Environment

For us, it is important to take the environment and nature into account in the distribution of electricity. Our goal is to ensure that our operations and electricity networks do not cause any danger or adverse effects to the environment.

Environmental management

Our health, safety and environment policy defines the principles for our actions related to the environment. The policy also applies to our partners and covers our entire supply chain.

Caruna has set a certified environmental management system that complies with ISO 14001:2004.

Environmental management is part of Caruna’s integrated HSE management process. The Management Team sets environmental goals, targets and programmes, and monitors how they are realised. Environmental responsibilities are further allocated to business units in accordance with the types of their activities.

In environmental management, the Management Team is supported by the HSE manager, together with the HSE work group composed of representatives from all business units.

Caruna has set a certified environmental management system that complies with ISO 14001:2004.

Key environmental impacts

We identify and assess our environmental impact on a regular basis. The following table lists the most important environmental impact associated with our assets and operations, as well as the primary measures for managing them:

 

Environmental impact Goal Management measure Indicator
Handling and recycling of materials dismantled from electricity networks Continuous improvement of the recycling rate of dismantled materials

 

Uninterrupted handling and accounting process

  • The composition, safe usage, and disposal methods of materials are ascertained during the acquisition stage
  • Handling, recycling, and disposal of dismantled materials, selection of contractual partners, and ensuring compliance of all operations
  • Instructions, follow-up, and monitoring
  • Waste accounting (tonnes/euros)
  • Recycling rate (%)
  • Internal audits (number)
  • Contractor and supplier audits (number)
Possible oil leaks into the environment in case of damage to transformers Prevention of oil leaks

 

Absolute prevention of serious and permanent environmental damage

  • Elimination of risky items: renovation of pole-mounted transformers at groundwater areas
  • Prevention of oil leaks into the environment by installing oil collectors for transformers located at primary substations, property-mounted substations and secondary substations
  • Prompt handling of oil leaks and verification of the effectiveness of the measures by taking soil samples
  • Number of pole-mounted transformers at groundwater areas
  • Number of oil leaks
  • Costs of oil leak handling

 

Environmental management included in post-project tasks Areas surrounding project sites are restored to a condition that is at least as good as prior to the project.
  • Contractor guidance, monitoring, and supervision
  • Joint customer feedback review
  • Work site inspection observations (number)
  • Customer feedback (number)
Environmental impacts associated with side forest treatment Minimisation of environmental impact resulting from such clearance work
  • Investigation of protected and other vulnerable areas during the planning and implementation stage of the project
  • Reporting of potential incidents
  • Incidents (number)
  • Customer feedback (number)
Handling of impregnated poles Verification of the safe and compliant handling and recycling of poles
  • Minimisation of the number of new overhead line networks
  • No new poles impregnated with hazardous substances (creosote) installed to network
  • Safe handling and appropriate recycling of existing poles in the overhead line network and dismantled poles that contain carcinogens
  • Number of poles sent for treatment
  • Criminal offence reports on poles stolen from dismantled sites (number)
  • Pole supplier audits (number)
Responsible land use and interest group collaboration Minimisation of environmental and landscape impact

 

Stakeholder satisfaction

  • Underground cabling considerably decreases land use restrictions and other forms of environmental and landscape impact
  • Selection of routes and structures
  • Smooth collaboration with landowners and other interest groups
  • Cabling rate (%)
  • Stakeholder satisfaction as part of the survey on reputation
Impacts on biodiversity Minimisation of conflict between electricity networks and nature during the planning stage
  • Protected areas and objects taken into consideration as early as possible
  • Support of positive environmental impacts in collaboration with interest groups

 

Use of materials

We have invested significantly into making our electricity network weatherproof and reliable. Underground cables, power transformers, secondary substations and distribution transformers are the main components of networks. The number of purchased network components and the quantities of raw materials these contain are considerable. We investigate the components’ material compositions, potentially dangerous and hazardous characteristics, safe use, and correct recycling at the end of their life cycle during the acquisition stage.

We have invested significantly into making our electricity network weatherproof and reliable.

We purchase a minimum of 1,500 distributor transformers every year. In terms of raw materials, this signifies roughly 150 tonnes of aluminium, 600 tonnes of steel and 250 tonnes of mineral oil. We use new distributor transformers that comply with the ECO directive and incorporate aluminium coils.

The underground cables used by Caruna contain only aluminium as their conductive material. Some of the cables are purchased by Caruna and some by our contractors. The quantity of underground cables purchased by Caruna amounts to 1,500 km at the very least, which signifies roughly 1,300 tonnes of aluminium.

Contractors were primarily in charge of material acquisitions and recycling until the end of 2015. Accurate data on quantities of raw materials or their origins are not available. From 2016, Caruna handles most acquisitions of materials, which results in clearer monitoring and reporting. Material acquisitions are subjected to strict requirements at the tendering time. Environmental impact, for instance, has a prominent role in the consideration of tenders.

Requirements for land use and landscape impact

Electricity networks have both a physical and visual impact on its environment. Considerable investments into weatherproof underground cable networks reduce restrictions and harmful effects related to the use of land near networks. Landscapes and scenery change as overhead lines are eliminated.

