Renewable power plants require large amounts of resources to be built. With power purchase agreements (PPAs) lasting up to 25 years, plants must be designed and operated with consideration to long-term performance and eventual decommissioning.
Scatec is committed to being a responsible business by considering our projects’ long-term performance and end-of-life decommissioning, aiming to minimise potential negative impacts upon society and the environment, as well as maximise economic value. As most of our greenhouse gas and resource footprint is related to the components our plants are built with, it is essential that we make informed decisions to reduce this impact where possible.See more
Renewable power plants require large amounts of resources to be built. Solar power plants require mining and processing of quartz to make glass and silicon wafers, iron to make steel for the mounts and metals such as copper and silver for wiring. Wind power plants require steel for turbine towers, fossil-based polymers for the blades and rare earth metals for generator magnets. Hydropower plants can require large amounts of steel and concrete to build dams and piping.
With Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) lasting up to 25 years, plants must be designed and operated with consideration to long-term performance and eventual decommissioning.
GRI 306-1: Waste generation and significant waste-related impacts
Waste volumes and types generated varies by renewable technologies. For solar and wind projects most waste is generated upstream during extraction and processing of raw materials to create wind turbines and solar panels. These relate to tailing and other waste from mining and processing of key inputs such as iron ore to make steel or quartz for glass and silicon. Solar module manufacture involves a variety of chemicals such as acids that must be carefully disposed of, in addition to the generation of large volumes of wastewater.
Relatively little waste is generated during the operation of solar and wind projects. Hydropower projects can generate large volumes of silt during operations. This can however be a resource when applied to other areas such as farms to increase soil quality.
At project end-of-life, large volumes of component waste are generated, and we are currently working to develop a strategy for end of life for all our projects. None of Scatec’s projects have reached end of life yet, and the timeline for the first projects to reach this stage is until about 10 years.
GRI 306-2: Management of significant waste-related impacts
Our overall approach to waste management is detailed in our Environmental Policy and Project Lifecycle Management & End of Life Guide. The documents were prepared in accordance with relevant standards such as the Equator Principles and IFC Performance Standards to communicate expected standards across our organisation.
We follow the waste hierarchy for waste management; we work to first prevent waste being generated then minimize, reuse, recycle, recover energy, and then dispose of waste responsibly working to avoid landfill as far as practically possible. We are normally dependent on local waste management infrastructure and since we operate in many developing countries, recycling rates may be lower than desirable.
We develop plans for hazardous substance and waste management for construction and operations of all projects. All Scatec operated sites must have a waste management procedure in place based on Scatec’s corporate guidelines and requirements. This includes measuring waste volumes and obtaining waste receipts from waste contractors who must be suitably certified when handling hazardous waste. Contractors are reviewed by the site manager and /or HSSE responsible, and if necessary regional environmental managers. Management of our contractors and ensuring that waste is disposed as agreed upon, is detailed in our Environmental and Social Management System (ESMS) as well as the contracts with our third parties. Site waste management is reviewed intermittently through internal audits and external ISO 14001 compliance audits.
Construction and operations waste data is collected internally by Scatec’s Operations and Maintenance (O&M) teams based on each project site.
We take a circular, cradle to cradle approach, and every project will develop a plan for end of life and decommissioning. At end of life, we will make sure that all major components such as solar panels and turbine blades are reused or recycled.
We engage with key component suppliers on their use of raw materials and handling of waste and set minimum requirements for environmental management during procurement processes.
GRI 306-3: Waste generated
Scatec reports on non-hazardous (such as paper, plastic and metal) and hazardous (such as oil contaminated materials, concrete and sewage) waste generated at our project sites. We aim to recycle all waste where possible and hazardous waste incinerated or landfilled is treated aligned to internationally recognised standards. In 2022, the total weight and volume of waste generated in our operations amounted to 40.7 tonnes and 0.7 mill litres.
|Key performance indicator||Unit||Actual 2022||Actual 2021||Actual 2020|
|Total waste generated|
|Hazardous waste||mill litres||0.7||N/A||N/A|
|Waste to landfill||tonnes||13.9||N/A||N/A|
|Recycled waste (solid)||tonnes||16.5||N/A||N/A|
Solar modules can be damaged due to lightning, wind, accidents, or quality errors. During 2022, our dedicated cross-functional working group explored the status of solar module management in all relevant projects. We remain focused on sharing best practices on repairment across our project sites and continue our work of identifying and assessing panel waste management solutions for all sites. In 2023, we will pilot a solution for solar module management and recycling in two to three projects.