protection equipment, including visual and acoustic repellents, was mainly installed in large bird habitats and migration paths.
Taking into consideration the objective financial conditions, substantial attention to protecting birds against electric shock hazard is paid by IDGC of Siberia, IDGC of Volga, and IDGC of Center and Volga Region:
- IDGC of Center and Volga Region in 2012 purchased 5,551 units of bird protection equipment for overhead lines of its Marienergo, Ivenergo, Nizhnovenergo, and Tulenergo branches for 2.9 million rubles; firstly, bird protection equipment is installed on overhead lines located in conservation and wildlife areas
- in 2012, the Nizhnovenergo branch carried out work in accordance with the report by Dront Environmental Center on the prioritization of bird protection equipment for the sections of 6–10 kV overhead lines located in areas of great ornithological importance for the region
- under the program, IDGC of Volga in 2012 purchased and installed 10,211 bird protection equipment units for the Ulyanovsk Distribution Networks, 1,479 units for Mordovenergo, and 2,873 units for Orenburgenergo.
- As part of cooperation between Orenburgenergo, a branch of IDGC of Volga, and the Global Environment Facility (Project UNDP/GEF/MNR Improvement of Management System and Mechanisms for Specially Protected Natural Areas in the Russian Steppe Biome), 366 bird protection equipment units were installed on 10 kV Sp-1 overhead lines from Substation 35/10 kV Sputnik in 2012: 6 kilometers within the protected area of the Ashchisayskaya Steppe Nature Reserve near the village of Pervomaysky, Svetly District, Orenburg Region