We strive to reconcile the needs and expectations expressed by various stakeholders regarding the selection of electricity network routes and structures. Whenever possible, new electricity networks are built along roads and in public areas. Smooth collaboration with landowners, municipalities, ELY Centres, the National Board of Antiquities, environmental organisations, and other stakeholders in all matters regarding land use is of primary importance.

Biodiversity

Underground cabling protects biodiversity.

Underground cabling protects biodiversity and lessens the impact of electricity networks on plants and animals. Some 36 per cent of our networks were cabled by the end of 2015.

The risk of bird collisions and electric shocks is preventable by installing marker balls on overhead lines and landing perches on poles.

Energy usage

The majority of the energy used by Caruna consists of electricity distribution and transformer losses. The distribution of electricity always involves some loss, and the electricity distribution company is responsible for these. We strive to enhance the energy-efficiency of our networks. From autumn 2015, all new distribution transformers used by Caruna are low-loss ECO transformers compliant with the updated EU Directive (EN 50464-1, EU146-EN).

We use CO2-free (zero carbon dioxide emissions) electricity to compensate for grid losses. In 2015, we purchased 375.3 GWh of electricity to compensate for the loss of electricity.

 

 GRID LOSSES FROM 2013 TO 2015 (GWh) 2015 2014 2013
Grid losses 375.3 391.4 411.7
Caruna Oy 291.3 300.8 327.0
Caruna Espoo Oy 84.0 90.6 84.7
GRID LOSSES IN RELATION TO THE TOTAL QUANTITY OF DISTRIBUTED ENERGY IN 2015 2015
Caruna Oy network 3.7%
Caruna Espoo Oy network 2.7%
Caruna network (110 kV) 0.7%

Standby power plants use small quantities of different fuels, which the contractors acquire.

Caruna’s own consumption of energy

Caruna’s own consumption of energy mainly consists of the electricity and heating energy used in office buildings. The majority of Caruna’s energy consumption comes from the offices in Espoo, on Upseerinkatu, in use since September 2015.

The following table shows the consumption of energy between 2014 and 2015 (MWh). The values include consumption in the main office on Upseerinkatu since the beginning of September and regional offices owned by Caruna. They do not include Caruna’s Keilaniemi offices, as energy costs were included in the rent there.

Own consumption of energy (MWh)

  • Electricity
  • Heating

In accordance with the Energy Efficiency Act (ETL 1429/2014) introduced at the beginning of 2015, Caruna investigated and reported to the Energy Authority the data on their total energy consumption, energy consumption profile, and energy-saving potential. Electricity network losses are not included in this energy audit.

 

Sun panels were installed on the roof of the building.

The energy audit included a detailed review of the energy consumption and the potential for making the Upseerinkatu offices more energy-efficient. At the moment, Caruna does not have data on how the consumption divided in the building; the shares are based on estimates. The majority (nearly 75%) of the energy is used for cooling down the servers and the control room, as well as for cooling, heating, and ventilating the rest of the building. Other significant energy consumption functions are hot water heating and lighting, for instance. The energy consumption of the restaurant operating in the building has not been taken into account in Caruna’s energy consumption profile.

Upseerinkatu premises use both district heating and ground heating. We plan to install submeters in the Upseerinkatu premises during 2016 to analyse the actual distribution of energy consumption.

Sun panels were installed on the roof of the building at the end of 2015, and their peak power is approximately 29 kWp and estimated yearly production 30 MWh.

Greenhouse gases

Sulphur hexafluoride, or SF6, is a potent greenhouse gas, but also an excellent insulator in electrical installations. Due to the use of the gas, SF6-isolated devices are equipped with structural screen-protection, which decreases the risk of inadvertent electric shocks and enhances both the safety of the network and the occupational safety of our contractors.

Risk of potential SF6 gas leaks from equipment and the possibility of environmental impacts resulting from such leaks are minimised by systematic monitoring, inspections, and maintenance. We monitor the SF6 gas status in equipment in regular inspections. Any gas leaks and doubts related to gas meters are documented and recorded. We keep record of our SF6 gas balance and leaks, and report this data to Finnish Energy (ET=Energiateollisuus ry) once a year. We require all contractors handling SF6 gas to hold the required competence. Caruna’s use, handling, and recording of SF6 gas is included in internal audits in 2016.

In 2015, the total quantity of SF6 gas present at Caruna’s electricity network was 9,276 kg. Approximately 900 of Caruna’s 26,000 secondary substation switchgear (20/0.4 kV) contained SF6 gas. Our primary substation switchgear (110 kV) included fewer than 700 SF6-isolated components. The amount of SF6 gas emitted into the atmosphere was 6.9 kg, representing 0.07% of the total quantity of the gas.

2013

2014

2015

Quantity of SF6 gas (kg)

8,779

9,245

9,276

SF6 leaks (kg)

8.8

2.6

6.9

SF6 leaks (CO2e)

200.64

59.28

157.32

SF6 leaks (%)

0.10

0.03

0.07


CO2e = tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent; GWP value x weight;
GWP = Global Warming Potential. The GWP value of SF6 gas is 22,800)

 

Dismantled electricity networks

As overhead networks are being replaced, considerable amounts of materials are dismantled from the network, such as distribution transformers, iron, conductors, cables, general waste, impregnated wooden poles, glass, porcelain, concrete and copper.

