Distribution and Conveyance
After it is generated, electricity must be conveyed, in a safe and environmentally friendly manner, to the place of consumption. At CEZ Group, a wide range of technical equipment is used for this purpose, and together this equipment is referred to as the distribution grid. Electricity is conveyed to customers via the transmission grid as well.
In addition to protecting the environment in conjunction with the operation of distribution equipment such as, in particular, transformer stations, CEZ Group pays the most attention to protecting birds, which use outdoor power lines and their support structures for roosting and nesting. Since birds can sustain injury when they come into contact with conductors, our main focus is on modifying consoles to make them safe for birds. Old types of line support points must be protected using socalled supplemental protection, which limits the effects of current. In this area we have successfully developed broad, mutually effective cooperation with nature protection advocates and the Ministry of the Environment of the Czech Republic.
Distribution Equipment and the Environment
In accordance with applicable law, CEZ Group pays continual attention to creating conditions for environmental protection in conjunction with the operation of distribution technologies and equipment.
There are a large number of areas on which CEZ Group focuses. These include:
- water management,
- polychlorinated biphenyls,
- legacy environmental burdens,
ČEZ Distribuce has been successfully addressing environmental protection issues for a number of years now. In late 2011, it obtained ČSN EN ISO 14001:2005 certification for its Environmental Management System (EMS). The independent certification authority confirmed that the design and practical implementation of the management process are compliant with the standard.
Certain distribution equipment contains heattransfer oils, which can pose a certain threat to the environment if accidentally released. In most cases, the equipment is technically secured against oil escaping from the casing. For the remaining equipment, the problem is dealt with by installing containment systems that are capable of capturing oil even from very small leaks.
Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCB)
Since 2002, we have been systematically vetting the quality of oil used in our distribution equipment, including checking for the presence of polychlorinated biphenyls. So far, several tens of thousands of checks have been performed. In view of the fact that, out of the many thousands of oil samples tested, only a small number have been shown to contain PCBs over the limit, the equipment administered by ČEZ Distribuce that has not yet been tested can be deemed to be uncontaminated or slightly contaminated. An amendment of the Waste Act makes it possible to defer testing for PCBs in such equipment until the end of its operating life.
Legacy Environmental Burdens
Within the ČEZ Distribuce service area, 78 sites with legacy environmental burdens have been identified. Of this total number, 42 have been settled to date.
Various waste materials are generated in the course of distribution grid operation. In accordance with our prevention-based approach, the objective of CEZ Group is to minimize the amount of waste and/or prevent waste from being produced in the first place. This is the job of our waste management function. Waste that is produced is reused where possible. Other waste is recycled. Recycled waste materials include old cables, wires, steel structures, and transformers (including coils made of non-ferrous metals), as well as more complicated waste composed of a number of different materials. For example, no electric meters are landfilled; instead, they are disassembled and sorted into usable components for further processing. CEZ Group work areas are equipped with sorted waste containers. Any hazardous waste that arises is handled in accordance with especially strict rules.
In most cases, equipment noise is dealt with by locating the equipment sufficiently far away from human habitations. Where that is not the case, noise from the stations is suppressed using anti-noise barriers or by planting vegetation around the station. Since 2010, the Group has been doing noise checks on its distribution equipment in places where housing developments have moved closer to transformers.