The Latvenergo Group uses both fossil fuels such as natural gas and renewable energy sources (hereinafter – RES) such as water and wind to generate electricity. The company generates most of its electricity in hydropower plants, and the rest – in combined heat and power plants, which operate in cogeneration as well as in condensation mode.
To ensure compliance with the requirements of the environmental legislation, Latvenergo AS actively cooperates with state environmental institutions, providing information related to environmental protection, organising environmental impact assessment, fulfilling the conditions of permits for polluting activities, as well as consulting on environmental protection issues.
In 2021, the Group passed seven (7) planned thematic inspections of the State Environmental Service and two (2) Health inspectorate's inspections. No significant admonishments or sanctions have been received from the controlling institutions.
One of the global environmental challenges facing the energy sector is climate change caused by greenhouse gases (hereinafter – GHGs). The work of the Latvenergo Group goes hand in hand with the activities of Latvia and the European Union (hereinafter – EU) in achieving their climate goals. The EU has set the goal of achieving climate neutrality in 2050, and achieving this objective will require new, efficient technologies and solutions. The objectives and target indicators of the Energy and Climate Policy of Latvia are defined in the National Energy and Climate Plan for 2021–2030. An important instrument of the EU climate policy is the Emissions Trading Scheme (hereinafter – ETS), which aims to promote GHG reductions and investment in low-carbon solutions.
CO2 emissions per one generated electricity unit (2017-2021)
On 1 January 2021, the fourth period of the ETS commenced and will continue until 2030. In the fourth period, it is planned to significantly and more rapidly reduce the total amount of emission allowances, phasing out free allowances (after 2026), to allocate allowances according to the volume of production and to establish several financing instruments, including a Modernisation Fund to support industry and the electricity sector in terms of innovation and investment. Free CO2 allowances will not be allocated to the electricity generation, however, around 20-30% of the required allowances will be allocated to the thermal energy generation free of charge.
Although the Latvenergo Group is already one of the greenest electricity generators in Europe, the Group purposefully invests in developing a portfolio of zero-emission and low-emission plants and thus, contributing to climate change mitigation. The main investment directions are:
1) increasing the efficiency of energy generation and maximum use of the renewable energy sources (including the reconstruction of the Daugava HPPs);
2) reduction of losses in the electricity distribution system;
3)development of products and services that focus on energy efficiency and allow the customer to generate low-emission electricity, such as Elektrum Solārais.
In the Latvenergo Group, the amount of direct greenhouse gas emissions is determined by fuel consumption, the amount of energy generated and the operating modes of generation facilities. In turn, the CO2 emission intensity is calculated per unit of electricity generated by the Group (MWh), and is influenced by the share of RES in the consumption of primary energy resources, as well as the efficiency of generation in CHPP. The lower this ratio, the more electricity is generated from RES and the more efficient are the CHP plants.
In 2021, CO2 emissions per unit of electricity generated in the Group are 0.116 tons CO2/MWh, while in the combined heat and power plants – 0.279 tons CO2/MWh.
Information on the origin and environmental impact of the electricity supplied to consumers (specific CO2 emissions per unit of energy) can be found in the Trade section.
CO2 emission (thousand tons)
|In the Group in total, incl.:||882
In 2021, the total amount of CO2 emissions decreased by 31% compared to the previous year, and is one of the lowest in the last five years. There has also been a significant reduction in CO2 intensity per unit of electricity generated, determined by several factors, i.e., significantly more electricity was generated at Daugava HPPs, in accordance with the market conditions, less electricity was generated in the CHPPs (in addition, almost 50% less electricity was generated in condensing mode) and due to the warm weather, the generation of thermal energy in CHPPs has also decreased.
In 2021, the volume of CO2 emissions and specific CO2 emissions remained at the level of the previous year due to several factors, for example, considerably larger electricity output at the Daugava HPPs, smaller electricity output at the CHPPs (in condensation mode it decreased twice) due to market conditions, as well as smaller thermal energy output at the CHPPs affected by warmer weather conditions.
The Group's total emissions consists of:
- emissions from the installations participating in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (combustion installations with a rated thermal input exceeding 20 MW);
- emissions from installations not participating in the Scheme that during the reporting year have emitted approximately 11 tonnes of CO2, corresponding to 1.2% of total emissions.
In addition to the indicated amount, CO2 emissions in the Latvenergo Group also arise from the fuels used for transport. In 2021, CO2 emissions from the road transport were 7.6 thousand tons, including CO2 emissions of transport used by Latvenergo AS – 0.809 thousand tons.
