Vattenfall strives to harmonise operational facilities with the landscape and the environment and is committed to protect flora and fauna in the surrounding area during construction activities as well as after commissioning.
This is often a requirement to be granted permits for the operation of power plants and electricity distribution networks by the regulatory authorities. Additionally, in certain areas, we take a considerably greater responsibility for the protection of the surrounding nature than required by law.
Addressing the impact on biodiversity is an integrated part in the development of a certified Environmental Product Declaration (EPD). Within this scope Vattenfall has developed an own methodology called the Biotope Method in order to quantify the impacts on biodiversity. The Biotope Method shows the size of different habitats – Biotopes – used and changed by our operations. The affected area is also related to the benefit that is created by the activity, such as amount of generated electricity.
Hydro power plants have a significant impact on biodiversity in rivers and streams, especially fish spawning grounds and the ability of fish to reach them. For this purpose, fish ladders for salmon and trout have been constructed on some of the regulated rivers where spawning areas exist upstream of the power stations. Every year, Vattenfall plants more than 2 million fish in rivers and streams. Trap and transport of migrating eels to pass hydropower stations is another measure to reduce negative effect on biodiversity.
In Northern Sweden, Vattenfall has established a few protected areas along the Lule River to hinder future exploitation. These areas houses, or have the potential to house, rare species. The protection of these areas implies establishing long-term care plans leading to the preservation or development of environmental values. The areas are regularly inventoried and visitors are allowed access to suitable parts of the areas.
Studies made by Vattenfall show that many endangered species in Sweden have found refuge in land areas immediately beneath overhead transmission lines. Here, the biotope is much like the once common open landscape that was typical when the Swedish countryside still was characterised by small-scale farms. Sections of Vattenfall’s Swedish power line corridors have been declared “Natura 2000” areas. This means these areas represent valuable natural habitats to be preserved with the help and support of the EU, with the aim of protecting biodiversity.
Vattenfall together with two county administrative boards in mid Sweden, have created special maintenance plans for the power line corridors in the Natura 2000 areas. These plans follows the preserving plans for Natura 2000 areas and the Swedish national action plan for preserving the butterfly marsh fritillary.
In Germany, the Vattenfall Europe Umweltstiftung (Envitonmental Foundation) has financed about 130 environmental projects since the start in 1994. The Foundation has an independent board of public representatives. It was founded with the primary objective to support nature conservation projects in those regions in Germany where Vattenfall is active but also to drive environmental education, especially for children and young people.
Read more in the Annual report including Sustainability report
Read the latest report (PDF 6 MB)