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Environmental protection and resource conservation

Energy efficiency measures and the responsible use of energy

EVN has always placed high priority on measures to improve the efficiency of its operations and reduce the emissions from production, energy procurement and customer usage. As an energy supplier in Austria, EVN has also been required to implement energy savings measures for end customers at an amount equal to 0.6% of the previous year’s energy sales volumes since 1 January 2015. The target for the 2015 calendar year was 64.7 GWh. EVN not only met, but exceeded this goal with a bundle of measures.

Examples of the measures for the various customer segments (households, commercial and industrial as well as cities and municipalities) are:

  • Energy advising
  • Replacement of boilers
  • Distribution of energy saving sets
  • New installation of LED lamps
  • Conversion to efficient LED street lighting in companies and municipalities
  • Substitution of district heating from EVN Wärme for less efficient heating systems
  • Installation of photovoltaic equipment to reduce electricity demand from the public network
  • Redemption of EVN bonus points for the purchase of energy-efficient products and equipment
Direct and indirect own energy consumption broken down by primary energy sources2015/162014/152013/14
Natural gasMWh6,1677,0665,258
Heating oil1)MWh153307179

The over-fulfilment of the targets was also supported by internal energy efficiency measures such as the conversion to energy-efficient LED lighting and on-demand equipment or the installation of photovoltaic equipment to cover the electricity requirements at EVN’s own locations. Some of these measures are the result of the ongoing improvement process conducted by the environmental management system at EVN’s locations.

EVN’s energy intensity1) totalled 35.1 MWh (previous year: 29.1 MWh) of primary energy for each GWh of electricity generated. The use of new technologies and continuous optimisation measures, also in connection with additional voluntary targets linked to its EMAS certifications, make it possible for EVN to realise further efficiency improvements.
1) Energy intensity includes EVN’s own consumption of electricity, natural gas, heat and heating oil as a percentage of the total energy sales volume.

  • GRI indicators: Energy consumption within the organisation (G4-EN3); Energy intensity (G4-EN5); Reduction of energy consumption (G4-EN6)

Responsible use of resources


The materials used by EVN consist mainly of primary energy carriers such as fossil fuels, waste and biomass. Only a limited amount of recycling material is used with these components for technical reasons. The energy generation and wastewater purification plants use various substances as secondary components.

  • GRI indicators: Materials employed by weight or volume (G4-EN1); Use of recycled materials (G4-EN2)
Material utilisation for energy generation1) 2015/162014/152013/14
Fossil fuels2)Terajoule34,91026,48324,157
Material utilisation – network construction in Lower Austria1)2015/162)2014/152013/14
Additional power lineskm2781,8181,350
Additional natural gas pipelineskm95134
Additional heating lineskm1511335
Water withdrawal1)2015/162014/152013/14
Drinking water (municipal suppliers)m3342,207373,491360,338
Water use (groundwater)m31,811,9451,901,7241,919,131
Cooling water (surface waters)m3284,705,109163,007,226158,617,752
Materials employed in energy generation and wastewater purification1)2015/161)
Ammonia watert1,509
Demineralised waterm3181
Lubricating oilst2
Hydrochloric acidt189
Sodium hydroxidet69
Dosing mediat10
Rock saltt85
Lime hydratet288
Flocculating agentsl1,024
Citric acidl


The increase in cooling water consumption is explained primarily by the higher use of the thermal power plants for network stabilisation.

EVN’s plants obtain their water from municipal providers or groundwater wells. In 2015/16, the cooling water flow rate at the thermal power stations along the Danube River totalled 280.3m m³. This corresponds to 0.46% of the average annual volume of the Danube recorded at the Korneuburg gauge1) (measuring point number 207241), which amounted to 59,981m m³, and remains clearly below the allowed threshold of 5%.
1) Source: “Austrian Hydrographical Annual 2013”, Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management

  • GRI indicator: Sources of water that are fundamentally affected by the withdrawal of water (G4-EN9)

In 2015/16, 331 m³ of seepage water from landfills (water meter measurement) and approximately 1,000 m³ rainwater from the seepage water basin (estimate based on the volume of precipitation) were recycled in flue gas cleaning at the Dürnrohr power plant. EVN does not use any other recycled water or grey water.