Emissions of harmful substances into the atmosphere directly depend on the type of fuel used and the technology and efficiency of its use. Natural gas is one of the most environmentally friendly fuels, which are used by CHPP-1 and CHPP-2. When natural gas is burned, not only CO emissions are released into the atmosphere, but also nitrogen oxides (NOx) and carbon monoxide (CO). In both combined heat and power plants, diesel fuel is only used as emergency fuel in the water heating boilers. Combustion of diesel fuel in the atmosphere, in addition to the NOx and CO emissions, produces a negligible amount of sulphur dioxide (SO2), as the diesel fuel with a sulphur content of not more than 0.1% is used, as well as insignificant particulate emissions. Hydrocarbon emissions occur during the storage of diesel fuel.
Emissions of Latvenergo AS into the atmosphere in 2021:
|NOx t||CO t||Particulate m. t||SO2 t|
|In the Group in total, incl.:||686||363||13||5|
The Group uses water resources mainly for the provision of production processes, as well as in small quantities for other economic needs and for the water supply to external consumers. In accordance with the Water Resources Atlas of the World Resources Institute, Latvia is in a low to low-medium water stress zone, therefore, there are no specific water consumption restrictions and no areas with increased water stress are identified in the water consumption data. The amount of surface and/or groundwater consumption is specified in the permits of each facility. The Group's water consumption balance includes surface water, groundwater, and tap water.
In 2021, a total of 2.5 million m3 of water was consumed, of which 98% is surface and groundwater, which is obtained in the low-medium water stress zone. Of the water used for operations in 2021, 95% was surface water, 3% groundwater and 2% tap water. The largest consumer of surface water is CHPP-2, which consumed 2.4 million m3 of water in the reporting year, 88% of which was cooling water. CHPP-2 consumption is mainly influenced by the operating modes of the generation units and the amount of energy generated. The largest consumers of groundwater are CHPP-1 and CHPP-2, which have used 28 thousand m3 each of groundwater, respectively, for the preparation of heating network feedwater.
Consumption of water resources in 2021 (thousand m3):
|Surface water||Underground water||Supply system water||Total|
|In the Group in total, incl.:||2412||86||46||2544|
* - does not include the use of water for the electricity generation in the hydropower plants.
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.
The Latvenergo Group's concern for the preservation of biological diversity and the reduction of the impact of its operations is one of the basic principles of the Group's Environmental Policy. In its operations, the Group plans and implements measures aimed at the conservation of biological diversity. In this area, the main directions are the restoration of fish resources and the strengthening of the banks of the Daugava River.
To reduce the impact of its operations on biodiversity, the Group makes annual payments for the restoration of fish resources in the Daugava River basin in accordance with the requirements of regulatory enactments. In 2021, 1.2 million juveniles of salmon, sea trout, pikeperch, whitefish, vimba, and pike and 5.1 million of lamprey larvae were released into the rivers.
In addition, the Group also implements other projects to improve fish habitats and migration, e.g., places fish spawning nests in the Daugava River and cleans small rivers in the Daugava basin.
In 2021, the Latvenergo Group has been continuing its cooperation with the association Mēs zivīm (in English – We For Fish) for the eleventh year in a row. In April 2021, 400 artificial spawning nests were placed in the reservoir of Ķegums HPP and Riga HPP to promote the restoration of fish species characteristic to the Daugava River basin.
In cooperation with the association Mēs zivīm and Koknese municipality, the project Cleaning of the Pērse River was concluded in 2020. Within three years, in the length of 41 km, the river will be cleared of tree falls and beaver dams, thus, improving water permeability, ecological quality and providing more favourable conditions for various fish species.
In addition to the above-mentioned measures for the reproduction of fish resources, the Latvenergo Group prevents the death of fish during the lowering of water levels when carrying out the necessary repairs in the hydropower plants during the summer period. When the water level is lowered for repairs in the hydropower plants, the Group adjusts the HPP operation regimes and in cooperation with the association, organises an inspection of the exposed areas.
Appropriate research is being carried out to ensure that these measures are successful and contribute to the conservation of biodiversity. Together with our cooperation partners, we conduct research on the possibility of restoring the migration and natural reproduction of migratory fish in the Daugava River basin. We conduct research on the fish fauna and fish resources and evaluate the significance of river clean-up work and the impact on biodiversity.