CEZ Group is aware of the importance of environmental protection and conservation, which is especially critical as it impacts biodiversity.
The requirements of environmental management are integral to the processes and activities of the company. The requirements of environmental management and sustainability in all stages of the life cycle of our activities are integral to the processes and activities of the company. CEZ Group uses safe and proven technologies with the aim of minimizing negative impacts of the Group’s activities, products, and services on the environment. CEZ Group requires suppliers and contractors to take the same approach to safety and environmental protection. We established these requirements in the CEZ Group supplier obligations outlined in the Commitment to Ethical Conduct, section 7: Environmental protection and sustainable development. CEZ Group’s dedication to the protection of the environment and associated responsibilities are expressed in the Safety and Environmental Protection Policy.
In 2022, an EIA was carried out for the Mělník steam and gas power plant, which will replace coal-fired power plants by 2030. Ongoing monitoring is carried out both in the context of valid operating permits and in the context of corporate social responsibility (air monitoring near main emission sources). The results are reported to both the state administration and local authorities.
GRI 3-3, 303-1, 303-2, 303-3, 303-4, 303-5; SASB IF-EU-140a.1, IF-EU-140a.2, IF-EU-140a.3 / SDG 6
Water is after fuel the second most important raw material for CEZ Group’s production, and it plays an irreplaceable role in cooling during power generation. CEZ Group manages water systems in coal, CCGT, and nuclear power plants and utilizes water energy for electricity generation in hydro plants. Water management is governed by the Environmental Safety and Protection Policy, which includes an Environmental Management System in accordance with ISO 14001. Within the framework of EMS in water management, as in other areas of environmental protection, we identify environmental risks and create conditions for their prevention and elimination. Water use and wastewater discharge are governed by rules and conditions outlined in integrated permits issued by relevant authorities. All CEZ Group generation facilities comply with water protection provisions and conditions outlined in operation permits. CEZ Group’s conventional and nuclear power plants utilize surface water efficiently and economically. Water is used responsibly to minimize the impacts on its quality and quantity in all areas of operations. Before use, water is chemically and mechanically treated to reduce its possible contamination and to ensure the required water quality necessary for the utilization in a power plant operation. After use, a part of the used water is recycled in the plants to minimize the amount of surface water withdrawn. Groundwater is used only in minimal quantities at CEZ Group. It is mainly used to produce drinking water, while a negligible amount is used for other purposes. None of our production sites are in areas with high water stress according to Aqueduct – Water risk atlas. In 2021, we complied with the conditions of the surface water and groundwater abstraction licenses and the requirements related to the discharge of wastewater and mine water. Reports on compliance with the conditions of integrated permits are published regularly through the water authorities.
In 2022, CEZ Group joined the UN CEO Water Mandate and committed to responsible water stewardship and regular reporting on water management. By endorsing the UN CEO Water Mandate, CEZ Group agrees to continuously improve in six core areas of water stewardship practice: Direct Operations, Supply Chain & Watershed Management, Collective Action, Public Policy, Community Engagement and Transparency.
Surface water is an indispensable resource in the generation of electricity for CEZ Group facilities and an indispensable cooling medium. Around three-quarters of the total surface water withdrawn is used for flow-through cooling. The water used in this way is returned to the watercourses immediately downstream of the abstraction point and comply with water quality requirements.
Withdrawals of surface water for CEZ Group’s operations do not significantly impact the water volume of the watercourses involved. Maximum surface water withdrawal of plants with circulation cooling ranges from 0.04 to 9.6% of the natural flow capacity (after correction of artificial regulations) at the abstraction point, and we can evaluate the withdrawal impacts as negligible or low. A greater impact on the flow is represented by the maximum withdrawal of surface water for the Dukovany nuclear power plant. The surface water withdrawal is carried out from the Dalešice water reservoir and wastewater is discharged into the same reservoir. This reservoir is also used as a pumped storage hydro power plant. Last year, the maximum water withdrawal of the nuclear power plant was 38.7% of the flow through the reservoir, which is assessed as a very significant impact.
