Environmental information

Alike any other industrial activity, also the operation of Latvenergo Group affects the environment. Our efforts by making investments and ensuring operation of equipment are directed towards environmentally friendly activities, reducing or preventing the risks caused to the environment.

Latvenergo Group uses both fossil fuel – natural gas, and renewable energy sources (RES) – water and wind – for electricity generation. The company generates majority of electricity at hydropower plants, and the rest – at combined heat and power plants, which operate both in cogeneration and also condensation mode.

To ensure compliance with the environmental protection legislation, Latvenergo AS cooperates actively with state environmental institutions, providing information related to environmental protection, organising environmental impact assessments, implementing the provisions of polluting activity permits, and receiving consultations on issues related to environmental protection.

In 2018, the Group welcomed six scheduled thematic inspections from the State Environmental Service, as well as one scheduled monitoring from the Health Inspectorate. No serious remarks or sanctions have been received from the controlling authorities.

One of the most pressing global environmental challenges affecting legislation relating to the operations of the Group is climate change caused by greenhouse gases. The post-2020 climate policy objectives and actions are set out in the Paris Agreement, which has also been signed by the EU and Latvia. In order to participate in the achievement of the EU’s common objectives and in the fulfilment of international climate commitments, work continued in Latvia in 2018 to develop a number of policy planning documents aimed at ensuring limitation of climate change and adaptation to it.The group also engages in the exchange of knowledge and opinions on global environmental challenges and their solutions. In 2018, the group participated in the preparation of the Hague Initiative Report on the contribution of Poland and Baltic States to the resolution of climate issues. The report was presented at the UN climate conference in Poland.

CO2 emissions per one generated electricity unit (2015-2019)

For Latvenergo Group as a major energy producer, achieving climate objectives will be a major challenge in the coming years. Therefore, the Group is already planning goal-oriented investments to develop and build a low-GHG production portfolio and contribute to climate change reduction.

One of the indicators describing the environmental impact of the energy produced are the emissions of carbon dioxide  (CO2) per unit of electricity produced.  This indicator describes the distribution and the efficiency of the consumption of renewable energy sources and fossil fuels – the lower the COemissions per unit of electricity produced, the higher the share of electricity produced from renewable energy sources (mainly using water resources at Daugava hydropower plants), and the more efficient the operation of thermal power plants (CHPP-1 and CHPP-2).  

In 2018, the group’s CO2 emissions increased by 41% compared to the previous year. Due to dry weather and the small tide of the Daugava, considerably more electricity has been generated in thermal power plants that use natural gas for energy production. In addition, more than 20% of the electricity produced in the reference year was produced in the condensation mode, which is characterised by higher emission levels than the cogeneration mode.

In 2018, the total CO2 emissions per unit of electricity produced by the group amount to 0.156 tons of CO2/MWh, while those of Latvenergo AS thermal power plants – 0.295 tonnes of CO2/MWh.

Information on the origin and environmental impact of electricity supplied to consumers (specific COemissions per unit of energy) can be found  here:

Only 35 t have been produced by burning natural gas in the boiler house of the Lielvārde Cable Assembly. The remaining COemissions are CHPP-1 and CHPP-2 emissions.  In addition to these amounts, COemissions of Latvenergo Group are also produced by the fuel used in vehicles. CO2 emissions from road transport in 2018 amounted to 8.1 thousand tonnes, including CO2 emissions from vehicles used by Latvenergo AS – 953 t.

CHPP-1 and CHPP-2 of Latvenergo AS are installations, which must be included in the EU ETS. Carbon dioxide emissions of CHPP-1 and CHPP-2 are recorded and reported in accordance with the requirements of the Latvian and European Union regulations.

The EU Emissions Trading Scheme provides that free emissions allowances are granted to thermal energy generation only, and the number of allowances granted is reduced gradually – to 30% of the necessary amount by 2020.

