The choice of energy mix for a producer of electricity and supplier of gas and electricity can have direct and indirect impact on natural resources, soil, water and biodiversity. Specifically, the construction and exploitation of production facilities -whether for thermal or renewable energy – uses raw materials (for EDF Luminus, this is primarily natural gas) and various materials (concrete, steel and complex alloys).
The environment can also be affected by the production facilities themselves (for example, pollution risk from thermal plants, risk to avifauna and chiroptera from wind turbines, risk to fish from hydraulic plants).
Thermal plants must be cooled using air condensers or cooling towers or by circulating cooling water pumped near the plant, from a waterway or sea. This water must be treated before being injected into the pipes.
The used water must be returned in accordance with strict conditions regarding chemical composition and temperature. The liquid waste from the EDF Luminus plants is continually sampled and/or tested to ensure that the limits imposed by the environmental permits are always adhered to.
In combined cycle plants, some cooling circuits must remain under water, even when the plant is not in operation (this was the case at the Seraing plant, during its summer preservation). When a plant has been shut down, some of the intake water from upstream simply passes through the pipes, without being heated or treated. By agreement with the authorities, this volume of transiting water is not included in the declared released water.
|Cooling water used by thermal power plants (millions of m3)|
The decrease in pumped water observed in 2016, then in a more marked way in 2017, is due in large part to the modifications made at the Ghent-Ham and Seraing plants to reduce their water consumption. The plants now run on closed circuits, enabling significant water savings.
Source: EDF Luminus.
The emissions from the EDF Luminus thermal production plants must be declared annually to the authorities. Any exceeding of the regulatory limits must also be reported immediately and corrective measures must be taken.
Total NOx-emissions in tonnes
Nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions rose by 40%, due to the increase in the company’s thermal power production (+43%).
kg per MWh produced, including heat
Source: EDF Luminus.
Emissions per kWh produced also rose (0.08 kg per MWh).
|Total SO2-emissions in tonnes|
Source: Environmental reports
In 2017, sulphur dioxide ((SO2) emissions from the EDF Luminus production parc, already below the reporting threshold for several years, dropped due to the decrease in electricity produced using fuel.
Fuel was only used to restart diesel engines during the black-start tests carried out at Seraing and Ham.
The industrial activities of EDF Luminus cause various types of solid waste.
Every year, EDF Luminus collects hundreds of tons of waste from the Meuse to protect the flow upstream of the hydropower plants. The company bears the costs for the collection, sorting and recycling of that waste. The amount of waste that is removed from the river varies from year to year and depends on the water flow and any flooding.
The amount of waste produced directly by EDF Luminus depends on the planned maintenance work (routine maintenance, major maintenance, renovation, etc.). Some waste can be sorted, recycled or reused.
|Conventional industrial waste (tonnes)|
Source: Reporting REGINE - Public service of Wallonia, DGO3 - Division of Soil & Waste. Reporting to the OVAM, Public Flemish Waste Company.
The volume of waste collected from the Meuse upstream of the hydroelectric plants dropped in 2017 (-31%) due to the meteorological conditions. The low rainfall and low level of the Meuse deposited a lesser amount of waste upstream of the hydroelectric plants.
All of this waste was sorted and recycled, at a cost of around 86,000 euro in 2017.
In 2017, the volume of non-hazardous industrial waste dropped strongly (-38%) compared to 2016, year during which the dismantling of a 356-ton port crane at the site of the Seraing plant resulted in an increase in produced waste.
The volume of hazardous waste also decreased (-62%) compared to 2016, year during which significant maintenance operations carried out in Ham and Monsin resulted in an increase in hazardous waste volumes. The hazardous waste reported for 2017 included 128 tons of heavy fuel oil from the maintenance operations carried out at Ham in 2016.
|Recycled waste (tonnes) and proportion of recycled waste compared to the total produced|
In 2012 EDF Luminus drew up a policy that aims to reduce the amount of landfill waste. All waste generated from the Meuse is sorted and valorised.
In 2017, the number of tonnes of recycled waste fell sharply (-40%) due to the decrease in waste generated from the Meuse and the other waste generated by EDF Luminus.
Source: EDF Luminus.
Preserving biodiversity is a requirement facing company daily, because of the potential impact of its activities on the environment.
Any project that might significantly impact the ecological balance must undergo an environmental impact study to obtain an environmental permit. Similar studies are carried out when a permit is renewed, for plants with a Class 1 permit.
In Wallonia in particular, regulations require the implementation of compensatory measures when a wind power project may affect biodiversity in a way that cannot be adequately mitigated.
Above and beyond these required actions, EDF Luminus contributes to protecting biodiversity whenever possible. These efforts can be seen in particular at:
In June 2017, EDF Luminus and its partners (UNamur, ULiège, Profish technologies, EDF R&D) received a substantial subsidy from the European Commission, to implement and validate various ways of protecting two species of migratory fish in the Meuse.
On 29 September 2017, the non-profit Faunes et Biotopes visited and inspected the measures put in place to protect the biodiversity within the context of the construction of the wind farm in Tournai.
The measures are intended to increase the tranquillity, the food availability and the refuge zones for the avifauna. Various parcels were planted in spring 2017, with a mix of forage radish, grains (oats, wheat and triticale) and sunflowers. In total, these compensatory measures cover more than six hectares.
The results of the inspection visit were satisfactory, as the condition of the plantations complied with the specifications, offering a correct density and an adequate quantity of grain for the winter.
Compensatory measures at the Tournai wind farm: forage hedge with forage radish, grains and sunflowers.
This list indicates the sites where compulsory measures to protect biodiversity have been implemented.
This list indicates the sites on which EDF Luminus has voluntarily implemented measures to preserve or restore biodiversity.
This list indicates the audits carried out to identify polluted soil. It shows that no clean-up measures were necessary, except at the Monsin site, following the shutdown of the thermal units.