The use of fossil fuels for energy production accounts for a quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions. Enel’s industrial activities in the production of electricity contribute to the emission of carbon dioxide (CO2) mainly deriving from production from thermal sources, and, more marginally, from sulfur hexafluoride losses (SF6) mainly from the distribution network.
In 2017, direct emissions of CO2 equivalent (Scope 1)1 amounted to 105.5 million tons. The slight decrease compared to 2016 is due to lower thermal production in 2017 compared to the previous year (-0.5%) and, as part of this, to a different production mix compared to the previous year, with an increase in production from combined cycles and a decrease in production from coal and oil & gas plants.
The SF6 is used in high- and medium- voltage electrical equipment for its insulating and electric arc extinguishing properties and is, as of yet, irreplaceable in these applications. The quantities released into the atmosphere in 2017 amounted to 6,362 kg, equivalent to 150 thousand tons of CO2 equivalent2. In percentage terms, SF6 contributes 0.14% of the Group Scope 1 emissions, i.e. an extremely small quantity.
Under Scope 1, Enel also considers the emission of ozone-depleting substances according to the Montreal Protocol, including for example chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs). Emissions of these substances in 2017 corresponded to 29 thousand tons of CO2 equivalent3.
The Scope 2 emissions (388 thousand tons of CO2 equivalent) refer to indirect emissions deriving from the generation of electricity purchased and used by the Company. Scope 2 includes CO2 emissions associated with the consumption of electricity purchased in the network for civil uses (in offices, for example) and for pumping in hydroelectric plants. Since 2016, all electricity supplies for Italian production sites and offices are from renewable sources.
In 2017, Scope 2 emissions decreased by about 33% compared to the previous year (583 thousand tons of CO2 equivalent) in relation to lower hydroelectric activity in Europe due to lower water availability.
Scope 3 emissions are generated as a result of the Company’s activities and are not derived from sources controlled or owned by the Company itself. For Enel, this value is mainly linked to fugitive emissions of methane from coal mines in the extraction phase and to emissions from the transport of fuels used for the operation of its plants. 2017 shows a value of about 7.1 million tons of CO2 equivalent, down about 2% compared to 2016 (7.2 million tons of CO2 equivalent) mainly due to the decrease in coal thermal activity.
1 The Scope 1 emissions for 2015 also take into account fugitive emissions of methane (CH4) related to the extraction of coal from its own mines, no longer active today. CO2 emissions from thermal production do not take into account the emissions not related to managed production.
2 Global Warming Potential equal to 23,500.
3 The value obtained is calculated by converting the tons of each individual gas detected (CFC, HCFC, R22 and freon) by applying the value of the reference average Global Warming Potential of the gas families (source: IPCC, WG1AR5_ Chapter08).