Emissions of Latvenergo AS into the atmosphere in 2018:

  NOx t CO t Particulate m. t SOt
In the Group in total, incl.: 904 426 10 5
            Latvenergo AS 789 305 0,4 0,012

In accordance with the decisions of the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development of the Republic of Latvia on granting of emission allowances to operators included on the list of installations for the distribution of emission allowances for 2013-2020 250,091 allowances were granted for the production of thermal energy at Riga CHPP in 2018. One allowance unit is equivalent to one tonne of CO2 emitted.

The emission of harmful substances into the atmosphere depends directly on the type of fuel used, the type of technology and its efficiency. Natural gas is one of the most environmentally-friendly fuels, which is the primary fuel of CHPP-1 and CHPP-2. Nitrogen oxides (NOx) and carbon monoxide (CO) come into the atmosphere when natural gas is burned. Consequently, both thermal power plants use only diesel fuel as emergency fuel in water boilers. In addition to NOx and CO emissions, diesel fuel produces a negligible amount of sulphur dioxide (SO2) in the atmosphere due to the use of diesel fuel with a sulphur content of no more than 0.1%, as well as insignificant emissions of particulate matter. Diesel fuel emits hydrocarbons during storage.

Latvenergo AS uses water resources mainly to ensure production processes. The water consumption balance of Latvenergo AS includes surface, underground and supply system water.

In 2018, water used for operational needs amounted to 2,501 thousand m3, including 93% of surface water, 4% of underground water and 3% of supply system water.

TEC-2 is the largest surface water consumer, which consumed 2,321 thousand m3 of water in the reference year. 81% of that amount is cooling water. The consumption of CHPP-2 is mainly affected by the operational modes of the generation facilities and the amount of energy generated. CHPP-1 is the largest consumer of underground water, which consumed 37 thousand m3 of underground water to feed the heating networks.

Consumption of water resources in 2018  (thousand m3):

  Surface water  Underground water Supply system water Total
In the Group in total, incl.: 2345 100 76 2501
            Latvenergo AS 2321 68
49
2438

Use of water resources is directly related to the wastewater treatment and discharge process. Latvenergo operations discharge industrial wastewater, rainwater and municipal wastewater.

TEC-1 industrial wastewater is treated in local treatment plants and discharged into the central sewer system of Riga.

Industrial wastewater is treated in CHPP-2 local treatment plants and discharged into the rainwater sewer of Riga.

Preservation of biodiversity and mitigation of the environmental impact of its operations are among the key principles of the Environmental Policy of Latvenergo Group. In its operations, the Group plans and implements measures that are aimed at preserving biodiversity. The main initiatives in this field are replenishment of fish resources and reinforcement of the Daugava riverbanks.

In compliance with the applicable law, Latvenergo Group makes annual contributions to replenish fish stocks in the Daugava River basin and invests in the reinforcement of the Daugava River banks and maintenance of protective engineering structures. Fish resource replenishment costs are directed towards artificial replenishment of fish populations, minimising the impact of Daugava HPPs on fish resources. In 2018, payments amounting to EUR 1,035 thousand were made into this programme, ensuring that 600 thousand young salmon and sea trout smolt fry, 820 thousand pike perch, whitefish and vimba fry, as well as 6.9 million lamprey larvae are released into the Daugava River basin. Since 2017, the costs of reinforcement of the Daugava River banks have been covered from the natural resources tax on water used for electricity generation in HPPs. EUR 3,59 million were paid in tax in the reference year.

Latvenergo Group is cooperating with the “We for Fish” (Mēs zivīm) society in the area of the replenishment of fish resources.
Latvenergo Group continues cooperation with the “We for Fish” society also in 2019. In April 2018, 400 artificial spawning nests were placed in the Kegums HPP and Riga HPP reservoir to stimulate the replenishment of common fish species within the Daugava River basin. The project “Cleaning of the Pērse River” was launched in 2018 in cooperation with the “We for Fish” society and the Koknese Municipality Local Government. Within three years, the river will be cleaned from fallen trees and beaver dams, improving the flow capacity and ecological quality of the river, and ensuring more favourable conditions for different fish species.