Up to October 2015, most of the dismantled materials (excluding poles and distribution transformers) were handed over to our contractors, who provided us with regular reports on dismantled material quantities. Our waste accounting relied on our own invoice-based accounting and partially on reports from contractors.

 

All materials processed by Kuusakoski can be monitored in real time in the future.

In August 2015, Caruna signed a service contract for the transport and processing of dismantled materials with Kuusakoski Oy. As agreed, Kuusakoski is responsible for the collection of such materials from work sites and their further processing. Impregnated poles are an exception to this procedure; Kuusakoski only transports them from work sites to Ekokem’s combustion plants. All materials processed by Kuusakoski can be monitored in real time in the future.

Roughly 1,500 to 2,000 tonnes of impregnated poles are dismantled from Caruna’s networks each year. Their processing and disposal is subject to tight regulations. A previously common impregnant, CCA, contains toxic and carcinogenic substances (copper, chrome, and arsenic), and its use on new poles has been banned since 2006. Creosote is another commonly used but carcinogenic impregnant, but Caruna has not installed any creosote-treated poles since 2007.

We do not give or sell our dismantled poles for re-use but ensure that they are processed and disposed of appropriately by transporting them to Ekokem for combustion to generate energy. If we notice any loss of poles at the collection points of dismantling sites, we report it to the police.

Poles disposed of from 2013 to 2015 (tonnes)

  • Poles disposed (tonnes)

Environmental damage

In our type of operations, a typical example of environmental damage can be leakage of transformer oil into the environment as a result of a damaged transformer. In Finland, over 50% of all transformer damage is caused by lightning.

In order to prevent oil from leaking into the environment in case of transformer damage, oil collectors are installed under property-mounted transformers and secondary substation transformers as well as under power transformers at primary substations. Pole-mounted transformers are susceptible to weather conditions and do not have integral oil collectors. Each one of these contains roughly 100 to 200 kg of mineral oil, but usually only a small amount of this would end up in the environment even if the transformer suffers damage.

We clear up any oil leaks as soon as possible.

We clear up any oil leaks as soon as possible and verify the effectiveness of the remediation process from soil samples. Information about oil leaks and purification process reports are submitted to the authorities, in this case the local ELY Centre.

In 2015, our electricity network suffered a total of 35 oil leaks, of which seven were slightly over 100 kg in magnitude. There were no significant oil leaks or environmental damage caused by oil leaks. The variation in the amount of yearly oil leaks is due to the weather conditions, primarily to the amount of lightning.

Oil leaks at Caruna from 2013 to 2015

  • Oil leak, below 100 kg
  • Oil leak, 100 kg or above

Treatment of oil spills*

  • Purified soil (tonnes)
  • Expenses (in thousands of euros)

*Partially an estimate

 

Our electricity network includes 1,400 pole-mounted transformers situated within groundwater areas. We aim to eliminate the risk of groundwater contamination due to oil spills by replacing all pole-mounted transformers in groundwater areas with pad-mounted secondary substations equipped with oil collectors. More than half of these pole-mounted transformers are renovated under Caruna’s reliability investment programme. Caruna has also launched a separate investment programme to phase out the rest of the pole-mounted transformers within groundwater areas, 671 in total, during the years 2016 to 2018.

Environmental training

We provide training and induction courses to both our employees and business partners. Nearly 600 people took Caruna’s safety and environment online course in 2015, and the course will continue to be offered in 2016.

We also offer our partners training related to different aspects of our operations, including environmental matters. For example, our duty service and fault repair training covers the handling of oil leaks, our network planner card training discusses matters related to land use, such as the impact of the environment on route and placement decisions, and our training on adjacent forest area management gives advice on how to take protected areas and sites into account. Approximately 950 people attended these courses in 2015.

Environmental goals

We intend to continuously improve the energy- and materials-efficiency of our operations, decreasing any adverse effects on the environment, and enhancing the recycling of used materials.

 

We intend to enhance the recycling of used materials.

During 2016, we aim to cut down the number of pole-mounted transformers situated at groundwater areas, both as part of our reliability investment programme and our separate pole-mounted transformer renovation programme. The number of oil leaks continues to decrease as our investment programmes progress.

Another aim is to grow the recycling rate of dismantled networks by efficiently applying and possibly extending the contract on the treatment of dismantled materials signed in 2015.

KEY ENVIRONMENTAL GOALS FOR 2016

 

Meter

Objective

Number of oil leaks (including minor leaks of a few litres)

30 events (-15% from the number of 2015) By implementing corrective actions we ensure that no permanent damage to the environment is caused; reporting

Further processing of dismantled networks under the Kuusakoski contract

15% of dismantled networks processed via Kuusakoski

Number of pole-mounted transformers within groundwater areas

830 (number)

Decrease in the number of overhead lines

-3200 km