6.3 ENVIRONMENT

Environmental safety holds an important place in Federal Grid Company’s activity. The Company implements its environmental strategy based on the environmental doctrine of the Russian Federation, Federal Grid Company's environmental policy and taking into account opinions of the leading environmental protection organizations.

Electricity transmission – the main type of our activity – has a significantly smaller environmental impact compared with other power industry branches. Electrical grid specifics in respect to impact on the surrounding environment is that emissions, discharges and waste products are not the result of technological processes, but appear as a result of economic activity and are characterized by very low level values relative to maximum permissible values. Thus, atmospheric emissions for all types of contaminating materials are 2-3 times lower than the maximum allowable contamination level, and discharges are only rainflow overflow. Contamination volume is also very insignificant. Thus, in 2010 the released volume for all substations totaled 75.5 tons and the volume of waste products for I-V classes of hazardous material is less than 10 thousand tons.

Despite these low indicators for negative environmental impact Federal Grid Company pays significant attention to environmental issues. While designing new objects, the Company elaborates on special environmental protection sections taking into account all requirements of Russian environmental regulations. Construction and re-construction projects for electric grid objects undergo state expert review and public consultations are held to evaluate environmental impact. Particular attention is paid by the Company to informing the public on ensuring the environmental safety of socially important projects, such as the construction of electric grid objects as part of the preparation for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics and the 2012 APEC Summit in Vladivostok.

Trichlorodiphenyl

In the previous century, trichlorodiphenyl was widely used as a liquid dielectric during the production of power transformers and condensers due to its exceptional thermo-physical and dielectric characteristics, fire-resistance and explosion safety. At the same time, trichlorodiphenyl is a persistent organic pollutant and belongs to the first class of hazards.

The Company acts in accordance with the Environmental Policy adopted by the Board of Directors in 2008. It aims to improve environmental safety, ensuring the reliable and ecologically safe transmission and distribution of energy. Within this program, the Company undertakes technical and organizational measures to minimize the negative impact of production on the surrounding environment.

Technical measures include replacing equipment containing hazardous and toxic substances, repairing systems and oil container devices, organizing temporary landfill sites and constructing and reconstructing of canalization and disposal facilities, as well as other measures.

The Company pays particular attention to managing especially hazardous waste. The Company has a license to collect, use, deactivate, transport and emplace hazardous waste.

In 2008 the Company began to implement a target program on replacing and utilizing equipment containing trichlorodiphenyl. In the previous century, trichlorodiphenyl was widely used as a liquid dielectric during the production of power transformers and condensers due to its exceptional thermo-physical and dielectric characteristics, fire-resistance and explosion safety. At the same time, trichlorodiphenyl is a persistent organic pollutant and belongs to the first class of hazards.

The program to realize Federal Grid Company’s environmental policy calls for replacing and utilizing equipment containing trichlorodiphenyl. In the process of the reconstruction and technical rehabilitation of objects of the UNEG, this equipment is replaced on a mandatory basis. One-fourth of equipment containing trichlorodiphenyl has been already dismantled and utilized.

Within the framework of the Technical policy, we replace condensers containing trichlorodiphenyl with condensers permeated with environmentally safe dielectric liquid. The dismantled condensers are transferred for utilization to specialized organizations.

In 2010 Federal Grid Company utilized 4,036 static condenser jars with a total weight of 167 tons. For 2011 the Company plans to utilize approximately 10,000 static condenser units.

In 2002 the Russian Government ratified the Stockholm Convention. So it must fully cease using equipment containing trichlorodiphenyl on its territory by 2025. In accordance with obligations undertaken by the country, the Company plans to fully withdraw equipment containing trichlorodiphenyl from operation by 2025.

Organizational measures include implementing an environmental management system that corresponds with requirements of international standard ISO 14001, introducing a system of environmental production control and conducting environmental audits and environmental training of personnel, as well as upgrading documentary support of environmental protection activities.

In 2010 all corporate branches conducted internal environmental audits. The audit controlled: the observance of environmental protection legislation, the completeness and condition of environmental documentation and the technical condition of environmental facilities. The Company analyzed problems arising in the process of the branches’ environmental protection activities. Based on audit results, the Company developed a programs of measures to upgrade the efficiency of the Company and its branches’ environmental protection activities.

In 2010, the Company conducted environmental training of its personnel:

  • Appropriate handling of I-IV class hazardous waste (134 corporate employees participated in training);
  • Environmental protection and safety training for executives and specialists (128 corporate employees participated in training).
  • In 2010 Federal Grid Company developed and adopted the Instruction on the Procedure of Inventory of Production and Consumption Waste in Federal Grid Company’s MES and PMES Branches, setting a unified order for inventorying production and consumption waste and filing documents on inventory results for all corporate branches. Also, the Company developed and introduced new annual forms for environmental protection measures and quarterly reports on quantitative and qualitative indicators for negative environmental impact.
  • Since 2008 the Company has conducted environmental monitoring in the zone of passing of the 500 kV high voltage line on the territory of Smolny National Park (the Republic of Mordovia), which is located in the zone of activity of the Nizhegorodsky PMES. The goal of monitoring is to evaluate the degree of impact of the 500 kV high voltage line on animals and to develop recommendations to prevent their deaths, as well as rehabilitation and long-term development of ornithological complexes in the zone of high voltage lines. Based on data gathered in 2010, the monitoring program will be updated.

Electricity transmission – the main type of our activity – has a significantly smaller environmental impact compared with other power industry branches.

In 2011 the principal objectives of Federal Grid Company in the environmental protection sphere include:

  • Fulfilling technical measures in a timely and qualitative manner to minimize negative environmental impact;
  • Implementing Federal Grid Company’s environmental management system in accordance with the ISO 14001 standard;
  • Conducting internal environmental audits in the Company’s branches;
  • Developing quantitative target values in environmental protection and enacting measures for their achievement.