Effects of business activities on biodiversity

EVN is committed to minimising the impact of its business activities on nature, in particular through a special focus on protecting the natural habitats of local flora and fauna in the areas surrounding the company’s plants and projects. Due to the company’s infrastructure – power plants and networks – this impact primarily involves habitats in the water and in the air. Hydropower plants can have an impact on biodiversity, above all because of the limited passage through rivers, while the impact of thermal power plants is related to the temperature of the cooling water released into the rivers. Windpower plants and overhead power lines can represent a danger for various types of birds as well as bats when they are located at the same height as their flight routes.

  • GRI indicator: Impact of business activities on biodiversity (G4-EN12)

Habitat study: Dürnrohr power plant

EVN commissioned a new comprehensive habitat study in spring 2016 covering the approximately 120 ha area surrounding the hard coal-fired power plant in Dürnrohr. The last extensive survey of the local flora and fauna in 2009 revealed a surprising variety of species in the area, which has remained unused and, due to the fencing, free of external influence since the construction of the power plant in the 1980s: more than 500 different species were discovered at that time. Nearly 50 were on the red list of endangered species in Lower Austria, but had found a home in Dürnrohr. The new habitat study represents a contribution by EVN to species and environmental conservation, and the biologists in charge are enthusiastic even before the official completion: this year, even more animal and plant species have been found and identified. A detailed presentation of the project is planned for spring 2017.

Measures to protect and restore natural habitats

In realising construction projects, EVN works to minimise the effects on biodiversity through supervision based on ecological principles. In addition, numerous initiatives and programmes have been introduced to protect the natural habitats in EVN’s area of influence. These activities often take place in close cooperation with external experts from NGOs and local authorities. Current projects to protect biodiversity include:

  • Operation of online monitoring equipment to continuously test the water quality at various levels in the Ottenstein reservoir in order to research the possible effects of return pumping operations and heavy rains on the water quality as well as algae development
  • Sponsorship for the expansion of the Buchberg conservation area to protect biodiversity (LIFE+ project for economy and nature in Lower Austria)
  • Installation of fish bypasses at the small-scale hydropower plants in Wieselburg and Blumau
  • Project for sustainable fisheries management along the Ybbs
  • Construction of a 5 ha wetland area at the Paasdorf-Lanzendorf windpark to protect the black stork
  • Cooperation with BirdLife Austria to install protective coverings on power poles operated by Netz Niederösterreich GmbH
  • Joint projects with the association for the protection of great bustards in Austria (continuation of the LIFE+ project)
  • Construction of nest platforms for storks in Bulgaria and Macedonia
  • Joint project with the Bulgarian Association for Bird Protection to protect the imperial eagle and gyrfalcons (EU LIFE+ programme)
  • Project to protect the Egyptian vulture in Bulgaria (LIFE10)
  • Project to protect snakes through the use of ultrasonic devices for rodent prevention in network infrastructure plants in Macedonia
Endangered species as defined by the
IUCN red list with habitats in Bulgaria,
Macedonia and Austria
Critically endangered50
Near threatened10211
Least concern776337
  • GRI indicator: Total number of IUCN red list species and national conservation list species with habitats in areas affected by operations (G4-EN14)

An extensive network is necessary to ensure complete coverage for electricity and natural gas supplies. Approximately 25% of the surface territory of Lower Austria is designated as protected areas. In order to minimise the environmental impact on these areas, EVN places great importance on responsible network planning and construction.

Alternative sites totalling 64.3 ha were reserved for windpower plants in Lower Austria during the reporting year. The alternative sites for pipeline routes are published in publically accessible documents on the environment and environmental impact tests.

