Eurelectric 4th environment and sustainable development report
“It is important for the Electricity Industry to identify the impacts of its activities on the environment and work proactively to reduce them”, said EURELECTRIC President Lars G. Josefsson while unveiling the 4th edition of the association’s environmental statistics report, published every two years. Building on the legacy of the previous reports, the renamed “Environment and Sustainable Development Report” shows positive trends in the Electricity Industry’s sustainability performance in the period 1980-2008 and illustrates, by a series of concrete examples, the wide range of activities in which the electricity sector is engaged to reduce the impacts of electricity generation, transmission and distribution on the environment.
In addition to environmental performance indicators, this 4th edition of the report* builds on the move initiated in the previous edition towards a more comprehensive reporting of sustainability issues. To this end, the report contains several additional social indicators, thus touching upon all three pillars of the sustainability approach. It is also important to stress that the scope of the report has been broadened in geographical terms. It now includes data for the whole EURELECTRIC membership, which comprises the EU-27 and six non-EU states: Croatia, Iceland, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Norway, Switzerland and Turkey. In this context, the report constitutes a key reference document for policy makers, industry stakeholders and energy sector consultants.
The Environment and Sustainable Development report highlights the significant greenhouse gas emission reductions made by the Electricity Industry during the last three decades, during which a de-coupling between electricity generation and electricity-related emissions has been taking place. While overall electricity generation increased by 75% between 1980 and 2007 in the EU-27, the Industry reduced its CO2 specific emissions from 712.5 g/kWh (EU-15) to 390.2 g/kWh (EU-27) in the same period. This trend can mainly be explained by improved energy efficiency of power plants and increased share of carbon-free technologies in the generation mix, such as renewable energy sources (RES) and nuclear. Indeed, in 2007, 16% of total generated electricity came from RES. “Best practice” cases from European electricity companies on these key issues are highlighted throughout the report.
Regarding SO2 and NOx emissions - two pollutants contributing to acidification of ecosystems and causing negative health impacts - the report underlines clearly that our sector has made a considerable contribution in reducing emissions from both gases. In 2007, the Electricity Industry reduced its SO2 and NOx emissions respectively to 1.3 g/MWh and to 0.5 g/MWh (EU-27), compared to 8.9 g/MWh and 2.3g/MWh (EU-15) in 1980.
A section of this report is also entirely dedicated to the results of the EURELECTRIC Power Choices study – based on the PRIMES model used by the European Commission for its energy scenario work. This study was set up to investigate pathways to meet the commitment of our sector to carbon neutrality by 2050.
*Environment and Sustainable Development Report 2007 – 2008 (84 pages): Available free of charge on http://www.eurelectric.org/Content/Default.asp?PageID=1014