In 2022, only about 22% of withdrawn surface water was used for technological purposes. There is no identified impact of surface water withdrawal on biodiversity in protected areas and on the presence of specially protected plant and animal species
Water Consumption and Recycling
Wastewater is recycled with the aim to reduce the consumption of surface water. CEZ Group reuses wastewater from cooling tower blowdown, sand filter and gypsum washing, seepage water, and drainage water if the quality of the wastewater is sufficient for new use. Rainwater is captured where possible. In 2022, we achieved to reuse wastewater and rainwater in a volume equivalent to approximately 7.7% of the total amount of surface water abstracted for technological purposes.
GRI 303-3, 303-4, 303-5
|Total amount of water withdrawn||m3 thousand||592,478||525,431||578,996|
|Water withdrawn per electricity and heat generated||m3/MWh||8.60||8.15||9.32|
|Total amount of water discharged||m3 thousand||498,003||443,277||491,821|
|Amount of water discharged per electricity and heat generated||m3/MWh||7.24||6.88||7.91|
|Total water consumption||m3 thousand||94,475||82,154||87,175|
|Water consumption per electricity and heat generated||m3/MWh||1.37||1.27||1.40|
Wastewater comes mostly from technological use, heat and electricity production, and sewage from sanitary and cooking facilities. Before its release into a watercourse, industrial wastewater is treated, and its quality and amount are monitored. Sewage wastewater is discharged into municipal sewage systems managed by water and sewage management companies, or it is treated in a company water treatment plant and returned to a watercourse. Wastewater that is or could be contaminated with oil is discharged through oil separators. Wastewater from once-through steam turbine cooling, rainfall, drainage, and other similar outlets which do not necessitate treatment are discharged directly to a watercourse. Neither priority nor priority hazardous substances as defined in the Water Framework Directive are discharged from CEZ Group facilities.
Wastewater discharges are subject to conditions set by relevant authorities. Groundwater protection requires that wastewater from electricity generation is only discharged into surface watercourses. Wastewater from flow-through cooling represents most of the volume of wastewater discharged, and conditions for its discharge are carefully maintained to ensure the safety of life and development of biotic communities. CEZ Group carries out regular monitoring of discharged wastewater at all outlets. For some indicators, continuous monitoring is provided. Our goal is to monitor the quality of wastewater and to respond promptly to any risk of quality deterioration. We regularly report the results of monitoring to relevant authorities.
GRI 3-3, 304-2, 413-2 / SDG 15
CEZ Group’s long-term strategic goals include reducing environmental impact, achieving global climate goals, protecting biodiversity, and meeting all emission and environmental requirements set by legislation and regulatory authorities. Assessment of relevant environmental impacts is an integral part of the operational processes of CEZ Group companies. To this end, we have assessed potential impacts on biodiversity within our value chain, and we are taking measures toward preventing and mitigating adverse effects.
Protection and Restoration of Biodiversity
CEZ Group Board of Directors has accepted the responsibility to protect biodiversity and approved a group-wide biodiversity initiative. The goal of the CEZ Group initiative is to prepare for reporting of Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD) and Science Based Targets for Nature (SBTN) initiative and set up measurable goals to become a nature positive company. The primary challenge in promoting biodiversity in our industry is the reduction of the burning of fossil fuels and lignite mining and the recultivation of affected areas. In CEZ Group’s strategy VISION 2030—Clean Energy of Tomorrow, decarbonization is among our core environmental targets: the share of coal-fired electricity generation is set to drop to 12.5% by 2030.
CEZ Group’s biodiversity strategy includes this decarbonization target for reducing GHG emissions, reduction of pollutants, and reduction of lignite mining, as basic measures of protection and restoration of biodiversity. The strategy also involves restoration of areas affected by mining, where the biodiversity of natural habitats is promoted in the reclamation process. All investment interventions and changes in the operation of facilities that could impact biodiversity are subject to environmental impact assessments. In addition, biological monitoring is carried out before project implementation to provide a detailed mapping of the occurrence of all plant and animal species, especially protected ones. In case of their occurrence, environmental experts then relocate them to suitable habitats, for example, in reclaimed areas.
