ČEPS considers environmental responsibility issues being of major importance, putting emphasis on environmentally-friendly approach to landscape as well as on responsible behaviour in everyday life of the Company.
Water Protection and Treatment of Harmful Substances
Using electric devices with transformer oil as insulating medium (i.e. transformers, shunt reactors, etc.), “secured workplaces” including industrial sewerage system, emergency basins and wastewater treatment technologies have become a common standard: in fact it is a system of water management facilities contributing to the safe treatment of rain water (wastewater) produced while rinsing these facilities. Should an outage or accident occur, these measures have a positive impact on minimizing environmental damages.
Treatment of harmful substances (i.e. transformer oil) requires a wide range of preventive measures able to contain or at least minimize dangers to the environment in case of an emergency situation. In the framework of emergency organization, ČEPS has at its disposal Scheduled Emergency Measures for all facilities (transformer stations) in the Czech Republic, approved and complying with applicable legislation.
Ozone Layer Protection
ČEPS pays considerable attention to obligations arising in particular from the EU laws on fluorinated greenhouse gases treatment: namely insulating and quenching medium using gaseous SF6 (sulfur hexafluoride) present in electrical switching devices. Moreover, combination (gas insulation) of fluorinated greenhouse gases is used for electric energy production, transfer, distribution and transformation. In this respect, possible leaks have been monitored. The above-mentioned approach meets all legislative obligations both as regards stocktaking and SF6 emissions in the atmosphere, as well as follow-up commitments as regards employee certification.
ČEPS specialists are also engaged in drafting rules for SF6 treatment not only in the Czech Republic as but also within global electrical engineers association “CIGRE” (International Council on Large Electric Systems).
ČEPS major aim is to follow basic waste management hierarchy and to prevent or minimize waste production. Wherever possible, the Company prefers waste usage to its elimination, trying to pass these principles also to construction activities (investments) and to contractors.
Furthermore, the Company is committed to raising its employees environmental awareness. Following all waste management trends, enabling sorting of recoverable waste and applying a take-back system of used devices (i.e. electrical equipment, light sources, batteries), it is holder of Responsible and Green Company Certificate.
Nature and landscape protection
As regards nature and landscape protection, ČEPS key focus is on environmentally-friendly forest rides cutting in power lines protective bands which are necessary to reduce safety threats to the transmission system operation, in particular to prevent electrical discharge from power lines to the surrounding vegetation.
Protective bands as defined by the Energy Act are areas in the immediate vicinity of the power line (their width depending on voltage level). To ensure power lines safe operation, the bands are defined also with respect to the public. Furthermore, the Act stipulates maintenance obligation of protective bands, in particular by means of regular vegetation removal. ČEPS drafted internal regulation aimed at work procedures in power line protective bands; contractors being obliged by the same rules in the context of public authorities in the area.
Environmental Impact Assessment
To minimize the impact of high voltage and extra high voltage facilities and transformer stations on the environment, EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment) documentation has been prepared. Containing detailed documentary review of all environmentally-related issues (assessment of current landscape situation and supposed direct as well as indirect impacts of intended landscape use – impact on fauna and flora) with respect to the intended investment, the documentation is vital to obtain final construction permit for power line or transformer station.
Bird Protection under the Transmission System Operation No wild bird living in the Czech Republic is large enough (i.e. its wingspan) to span the distance between the power line section under electric current (live part) and the grounded part. Wingspan of the largest birds in the country, white-tailed eagle and swan, is 2.4 metres; wingspan of white stork is 2 metres and of European eagle-owl and gray goose is 1.7 metres; therefore, high-voltage or extra-high-voltage power lines do not expose birds to any risk of injury or death.
Suspension insulator strings on high-voltage and extra-high-voltage towers supporting power lines operated by ČEPS are at least 3.5 metres long (depending on the technical design); with the string length determining the distance between the conductor and the tower. The distance between individual phases is even larger, i.e. more than 5 metres. Extra-high-voltage power lines use bundled conductors consisting usually of two or three conductors with 40-cm distance in-between. Therefore, there is no risk of electric injury since all the conductors are of the same phase (bundled conductors are used for phase reinforcement).