In addition to the above-mentioned fish stock replenishment activities, Latvenergo prevents fish deaths during the lowering of the water level for the performance of the necessary repair works at HPPs during the summer season. When water levels are reduced for repairs in hydroelectric power plants, the Group adjusts the HPP operating modes and organises a survey of exposed areas in cooperation with the society.

Bird protection
Latvenergo Group cooperates with the Latvian Ornithological Society (LOS) to address bird protection and research issues. A particular attention is paid to the issue of protecting the white storks. For the sixth year the Group jointly with the LOS implement the White Stork Monitoring project to gather information on white stork population in Latvia. At least 12,000 white stork couples nest in Latvia, and power line poles are the most frequent sites selected by these birds for nesting. 7,948 white stork nests were placed on electricity line poles in Latvia in 2018. To ensure compliance with the safety requirements of electricity supply and reduce the number of white stork deaths on electric lines, following the approval from environmental authorities, 903 potentially dangerous nests were removed from electricity line poles in 2018. During the stork nesting period, the birds are disturbed only in exceptional cases where the safety of electricity supply or people is endangered.

Research
Appropriate research is important for these measures to be successful and contribute to the preservation of biodiversity. Together with our cooperation partners, we are conducting research on the possibility of migration and the restoration of natural reproduction of the migratory fish in the Daugava River basin. We have carried out research of the fish fauna and fish resources and assessed the importance and impact of river cleaning works on biodiversity.

Basic Environmental and Energy Management policy principles

Latvenergo Group is aware of the role of environmental protection in sustainable development and implements its key principles in all of its lines of business and processes. The main way to implement this is the continuous and accurate compliance with the requirements of environmental laws, which is Latvenergo’s responsibility, which is given proper consideration. We are constantly trying to improve the environmental performance of Latvenergo Group not only by taking measures that are imposed on us by the requirements of regulatory enactments, but also by voluntarily engaging in environmental activities that contribute to the preservation of biodiversity.

In the field of environmental protection, the group is planning its activities and development in line with the basic principles of sustainable development, environmental laws and ISO 14001. Ensuring environmentally friendly energy production and supply processes is one of the priorities of operations.

The environmental philosophy, the attitude to the environment and environmental management principles of the group are set out in the Environmental Policy of the group. The main principles of this policy are:

  • ensuring effective management of environmental risks and risks of industrial accidents;
  • fostering continuous improvement of environmental performance and efficient use of natural resources;
  • reducing pollutant emissions into the environment and the group’s impact on climate change and the amount of waste it generates;
  • promoting the deployment of balanced and economically sound technologies and the implementation of measures that reduce or eliminate impacts on climate change or ensure adaptation;
  • iassessing the environmental and social impact of investment projects and ensuring maximum reduction of potential damage; 
  • fostering the preservation of biodiversity;
  • developing the environmental competence of employees and their awareness of the environmental aspects relevant to the operations of the group;
  • stimulating the inclusion of the key principles of green procurement into procurement procedures;
  • regular and open information to stakeholders about environmental activities of the Group.

To prove that Latvenergo AS manages rational and efficient use of energy in its operation, the company has introduced the Energy Management System, basic principles of which are defined in the energy management policy of Latvenergo AS:

  • to ensure compliance of the energy management system with external and internal regulatory enactments, which are applicable to the use of energy in a capital company – energy consumption and energy efficiency;
  • to identify the energy consumption;
  • to implement continuous energy consumption assessment process in order to analyse and use energy resources efficiently;
  • to facilitate introduction and inclusion of the basic principles of green procurement into procurement procedures, assessing their usefulness;
  • to improve energy efficiency indicators of buildings and structures, taking into consideration the period of long-term savings and payback period;
  • to promote modernisation of car fleet, observing the energy efficiency principles;
  • to implement generation equipment and sites reconstruction, modernisation and operation projects, including assessment of energy efficiency indicators;
  • to ensure competence of responsible employees and required resources for achieving the objectives in the field of energy management, promoting understanding of employees about energy efficiency and opportunities for developmen;
  • during the decision-making process, to consider the potential impact of decisions on consumption of energy sources and energy efficiency.