Some of CEZ Group’s sites are historically located near or within specially protected areas, in protected landscape areas, nature reserves, and in proximity to natural monuments. Some operations are located directly in nature protection areas of European importance or Bird Areas NATURA 2000. Any activities and operations at these sites with high biodiversity are subject to conditions and obligations set to protect species by competent nature conservation authorities.
An important part of CEZ Group’s biodiversity activities is the fight against invasive alien species in the regions in which we do business. Invasive alien species compete with native organisms for resources and habitats, and they cause ecosystem imbalance.
The zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha) is an invasive alien species of mussel which has gradually colonized much of Europe’s aquatic environment. Like other invasive alien species, zebra mussel does not have a predator in the local environment of such a magnitude that it would reduce its population by natural means. Overpopulation causes technical problems in hydropower plants and other technical installations that use raw river water. In 2015, CEZ Group established cooperation with Palacký University in Olomouc to monitor, early predict and reduce the zebra mussel presence in water reservoirs where we operate our facilities.
CEZ Group focuses on protecting birds from electrocution and preventing injuries and deaths of birds caused by their landing on power lines. Most commonly, plastic protectors are placed over insulators. Another method of bird protection is the installation of bracket structures to prevent the electrocution of birds landing on power lines. The bracket structures are equipped with bars for safe perching. This type of protection is used in the reconstruction or construction of new high voltage lines.
In the distribution network of ČEZ Distribuce, 16,389 support points of high-voltage power lines were equipped with protective elements in 2022. ČEZ Distribuce owns and manages about 475,000 high-voltage support points, of which 70% are now safe for birds. In 2022, CZK 48 million were spent on bird protection.
ČEZ Distribuce also monitors stork nests located on the distribution network installations. Every year, there are frequent cases of storks building their nests on support points of low-voltage lines. The nests are removed and transferred to safer places in collaboration with regional authorities and the Czech Society for Ornithology. The support point is then fitted with a barrier to prevent the stork from returning. If nest removal is not possible, the wires around the nest are insulated to prevent storks’ injury or death by electrocution.
At the initiative of the Nature Conservation Agency of the Czech Republic (NCA CR), an inspection of hollow concrete power line poles was conducted by ČEZ Distribuce. The covering of the poles was checked and repaired to protect the critically endangered little owl (Athene noctua or owl of Minerva). The inspection of the columns was recommended by the NCA CR in areas critical for the nesting of the little owl. It is a highly endangered species, and its protection is a priority for species conservation, given the current critical status of its population in Central Europe.
In 2022, the success story of support for the nesting of the peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus) continued at CEZ Group sites. Ten nesting pairs were recorded with 33 chicks hatching successfully. Since 2011, when the first falcon nesting box in Czechia was placed on the cooling tower of the Tušimice power plant, at least 147 chicks have been raised on high-rise power plant structures, chimneys, and cooling towers.
Protected animals and plant species
In order to protect the environment and promote biodiversity, CEZ Group monitors species listed on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (2022) or otherwise protected, which live in their natural habitats in areas affected by operations.
|Critically endangered||31||Aves, Insecta, Plantae|
|Endangered||50||Aves, Insecta, Amphibia, Mollusca, Plantae|
|Vulnerable||99||Aves, Insecta, Amphibia, Reptilia, Mollusca, Crustacea, Rotifera, Fish, Mammalia, Plantae|
|Near threatened||100||Aves, Insecta, Amphibia, Reptilia, Mollusca, Arachnids, Mammalia, Plantae|
|Least concern||162||Aves, Insecta, Mammalia, Fish, Plantae|
By conducting biological surveys in our localities, various species of animals and plants have been detected, and, in some cases, assessed as protected species. These species are often tied to specific conditions of a particular locality. CEZ Group tries to protect and support these particular areas to promote the existence of rare biotopes and the protected species of animals and plants associated with them. An important area, where monitoring and protection of endangered plants and animal species is carried out, is the former Tušimice ash deposit area. The presence of endangered species of butterflies, birds, reptiles, and plants (Hipparchia semele, Sylvia nisoria, Lacerta viridis, Helichrysum arenarium) is a subject of protection in this area. The aim of protection is to stabilize and strengthen the populations of threatened species and to maintain or increase the potential of the area for permanently occurring species on the Red List of Threatened Species of the Czech Republic.