EVN’s properties in Austria in protected areas or adjacent to protected areas1)NumberArea (ha)
Properties in protected areas (>50 m²)679479.4
Properties in protected landscape areas (>50 m²)410369.9
Properties in Natura 2000 areas (>50 m²)526244.1
Properties directly adjacent to protected areas1924.2


All hazardous and non-hazardous waste is regularly transferred to licensed disposal specialists based on framework contracts. These specialists dispose of the waste in an environmentally compatible manner consistent with the legal regulations applicable in the respective countries. No hazardous and non-hazardous waste was disposed across national borders in 2015/16.

EVN utilises all fly ash, coarse ash and REALIT (a waste product from flue gas cleaning). Roughly one-half of the biomass ash from district heat production is transferred to disposal firms and then utilised.

  • GRI indicators: Waste by type and disposal method (G4-EN23); Weight of imported and exported waste deemed hazardous (G4-EN25)

EVN records all environmentally relevant incidents in a standardised reporting system that covers the plants in Austria, Bulgaria and Macedonia. There were no environmentally relevant incidents in the EVN Group during the reporting year.

  • GRI indicator: Weight and volume of significant contamination (G4-EN24)

Austrian power plants –
utilised quantities of power plant by-products

Duisburg-Walsum power plant –
utilised quantities of by-products

Development of waste quantities1) 2015/162014/152013/14
Hazardous wastet13,12311,24610,703
Non-hazardous wastet175,883166,592180,512
Export of hazardous waste2) 
Hazardous wastet000


EVN, together with its subsidiaries EVN Wasser and WTE Wassertechnik, provides drinking water supplies and wastewater purification services and, in this way, plays an important role in maintaining an intact water cycle. In the area of wastewater disposal, the plants operated by WTE Wassertechnik treated roughly 143.0m m3 of wastewater in 2015/16 with a mean purification performance of 90.3%1). The resulting sewage sludge is used partly for agricultural applications and compost production and partly deposited in a landfill or used to generate heat. The more than 100 wastewater treatment plants WTE Wassertechnik has planned and built since its founding purify the wastewater from approximately 17.8m people and return it to the water cycle. A further six plants are currently under construction, and WTE Wassertechnik is also responsible for operations at 30 plants.
1) Average value over the parameters for chemical oxygen requirements, biological oxygen requirements, total nitrogen and total phosphorous. The per cent value means that 90.3% of the pollutants were removed.

A major part of EVN’s wastewater is cleaned by treatment plants before it reaches any surface water. At the power plants, quality-monitored wastewater flows that meet current environmental standards are discharged into the Danube River. This practice does not cause any relevant damage.

In cases where the type or quantity of a wastewater stream differs from ordinary household wastewater and connections to a sewage system are available, EVN concludes contracts with sewage treatment plant operators based on the indirect discharge ordinance. These contracts contain detailed provisions for the allowable amount of wastewater, the main substances it may contain and the required wastewater inspections. Direct discharges into surface water are regulated by the wastewater emission ordinance and various water-related guidelines. EVN’s wastewater streams are regularly tested by accredited external institutions. Possible harmful environmental effects are minimised by strict compliance with the requirements of various public authorities for cooling water discharge temperatures.

  • GRI indicator: Waters affected by wastewater discharges and surface run-off (G4-EN26)

Expenses and investments for environmental protection

The environmental cost calculation for 2015/16 includes all fully consolidated and relevant subsidiaries of the EVN Group in Austria with environment-related expenditures exceeding EUR 10,000. The collection of this data is based on the International Environmental Cost Accounting Guideline issued by the International Federation of Accountants. Environmental costs are defined as the monetised, internal costs of the impact of business activities on the environment and, in particular, the costs of damage prevention and repair.

The environmental costs of the analysed business areas amounted to EUR 80.3m in 2015/16. These costs include expenses for damage repairs (e.g. for the restoration of contaminated sites) as well as damage prevention (e.g. for environmental management and/or flue gas cleaning). On the charts, these expenditures are classified by environmental media and cost categories. Flue gas cleaning constitutes the item with the highest costs in the area of emission treatment. Environment-related income (scrap metal sales, waste-generated steam) totalled EUR 20.9m in 2015/16.

Environmental costs by cost categories
and environment media

  • GRI indicator: Total expenses and investments for environmental protection (G4-EN31)



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