Respecting the environment

ERDF manages 1.2 million kilometres of power lines, most of which are overhead lines. The company is environmentally aware and places great importance on improving the integration of electricity installations into the landscape, protecting biodiversity, eliminating potentially toxic elements, and putting its waste products to good use.

Managing the impact on the landscape

As a countrywide network, installations must be integrated into the landscape without changing or damaging it. ERDF has made the decision to bury all new power lines. As such, in 2011 :

  • 98 % of new high voltage lines (HTA - 20,000V) were buried,
  • 75 % of new low voltage lines (240 and 400V) were buried or concealed.

In addition, ERDF works alongside local communities who wish to conceal distribution installations in their local area. At their request, or at the request of the French Government, the company takes on a major share of the works.

Preserving biodiversity

Power lines are dangerous for birds with large wingspans. In order to protect them, ERDF is mapping the installations that are dangerous for these kinds of birds, in partnership with associations.

With its local partners and wildlife and environmental protection organisations, ERDF is implementing technical measures to reduce the risk of electrocution for birds with large wingspans (support or line equipment, power line burying or reinforcement plans, etc.)

As a member of the Avifauna National Committee (CNA) of France, ERDF also acts on a local level with associations. In 2009, these actions contributed to the preservation of storks in the Vendée region of France, and of several birds of prey in the Gorges du Verdon area.

ERDF has also worked with the League for the Protection of Birdlife (LPO) for more than 10 years. In November 2010, the company extended this partnership through its support of the “LPO Refuge” programme. The goal: contribute to protecting local species and natural spaces, and raise public awareness of everyday actions that can protect biodiversity.

Eliminating toxic elements

In compliance with regulations, ERDF finished its programme for eliminating transformers containing polychlorobiphenyls (PCB) at the end of 2010. PCBs are chemical by-products used to cool electric equipment. They were used by industrial companies in transformers due to their flame-resistance and their electrical isolation attributes.

Using a sampling technique, ERDF checked each of the 450,000 transformers in question. Those that show a rate higher than allowed by regulations were cleaned of pollutants or replaced by transformers using mineral oil. A large-scale operation lasting 3 years generated 450 full-time jobs per year from 2008 to 2010.

Putting waste to good use

As the distribution network undergoes renovation, a significant amount of waste is produced. In order to limit its ecological impact, ERDF commits to only using regulated reprocessing procedures. Of the 27,600 tonnes of waste generated in 2010, over half was either recycled or reused as energy.

Recycling concrete posts

Every year, ERDF recycles 70,000 concrete posts. These are first cut up and then crushed. The ironwork is subsequently separated from the crushed concrete. The former is smelted while the latter is used as filler in public works.