CEZ Group also cooperates with the irrigation system administrator Lesy ČR and, by diverting surface water through the area of the Hodonín power plant, it contributes to the protection of the unique and irreplaceable biotope of alluvial forests in Czechia threatened by previous complex water management measures. In addition, the diverted surface water subsidizes the Podluží spring, a source of drinking water for the local community. During biological surveys at CEZ Group localities, the presence of some protected species of animals was detected, such as the Bombus lapidarius, Cicindela campestris, Hyles euphorbiae, Iphiclides podalirius, and Oriolus oriolus. In the case of plants, an example is the site of the Temelín nuclear power plant, where some species of plants included in the Red List of Threatened Species of the Czech Republic were detected. Activities in localities always take into account conservation requirements of protected species of animals and plants.
Technical and biological reclamation of areas affected by mining operations of CEZ Group continued in 2022. Restoration of landscape and establishment of ecological stability are essential for minimizing and eliminating of environmental impacts of lignite open-cast mining. The key objectives of reclamation are the creation of a new landscape with the restoration of all critical functions in the reclaimed areas and their integration into the surrounding landscape. Individual reclamation projects are prepared in accordance with the Comprehensive Remediation and Reclamation Plan.
The main activity of Severočeské doly is the mining of mineral resources, i.e., activities taking place below the surface. Biodiversity support is one of the main management priorities of Severočeské doly, as an important tool for nature and landscape conservation. Biodiversity protection and enhancement are subject to conditions set out in the mining permits under the Opening, Preparation, and Extraction Plans governing lignite mining in the Bílina and Nástup Tušimice mines. Protective measures are also introduced in the towns and villages affected by mining, such as creating noise barriers, walls, and forest belts that reduce adverse effects of mining activities. CEZ Group does not operate any other extensive subsurface activity.
In 2022, Severočeské doly completed landscape reclamation on an area of 170.16 ha and started new reclamation on an area of 108.24 ha. Land acquisitions for mining were made on 34.36 ha of the Bílina mines and 25.11 ha of the Nástup Tušimice mines. Before the quarrying process, biological monitoring of the acquired lands is carried out. Its purpose is to map the occurrence of specially protected animal and plant species, which will be relocated to biotopes created in reclaimed areas. Monitoring is performed by professionals from Czech University of Life Sciences Prague.
The reclamation process is regularly inspected by the Reclamation Department. Representatives of the state administration and representatives of the municipalities and towns in whose cadasters the reclamation work is carried out are also present on inspection day.
|Types and Areas of Reclaimed Land||In progress||Completed||Combined|
|Nástup Tušimice Mines||Bílina Mines||Nástup Tušimice Mines||Bílina Mines||Severočeské doly||%|
|Reclaimed land total||691.25||796.32||2,645.91||3,584.42||7,717.90||100|
In 2022, land reclamation also continued in the vicinity of CEZ Group’s conventional power plants (landfills, tailings ponds, etc.), and 5.09 million tonnes of energy by-products certified for reclamation purposes were used. Energy by-products (EBPs) suitable for reclamation are mainly fly ash and its mixtures with slag and desulphurization products.
GRI 3-3 / SDG 9, SDG 12
CEZ Group considers environmental protection as an integral part of its management system. CEZ Group’s Environmental Management System (EMS) follows the requirements of the management system standard ISO 14001. As reported earlier, the Board of Directors is responsible for environmental protection and approves the Environmental Safety and Protection Policy. Within EMS, CEZ Group identifies environmental risks, creates conditions for their prevention and elimination, and reports on the environmental performance and impacts of its activities. All employees receive regular environmental training every two years.
