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Environmental measures

Use of resources

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The consumption or use of resources plays a major role in EnBW's business activities. For example: coal is burned; waste and by-products are produced; land, water and energy are consumed. Here you will find examples of EnBW's activities for the responsible use of resources.

Further information:

Further data on the following topics can be found in the environmental data table.

To the environmental data

Responsible procurement

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Coal procurement

With a view to the CO₂ reduction targets set by the German government, we will gradually replace hard coal with more climate-friendly energy sources. The most important milestones here will be the realization of the fuel switch projects and the planned phaseout of coal by 2028. Nevertheless, hard coal will still play a relevant role for EnBW as a source of energy over the next few years to ensure a reliable and economic supply of electricity. Responsible raw materials procurement, especially in the coal sector, is thus extremely important to us in order to strengthen our sustainable purchasing.

2023 was characterized by a sharp decrease in the amount of electricity generated from hard coal in Germany, which was also reflected in the total amounts of hard coal delivered to the EnBW power plants. Deliveries fell from 4.2 million t in 2022 to 2.2 million t in 2023. This was not only due to general developments on the market but also the shutdown of Block 7 of the Heilbronn power plant due to damage. Colombia was the most important source of supply for power plant coal in 2023. However, deliveries fell from 1.6 million t to 1.1 million t because of the fall in demand. The second most important source of supply was the USA with 0.8 million t in 2023 (previous year: 0.4 million t). The Russian coal that was supplied to our power plants (0.1 million t) was from stocks stored at the ports before sanctions were imposed. As a result of the decrease in total deliveries and lower prices for coal, the procurement volume fell considerably from €1,150 million in the previous year to €260 million in 2023.

The EnBW Group places great importance on knowing exactly where the coal it uses is sourced and being able to disclose this information. 93.8% of our coal requirements were covered in 2023 by contracts where the respective producers are already known when the contract is concluded. The remainder is sourced from contracts concluded with trade intermediaries who usually define a quality standard and the countries from which the coal could be sourced, but not the source of the coal itself.

Get more information on EnBW's coal procurement here.

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¹The figures may not add up due to rounding differences.

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Gas procurement

In order to achieve our target of climate neutrality by 2035, we are working intensively on initially switching over our power plants from coal to more climate-friendly natural gas (fuel switch) and then to climate-neutral gas such as biogas or (green) hydrogen in the long term. Natural gas plays an important role as a transition technology – either in the form of liquefied natural gas (LNG) or grid-based natural gas. Against this background, we have continued to shift the focus onto due diligence measures in the area of gas procurement. The key aspect will be a comprehensive business partner audit of all the direct LNG and pipeline gas suppliers before they are approved as a business partner for EnBW.

In 2023, EnBW mainly sourced its natural gas via supply contracts with companies in Norway as well as via the European wholesale market. Following the expiry of our Russian gas contracts, we have been strengthening our efforts to diversify our sources of gas to a much greater extent. We concluded two long-term purchase agreements in 2022 for liquefied natural gas (LNG) with Venture Global LNG for a term of 20 years to diversify our sources of gas in the long term. The total volume of LNG will be around 2 million t per year, half of which will be sourced from the Plaquemines facility and half from the Calcasieu Pass 2 facility (both in the USA) of Venture Global LNG from 2026/2027 onwards. At the beginning of 2023, we increased our capacity bookings at the planned LNG terminal in Stade to 6 bcm/a to help ensure the continued security of supply in Germany.

Water usage and waste water mangement

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Increased use of modern cooling towers

For the operation of our thermal power plants (nuclear power, coal, oil, gas), large quantities of water are taken from the Rhine and Neckar Rivers in particular for cooling and as process water, which is then fed back in after use.

Through the increased use of modern cooling towers, newer and more efficient power plants and the use of combined heat and power generation, we have been able to considerably reduce the burden on the watercourses compared to the earlier heat input of older thermal power plants with once-through cooling. This is the result of the economic analysis carried out as part of the management planning for the Neckar River in connection with the Water Framework Directive.

Even during summer heat waves and low water periods, sophisticated water, heat and oxygen management, coordinated with the authorities, helps to minimise the impact on water bodies as far as possible.

With the water withdrawal charge that has been payable in Baden-Württemberg for many years, there is not only an ecological aspect but also an economic incentive to use the resource water for cooling purposes only to the extent necessary.

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Minimizing the volumes of cooling water and waste water

We strive to credibly reconcile corporate, political and social objectives in the environmental field. Derived from our EnBW strategy, our environmental aspects and the requirements of the energy revolution, in environmental protection, we focus on the reduction of and water consumption as one crucial fields of action. We have set ourselves the target of reducing the waste water intensity from own generation of electricity by 20 % to 30 % by 2025 compared to the base year 2018.

Here you can find the environmental targets

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Waste Management

Reduce and recycle waste

At EnBW, different types of waste are generated in the individual business activities along the value chain. Waste management is part of our environmental management system The aim is to achieve continuous improvement and thus reduce waste. Data on waste volumes and the recycling rate in the Group can be found on the Environmental Data page.

Waste incineration

The purpose of waste incineration plants is to dispose of waste by using the energy contained in it, for example to generate electricity and heat. The waste incineration in our EnBW combined heat and power plant in Stuttgart-Münster also ensures that the energy resources in the waste are used responsibly.

