Fingrid’s operations have a significant positive impact on the environment and climate because the grid serves as a platform for the clean power system necessary for combatting climate change. The most significant environmental impacts caused by the company’s operations are related to landscape changes and land use restrictions, nature and biodiversity, energy losses occurring during electricity transmission, exceptional fuel and oil leaks and the consumption of natural resources and the climate impact during grid construction and maintenance.
Contractors and service suppliers were encouraged to commit to environmentally responsible operating practices with the help of contractual terms related to environmental matters, and environmental training and audits. The personnel working on Fingrid worksites completed online training on environmental matters, and environmental aspects of the work were monitored as a part of the regular worksite supervision. All the service providers used during the year under review received training in the updated waste management and recycling practices. Compliance with environmental requirements, occupational safety and contractor obligations was verified in a total of 10 audits. In addition, two audits on overall safety and audits related to the ISO 14001 environmental management system were carried out at reserve power plants.
The reserve power plants are subject to an environmental permit and covered by the EU’s emissions trading scheme. The accuracy of the measuring and reporting systems for fuel consumption is verified by an accredited emissions trading verifier. A total of 8,506 (5,817) units (tCO2) of emission allowances were returned, 100 per cent of which consisted of acquired emission right units. Fingrid has not been granted free-of-charge emission rights for the emissions trade period 2013–2020. Purchased emission rights units amounted to 10,000 in 2018. Emissions trading had minor financial significance for Fingrid.
Our goal is to complete grid investment projects and maintenance without any significant environmental deviations. Such deviations did not occur during the year under review. Materials discarded when building new grid sections and substations or dismantled from old structures were recycled as efficiently as possible.
Fingrid actively participates in land-use planning to ensure safety and land-use reservations for the grid. In 2018, the company issued around 290 statements on land-use plans and EIAs. In addition, Fingrid directed the construction taking place near grid installations by issuing roughly 450 safety instructions and statements containing land-use restrictions.
In 2018, environmental assessments were drawn up for the 400-kilovolt underground cable connection planned in Helsinki and for the transmission line project from Kangasala to Tampere. The environmental impact assessment procedure was ongoing for the Pyhänselkä–Nuojua transmission line and for the Pyhänselkä–Keminmaa and Keminmaa–Tornionjoki transmission lines linked with the third AC connection to Sweden. The projects were presented in four public events during 2018. Fingrid also promoted landowner engagement during the planning stages of these projects through a mailing campaign and an online feedback system.
Fingrid received an expropriation permit ruling necessary to build, operate and maintain the Elovaara–Pinsiö and Pamilo–Uimaharju transmission lines. Expropriation permit petitions were drawn up for the Forest Line, Pamilo–Uimaharju and Kontiolahti–Uimaharju transmission line projects. The compensation process for compulsory purchase was completed for the Hikiä–Forssa, Lavianvuori re-routing, Vihtavuori–Koivisto and Vuoksi–Onnela transmission line projects as well as was nearly completed for the Hirvisuo–Pyhänselkä project. Fifteen hearings in accordance with the Finnish Expropriation Act were held with landowners.
The service providers who carry out maintenance work and trim vegetation along power line right-of-ways were instructed to take landowners and site-specific environmental values into account. Landowners were also kept informed. Fingrid promoted the usability of transmission line areas by offering landowners idea cards containing information on safe practices for utilising the powerline right-of-ways both for the benefit of the nature and people . Fingrid also granted initial funding and advisory services for managing the right-of-way as a heritage habitat.