The system of environmental management applies in the following CEZ Group locations:
- Hydroelectric power plants: Lipno 1, Lipno 2, Hněvkovice, Kořensko, Orlík, Kamýk, Slapy, Štěchovice, Vrané, Dalešice, Mohelno, Dlouhé Stráně.
- Nuclear power plants: Dukovany, Temelín.
- Conventional power plants and heating plants: Dvůr Králové, Trmice, Vítkovice, Ledvice, Tušimice, Prunéřov, Hodonín, Poříčí, Dětmarovice, Mělník, Skawina, Chorzów.
- Combined cycle gas turbine power plant: Počerady.
- Non-production sites: AirPlus, AZ KLIMA, AZ KLIMA SK, Centrum výzkumu Řež, ČEZ Distribuce, ČEZ Energetické produkty, ČEZ Energetické služby, ČEZ ENERGOSERVIS, Domat Control System, e-Dome, ELIMER, ENESA, EP Rožnov, ESCO Servis, HA.EM OSTRAVA, High-tech Clima, Hormen, KART, MARTIA, Metrolog Sp., PRODECO, SD – Kolejová doprava, SPRAVBYTKOMFORT, ŠKODA JS, ŠKODA PRAHA, ÚJV Řež, Ústav aplikované mechaniky Brno.
Within each production site, environmental conditions are assessed and verified in relation to:
- air quality
- availability of natural resources
- existence of old environmental burdens
- waste and hazardous substances management
- water consumption and the impact of operations on surface and groundwater quality and water availability
The EMS includes a continually updated register of legal requirements that CEZ Group implements in its management documentation. Obligations established by applicable legislation, permits, and management documentation are monitored, and they are subject to annual internal audits at all locations. Likewise, external audits by an independent audit authority are performed. Registers of environmental aspects are kept for each site, and their significance in terms of environmental impacts are determined for each facility. EMS also includes monitoring of emissions and the evaluation of operational risks. Relevant environmental indicators are monitored in accordance with legal requirements and legitimate stakeholder requests. The scope and methods of monitoring and measurement are included in work documentation and methodologies. Environmental performance is assessed in the environmental profile, which is established for all generation facilities, and which contains an evaluation of indicators monitored in individual environmental areas. The following environmental performance indicators are identified for electricity and heat supply and generation:
- air emissions production
- amount of surface and groundwater withdrawn
- amount of drinking water withdrawn
- amount of water for circulation and flow-through cooling
- wastewater production
- amount of waste produced
- amount of sorted recoverable waste
- energy by-products (EBPs) production
- amount of recovered EBPs
- amount of EBPs disposed of as waste
Annually, as part of the EMS review, the Board of Directors is informed about the environmental profile of the generation portfolio; we assess both environmental performance indicators listed above and environmental targets achieved. CEZ Group tracks both absolute quantities and particular quantities relative to the volume of electricity and heat generated. Monitoring and measurement records and environmental impact records are also subject to review as part of internal and external audits.
CEZ Group informs its stakeholders about the environmental performance and results of monitored environmental indicators in annual reports and sustainability reports. Additional information is publicly available through integrated permit assessment reports (IPPC) and the Integrated Pollution Register (IRZ). In EU countries, the results are available in the E-PRTR (European Pollutant Release and Transfer Register) at European Industrial Emissions Portal (EIEP). The results of measurements and monitoring are transmitted to the public administration via the Information System for the Fulfillment of Reporting Obligations (ISPOP).
Beyond the scope of legal obligations, CEZ Group has provided accredited monitoring of air quality near large combustion facilities since 1994. It measures pollution with NOX, SO2, and particulate matter of different sizes (PM10 and PM2.5). The data are delivered to the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute, which publishes them in the information system on air quality in Czechia. The results of air pollution monitoring in the vicinity of large combustion facilities are published on the CEZ website.
An independent accredited laboratory also monitors air pollution in municipalities affected by the operations of CEZ Group’s lignite mines. Measurement stations in these locations provide a continual measurement of particulate matter, especially PM10. The results of the measurements are shared with the affected municipalities and governmental agencies.