2009 GRI environmental performance indicators
Note: Core indicators are bolded
|Environmental performance indicators||TransAlta response|
|EN1 Weight or volume of materials used
EU Sector: PCB use
|Please refer to the Production indicators in the Numbers section of this report.
PCB use is closely tracked at TransAlta and we comply with regulations in all our jurisdictions. We have completed extensive testing to ensure all our major equipment is well under 500 parts per million (ppm); sampling of smaller equipment will be complete in 2010. In Centralia all PCB containing transformers were replaced in 2009 with non-PCB containing transformers.
|EN2 Percentage of recycled input materials||TransAlta does not currently track this indicator.|
|EN3 Direct energy consumption||Please refer to the Production indicators in the Numbers section of this report.|
|EN4 Indirect energy consumption||Please refer to the Production indicators in the Numbers section of this report.|
|EN5 Energy saved due to conservation and efficiency improvements||Due to a number of operational issues at our plants in 2009, our efforts described in the Increasing Efficiencies section in this report did not equate to efficiency improvements over 2008.|
|EN6 Initiatives to provide energy-efficient products and services||TransAlta continually invests in our operations to improve energy efficiency as well as costs. In 2009, these initiatives are listed in the Increasing Efficiencies section of this report.|
|EN7 Initiatives to reduce indirect energy consumption||TransAlta does not currently track this indicator.|
|EN8 Total water withdrawal by source||Please refer to the Water Indicators under Environment in the Numbers section.|
|EN9 Water sources significantly affected by withdrawal of water||TransAlta operations in 2009 did not significantly affect any water sources or associated habitats or ecosystems due to water withdrawal.|
|EN10 Volume of water recycled and reused||Please refer to the water indicators under Environment in the Numbers section.|
|EN11 Land adjacent to protected areas and areas of high biodiversity||Several of our hydro sites in Canada occur within or adjacent to protected areas. Aside from these listed sites, we have not identified any of our sites as being within or adjacent to areas of recognized high biodiversity. Please refer to the Biodiversity section of this report for more information.
TransAlta hydro facilities within or adjacent to protected areas:
Canadian Hydro Developers assets have not been included in this assessment but will be incorporated in next year’s report.
|EN12 Significant impacts of activities, products and services on biodiversity||Please refer to the Biodiversity section of this report.|
|EN13 Area of habitats protected or restored||We comply with our mining approvals to restore habitat following mining operations. Please refer to the Reclamation section of this report for more details and to the Land and Materials Management indicators in the Numbers section for data.|
|EN14 Strategies for managing impacts on biodiversity||Please refer to the Biodiversity section of this report.|
|EN15 IUCN Red List species in areas affected by operations||TransAlta has compiled a list of Species At Risk for some of our assets in Canada and an Endangered Species list for our operations in the US. Canadian Hydro Developers’ assets have not yet been included in this review.
We have not compiled a list of IUCN Red List species in all areas in which we operate.
|EN16 Total direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions||Please refer to the Greenhouse Gas Emissions indicators in the Numbers section of this report.|
|EN17 Other relevant indirect greenhouse gas emissions||TransAlta quantifies and reports its Direct and Indirect greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in conformance with requirements of the Carbon Disclosure Project. However, we do not currently track and report Tier III GHG emissions.|
|EN18 Initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reductions achieved||Please refer to the Environment section of this report for discussion and charts showing greenhouse gas emissions and discussion on steps we are taking to reduce our emissions. These include leading a major carbon capture and storage project, for the electricity industry in partnership with Alstom, and investing in major uprate projects at our plants to improve efficiencies.|
|EN19 Emissions of ozone-depleting substances||Please refer to Greenhouse Gas Emissions indicators in the Numbers section of this report.|
|EN20 NOx, SO2 and other significant air emissions||Please refer to the Environmental Performance indicators in the Numbers section of this report.|
|EN21 Total water discharge by quality and destination||Each facility reports water quality information as required by regulation or within the operating approval. Please refer to the Numbers section of this report for total volumes of water used.
Water is used at coal facilities primarily for boiler and condenser systems and for cooling processes. Prior to cooling water being released it is transferred to cooling ponds to ensure there is no thermal discharge to water bodies. This is closely monitored and required by operating approvals. Evaporative losses from the cooling ponds and/or cooling towers account for over 95 per cent of consumption. While the water lost to evaporation does not directly return to the water body, it remains in the hydrologic cycle. For water quality, on-site settling ponds and water treatment plants are used to treat ash handling system water and surface run-off before it is discharged.
|EN22 Total amount of waste by type and disposal method||Please refer to Land and Materials Management indicators in the Numbers section of this report.|
|EN23 Total number and volume of significant spills||Please refer to Regulatory Performance indicators and Spills in the Numbers section of this report.|
|EN24 Hazardous waste volumes||Please refer to Land and Materials Management indicators in the Numbers section of this report.|
|EN25 Water bodies and related habitats significantly affected by discharges||TransAlta complies with all operating approvals for water use and management to avoid negative impacts on water bodies and related habitat|
|EN26 Initiatives to mitigate environmental impacts of products and services||We have comprehensive environment, health and safety management systems in place at all of the facilities we operate to ensure we identify and mitigate potential impacts to the environment. Initiatives to mitigate our environmental impacts include leading the development of emission reduction technologies at our facilities, including carbon capture and storage and mercury capture. In addition, we continue to research clean coal technology for long-term solutions to emissions. We are continually increasing the development of renewables in our portfolio and increasing the efficiency of our existing facilities. We are conducting long-term biomonitoring studies and implementing extensive reclamation plans including wetland reclamation. We work closely with stakeholders in all areas in which we operate to ensure potential impacts are properly understood and appropriate steps taken to mitigate them.
Please refer to the Environment section of this report for full details of our potential impacts and mitigation measures.
|EN27 Reclaimed products and packaging materials||TransAlta is a power generation and wholesale marketing company. Given the nature of our business, we do not have packaging material.|
|EN28 Fines and sanctions for non-compliance||Please refer to Regulatory Performance indicators in the Numbers section of this report.|
|EN29 Environmental impacts of transportation related to the organization’s operations||TransAlta has 35 fleet vehicles and a large fleet of mining equipment at our coal mines. Our fleet of equipment contributes to air emissions and end uses non-renewable resources of energy.
Fleet and mining vehicles consumed 39.3 million liters of diesel, 1.3 million liters of gasoline and 0.2 million liters of propane in 2009.
The total amount of emissions associated with mining and fleet vehicles is approximately 112,000 tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent. This represents less than one per cent of total emissions. We include emissions from transportation in our inventory of greenhouse gases in the Numbers section of this report.
In 2009, our mining fleet vehicles had two reportable environmental spills that released hydraulic oil to land. Approximately 7 per cent of the nearly 750 liters of oil was recovered and the remaining affected land was removed and disposed of in an approved landfill.
|EN30 Environmental protection expenditures and investments||Please refer to Investment in environment, research and technology indicators in the Numbers section of this report.|