Co-incineration of sewage sludge

Together with coal, mechanically dewatered and thermally dried sewage sludge can be incinerated. A prerequisite is that the sewage sludge complies with the Sewage Sludge Ordinance. This man-made waste from sewage treatment plants has so far largely been deposited in landfills or used in agriculture and in recultivation measures in depleted lignite deposits.

Thermal recycling in power plants is a technically feasible and environmentally friendly disposal method.

Power plant by-products

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Building materials from power plants

The power plant industry produces by-products such as fly ash, boiler ash and gypsum, which are used as secondary raw materials in the building materials industry. In particular, the gypsum produced during flue gas cleaning has long been marketed to the gypsum-processing industry, thus avoiding the mining of naturally extracted gypsum.

Mineral products from coal-fired power plants have proven their worth for decades as building materials in concrete and reinforced concrete construction, mining, road and path construction and in earthworks, foundation engineering and landscaping.

More than 9 million tonnes of these building materials from coal-fired power plants are used annually in the construction industry in the form of fly ash, boiler sand, smelting chamber granulate, FGD gypsum and others. This is associated with a considerable relief of the environment, conservation of resources and with great economic benefits. Furthermore, there are convincing advantages for the user.

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Desulphurisation products (REA gypsum)

In order to meet the legal environmental protection requirements for keeping the air clean, the coal-fired power stations were equipped with flue gas desulphurisation plants (FGD), among other things. In these plants, the sulphur dioxide present in the flue gas reacts with natural lime. Downstream oxidation of the reaction products produces gypsum, which is referred to as FGD gypsum.
Extensive investigations have shown that there are no differences between natural gypsum and FGD gypsum in terms of chemical composition and content of trace elements. According to these investigations, FGD gypsum, like natural gypsum, can be used for the production of building materials without health concerns.

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Environmental protection and energy savings

Natural raw materials are becoming increasingly scarce. Their extraction often requires drastic interventions in the landscape. The energy required to produce building materials is often very high.

The use of building materials from coal-fired power stations conserves natural resources and brings energy savings in the production and processing of building materials, as these products are already in the economic cycle and can in part be used directly as raw materials in their unaltered state. Their environmental compatibility and harmlessness in terms of industrial hygiene have been proven in many studies.

Mobility initiatives

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Improve the environmental balance

EnBW AG is a group with various subsidiaries and locations. This makes it necessary for our employees to undertake business trips using different modes of transport.

In addition, our network operators are present in the area to ensure the security of supply of the electricity and gas network and use company vehicles for the operational management and maintenance of the networks.

In order to improve the environmental balance of our travel activities, we have defined the following objectives and introduced appropriate measures:

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  1. Avoidance of business travel
  2. Improvement of CO₂ emissions from the use of passenger cars
  3. Significant expansion of the electric vehicle fleet

In order to measure the further development in the achievement of objectives, we have been reporting the "CO₂ intensity of the business trips and travel" in g CO₂eq/km in the annual report since 2014. This includes the CO₂eq from business travel (both the Scope 1 emissions from our own vehicles and the Scope 3 emissions from e.g. flight, train, taxi).

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Ad 1. A main focus of our activities is to reduce the number of business trips. We are increasingly using web and videoconferences instead. This not only reduces carbon emissions and costs but also leads to a lower risk of injury and the more efficient use of work time. In 2012, we have introduced an IT solution for webconferences and since then have continuously updated it and have now adapted it for use in a smart client environment. The number of rooms equipped for videoconferencing has steadily increased since 2009. Hybrid working is being promoted in the Best Work program. As well as modifications to technical equipment, workspaces on site have been redesigned for this purpose and employees have been offered training on hybrid ways of workings. There were 315 videoconference rooms available for use in 2023. Other opportunities for collaboration outside of meeting rooms were also expanded, for example, a total of 75 additional Microsoft Teams Rooms (MTR) have been set up. We can now provide employees with 275 videoconference solutions such as Surface Hubs, monitors with connected collaboration bars and the MTRs. In 2023, approximately 16,000 employees took part in more than 165,000 meetings on average per month via videoconference.

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Ad 2. and 3. Another focus is on reducing carbon emissions when vehicle use is unavoidable. We also deploy a wide-ranging package of measures to reduce carbon emissions in the composition of our vehicle fleet (data as of Q1 2024):

  • Our fleet today includes some 1,432 alternative fuel vehicles. The bulk of these comprise 981 electric vehicles (EVs), increasing numbers of which are on order. Other vehicles are hybrid or run on gas or natural gas.
  • All EVs are charged with 100 % green electricity.
  • For the vehicle pool used for business trips, only EVs are procured as replacements.
  • We are continuously expanding the EV charging infrastructure for employees at our sites. We added a total of 1,100 charging points at over 120 EnBW sites around Germany (data as of Q2 2024). Additionally, bicycle boxes with more than 70 charging points for e-bikes are available at 26 locations. By expanding the charging infrastructure at our sites, we aim to make it easier for employees to switch to electric mobility and thus accelerate the mobility transformation within our company.

The central vehicle fleet managed by EnBW AG comprises a total of 3,894 vehicles, which includes 3,192 company vehicles (including pool vehicles) and 702 service vehicles. Approximately 45 % of the company vehicles are commercial/transport vehicles that are used for installation work on the grids.Despite the large proportion accounted for by the operating fleet, our carbon emissions for the fleet as a whole currently average approximately 65 g/km (passenger cars, excluding commercial vehicles). For pool vehicles, we are down to just 39 g/km (as of Q1 2024).

Read more about EnBW's commitment to e-mobility here (in German)

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