Sustainability

Sustainability

Sustainability has a long tradition at Axpo. Its over 100-year history demonstrates that Axpo takes its obligation to meet the criteria of efficiency, ecology, and social responsibility seriously and lives this commitment every day.

The focus of the Axpo sustainability commitment is on all strategic and operative activities and includes the entire value chain. Our goal is to remain the leading energy company in the area of sustainability.

Axpo is committed to the following six sustainability areas and is working to achieve the targets set.

  • Axpo is ensuring long-term corporate success
  • Axpo is improving its climate balance sheet and increasing energy efficiency 
  • Axpo is ensuring sustainability principles for its business partners
  • Axpo is shaping the transformation of the energy system 
  • Axpo is a responsible employer
  • Axpo makes a contribution to society 

Our engagement at a glance

Reliable, sustainable and innovative

Climate protection

In order to consistently implement our sustainability strategy with a clear commitment to climate protection, Axpo conducts a greenhouse gas inventory according to ISO Norm 14064, and has the results certified by an independent authority. The inventory creates transparency on the most important emissions within our company so that we can continuously define improvement targets, as well as reduction and compensation measures.

In recent years, Axpo has achieved a great deal in its efforts to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Switzerland. This trend will continue: We have set a goal to reduce emissions to net 30 000 tons of CO2 equivalents in Switzerland by the year 2017, representing a decrease of 80% as compared to the base year 2008/09. 

Environmental impact of our technologies

Axpo is committed to environmental balance and sustainable climate protection. A life cycle assessment documents the environmental impact of a product or service over its entire life cycle. Axpo systematically reviews all its production tech-nologies with the help of the life cycle assessment method, and presents the results in the form of Environmental Product Declarations according ISO 14025 standard.

Ongoing reduction of environmental impacts is one of the key aspects of our sustainability policy. The reduction of greenhouse gases over the entire production cycle is the primary objective of our efforts.

Energy efficiency

Sustained development requires efficient energy utilisation and efficient production and distribution. It’s clear to us that increasing energy efficiency has a positive effect on the productivity of our company – without making compromises when it comes to quality. We plan to significantly increase our energy efficiency by 2017 – and reduce our electricity consumption by 240 million kWh.

Concrete measures

We see concrete potential to increase efficiency by maintaining our production facilities with the most modern, efficient technology, by reducing energy losses on the distribution grids, as well as the economic use of energy in operating our buildings.

In the area of building efficiency, Axpo focuses on new constructions and renovations at Minergie standard. Numerous buildings at the Baden, Rathausen and Böttstein locations already comply with this standard. In addition, building efficiency is being continually improved through optimised operation. The results can be clearly seen in a reduced consumption pattern and lower emissions.

Nuclear safety

We want the nuclear energy installations we manage to count among the best and safest by international standards. That’s our ambition. Axpo is committed to complying with the nuclear plant safety standards prescribed by the IAEA Safety Convention (International Atomic Energy Agency) and ratified by Switzerland. National and international authorities regularly inspect our installations.

Periodic safety inspections have a high priority here. They serve as the basis for measures to maintain and improve safe operation of the plants. In addition, safety is regularly analysed and rated by the WANO (World Association of Nuclear Operators). The WANO is a worldwide association of nuclear power plant operators with the objective to share knowledge and experience.

Investments in safety

Since its first commissioning, the Beznau nuclear power plant (KKB) has been continually upgraded. All the safety precautions comply with the latest standards. KKB passed the EU stress test with top marks. By the end of 2015, a new, redundant emergency power supply system and a new plant information system will be put into operation during the two long revisions in Block 1 and Block 2. In addition, the covers of both reactor pressure vessels are being replaced as a precaution. All three projects are long-term ventures and taking place under the supervision of the Swiss Federal Nuclear Safety Inspectorate ENSI.

The various modernisation and replacement investments are being undertaken with a view to the long-term operation of KKB. The measures improve availability of the plant and further increase the already high level of safety. With the realisation of these large-scale projects, Axpo has invested over CHF 700 million to improve the safety and reliability of the plant.

Reactor pressure vessel heads

Although there is no immediate need to replace the reactor pressure vessel heads in the two blocks, experience in similar plants indicates that the increasing age of the covers can have a negative impact on plant availability. The investment decision, which Axpo made in 2008, is an entrepreneurial one. The new components will also increase the already high safety level of the plant.

Power supply system

With its commissioning, the new system will provide an addi-tional earthquake and flood-proof emergency power supply and replace the emergency power supply system of the Beznau hydropower plant. Two bunkered buildings, which include aircraft crash protection, house four high-performance diesel engines including auxiliary systems and infrastructure for an autarkic period of seven days at full-load operation.

Plant information system

With the replacement of the existing plant information system, Axpo is ensuring the functioning of this extensive system for further years of operation. The new system uses state-of-the-art hardware and software.