Management of resources

As part of our renewable growth, we pay constant attention to the responsible and conscious management of natural resources, protecting ecosystems and biodiversity.

We produce electricity using four different technologies: wind energy, solar energy, hydroelectric energy, and thermoelectric energy powered by natural gas. Consequently, we are reducing our environmental impact by our very nature, promoting and enhancing renewable and natural resources.

The possible impacts generated by our activities include:
  • The use of energy resources
    We manage our plants with the aim of minimising energy consumption and making it more efficient through the adoption of new technologies. Furthermore, we supply certified electricity generated from renewable sources.

    Our renewable plants self-produce the electricity required to operate, and consequently their consumption levels are relatively lower than they would be if the electricity required to ensure operational continuity was sourced from the grid. Every four years we analyse the most relevant impacts in terms of energy consumption, which enables us to obtain an appropriate understanding of our energy consumption profile.

    As regards ERG Power, energy consumption refers to:
    - natural gas (methane) for use in gas turbines, which effectively counts for all incoming energy consumption (99.6%);
    - electricity, acquired or self-generated, which is used to produce demi water, to provide utilities (compressed air, etc.) and for general services on the production site (lighting, offices, etc.);
    - steam, used to produce demineralised water and to pre-heat the methane for the cogeneration process;
    - diesel fuel, used to test the correct operation of the emergency generators.

    As regards ERG Hydro, energy consumption refers to:
    - electricity acquired or self-generated, used to power the ancillary production or pumping services, the intake structure (diversion or lifting) and general lighting and heating services;
    - the diesel fuel required to power the heating systems for civil buildings and to activate the emergency generator units during periodic tests or in the case of a power outage.
     

    At the end of 2019 over 89% of the Group's energy consumption (+3% compared to 2018) was covered by green energy certified to originate from renewable sources.

  • Water resources
    Our water consumption is limited to the following cases:
    • solar plants: the water is only used to wash the panels and to maintain the greenery in the relevant areas of the plant;
    • hydroelectric plants: these plants use water to power the turbines, releasing the same quantity and quality of water withdrawn back into the atmosphere. For several years ERG Hydro has implemented plant solutions to prevent oil leaks in the environment;
    • photovoltaic plants: these plants use water to clean the surfaces of the panels; this process is carried out multiple times during the year using mechanical means.
    • thermoelectric plant: this mainly uses two sources of water: seawater to cool the plants and untreated water to produce the demineralised water needed to generate steam.

    In both cases, the water is returned to the environment without any impact on the availability of water for human consumption.
     
  • Waste management
    The responsible and sustainable management of our plants and activities is pursued by minimising the waste produced and maximising its recovery. Given the nature of our business activities, comprising a production cycle based on renewable sources, we do not generate processing waste in the strict sense and we are committed to transforming the waste we generate into resources.
     

    Over 97% of waste produced is classified as "non-hazardous".

  • Biodiversity
    The certified environmental management systems (link to "Certifications" page) envisage the constant monitoring of our plants' impacts on the environment, ensuring the preservation of natural resources and the protection of biodiversity.

    The possible ways in which our plants interact with biodiversity are as follows:

    • Wind farms: the key element regards the resident and migratory birds that pass through or nest in the wind farm areas. The periodical analyses carried out show that the turbines have become an integral part of the areas in which they are located and are therefore recognised by birds as part of the landscape.
    • Hydroelectric plants: in this case the main element of interaction is represented by the maintenance of the minimum water release levels in order to protect wildlife in the rivers downstream of the dams.

    The definition of these flows is established in the Concession Decrees, which form the basis for the management of the hydroelectric plants; as such there are no specific risks.