During the operation phase, we ensure the environmental legal compliance and the proper management of the environmental aspects through the EDPR Environmental Management System (EMS).
The EMS covers, among others, the procedures applicable to all wind farms in operation to establish operational controls, monitoring and measurements of the relevant environmental aspects. Environment surveillance is carried out periodically to assess the significance of the environmental aspects. The frequency of further surveillances is established in the monitoring plan given the assessment made. There are a few cases in which the surveillance is performed on a daily basis.
Contractors, who are mainly related to third party operating and maintenance service providers, are required to follow the environmental legislation as well as the environmental policies, management systems and requirements of EDPR.
The EMS in place or under implementation in Europe and Brazil is based on the ISO 14001:2004 Standard. The implementation of this system in Europe started in 2008 in some wind farms in Spain. Since then, it has been extended to other geographies, such as Portugal, France, Poland and Romania. We set as a target to have the EMS implemented in all operating wind farms in Europe were we have a controlling stake by the end of 2012.
In Europe we have 2,193 MW with the EMS certified in compliance with the ISO 14001:2004 standard (55% of The MW in operation in Europe).
In Brazil, we are currently working to implement the EMS in all wind farms, accounting for 84 MW, to be certified according to ISO 14001:2004 standard.
In the US, we have defined an action plan to review applicable environmental laws and regulations and conduct internal environmental audit of our wind farms to evaluate , on a yearly basis, the industrial compliance with applicable legal requirements, instead of pursuing a specific certification.
All wind farms in operation covered by the EMS, have operational controls in place, to monitor and measure the environmental aspects considered significant. These include water, electricity and other consumptions; greenhouse gases, noise and other emissions; hazardous and non-hazardous waste, among others.
Most of the electricity consumed in the wind farms comes from the same green electricity produced by them. However a small amount is consumed to power auxiliary services.
Waste is another environmental aspect considered relevant in our wind farms, although the amount generated by them is considered relatively small in comparison to other energy generation processes.
The main consumption and also the main waste produced in the wind farms is oil, which is used as a lubricant. In 2011 the amount of oil used was 221 tons.
“Wind farm design plays a fundamental role in the amount of waste generated”
Wind farms are equipped with different bins for non-hazardous waste segregation. Hazardous waste is packed, labeled and stored until final treatment is given by an authorized waste handler.
The company promotes the recovery of waste rather than disposal through recycling and other means.
Wastewater is kept in confined deposits in the majority of cases and is sent, if needed, to treatment.
During 2011 we had 3 significant spills with a total volume of 0.63 m3. Although these environmental emergencies are not common due to the nature of our facilities and the business itself, we have developed an environmental near-miss system, to improve and anticipate crises. Furthermore, we defined an emergency response procedure to ensure that the steps to follow are clearly understood to overcome and control an emergency situation. It also ensures that every employee or any other person working on our behalf is conscious about the importance of the identification of near-miss situations in order to avoid future emergency situations.