AES has established an Environmental Management System (EMS), a series of environmental standards based on industry best practices, which set environmental performance requirements for each AES business worldwide.
View AES’ environmental policy.
The EMS framework requires continuous environmental performance monitoring, environmental risk assessments and periodic integrated environmental, health and safety audits. The EMS framework helps AES ensure that businesses achieve environmental compliance, address significant environmental impacts and strive for continuous performance improvement. Key environmental metrics including air pollutant emissions, environmental non-conformance events and EMS performance parameters are reported to senior management on a set schedule.
Certification and Standards
Many AES businesses have elected to formally certify their Environmental Management System (EMS) to the ISO 14001 international standard. Approximately 50 percent of AES businesses with an EMS framework have formally certified, or are certifying, their programs. More than 75 percent of the AES workforce is located in businesses that operate, or may soon operate, under a certified ISO 14001 EMS.
Compliance with AES' EMS framework is verified internally under the AES integrated Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) audit program. Each audit finding is accompanied by a corrective action plan and an agreed-upon completion date.
For more information about AES' Environmental Risk Management and Metrics, please see Governance and Risk Management - Environmental Risk Management.
Environmental Solutions Highlights
AES businesses take every opportunity to identify and continuously improve beneficial uses for coal combustion byproducts (CCB), to recycle used oil and to engage in water conservation activities wherever practical.
AES beneficially reuses approximately 28 percent of the 4.3 million short tons of CCB it generates every year.
We recycle approximately 48 percent of the 1.2 million gallons of used oil generated every year.
AES fossil fuel facilities report sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx) and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions on a monthly basis.
Annual Emission Rates
The data below represents AES's CO2, SO2, NOx, and mercury emissions resulting from our major fuel combustion units on an equity adjusted basis. From 2008 through 2011 we realized a general downward trend in emissions. In 2012, while SO2 emissions continued to decrease, CO2 emissions increased due primarily to the addition of Dayton Power and Light (DPL) coal facilities to the AES generation portfolio. The addition of DP&L assets represent a 2,830 MW increase in coal generation capacity on an equity owned basis.
We have been able to reduce SO2 emissions by managing our fuel diversity and employing better emission controls and scrubbers. The annual quantities of NOx emissions have been more volatile and dependent on the dispatch by fuel type and NOx emission controls available.
CO2 Emission Intensity
For the first time in six years, AES experienced an increase in CO2 emission intensity. This was primarily due to the November 2011 addition of Dayton Power and Light (DPL) coal fired facilities to the AES generation portfolio, which represented a 2,830 MW increase in coal generation capacity on an equity owned basis, and to the full year’s production at our Maritza (vs 7 months in 2011) and Angamos (both generation units on-line throughout the entire year) coal fired facilities. Prior to 2012, AES' CO2 emissions from its thermal power generation plants had decreased in each of the previous five years as a result of using a mix of fuels with lower carbon emissions potential, and improving average operating efficiency across our full fleet of thermal plants.
AES' CO2 emission intensity metrics are in part the result of economic and other factors, including an increased or decreased reliance on renewable energy in our generation mix. In 2012 production from renewable sources continued our upward trend to nearly 15% of our overall generation portfolio. This was due in large part to increases in solar generation from 30.4 GWh in 2010 to 86.2 GWh in 2011 and to 158.7 GWh in 2012 on an equity basis.
We utilize new technologies in the areas of fuel and waste, and we have made investments in complementary innovative technologies to control emissions and minimize water consumption.