When developing a new project, REN’s multidisciplinary teams carry out extensive studies to assess the environmental consequences, with the goal of identifying, describing, and evaluating strategic options and biophysical, social, and economic concerns from an environmental and sustainability point of view. These studies will then be complemented and confirmed by the necessary environmental assessments to make the projects viable.
REN is one of the companies that most contributes to the protection and recovery of the indigenous forest in Portugal. With 66% of our easement corridors in forest areas, the installation and maintenance of power lines integrated in these areas take on special relevance, requiring permanent care.
The accumulation of fuels, lack of adaptation of the species to the season, climate change, and monoculture are factors that increase the risk of fire. For these reasons, REN develops actions seeking to mitigate these occurrences and to promote the defence of the forest against fires.
REN has the equivalent of more than 31,000 football pitches in easement corridors.
REN is responsible for the management and cleaning of an area of around 22 000 ha (forest area). In 2022, vegetation management was carried out in a total of 7,206 ha, of which 6,324 ha in easement corridors and 882 ha in own properties of concessions.
In 2022, a total of 231,700 trees were planted, in an area of approximately 278 hectares, with the strawberry tree standing out as one of the most planted species, with an area of 240 hectares (86%).
REN uses different environmental assessment instruments and processes according to the different phases of its activity: planning, design and construction, operation, maintenance and decommissioning.
We are proud to be one of the main national promoters of environmental impact studies and we have developed numerous partnerships with NGOs, public entities and local communities in order to preserve the environment and biodiversity.
The Strategic Environmental Assessment is a recent environmental policy instrument designed to ensure an assessment of the environmental consequences of certain plans and programmes and their prior adoption.
This instrument is applied to public plans and programs whose implementation may include projects likely to have significant effects on the environment, namely those subject to Environmental Impact Assessment or in areas protected for their interest in the conservation of biodiversity.
Over the last decade, REN has been subjecting its Investment and Development Plans for the National Transmission Grid (RNT) and National Natural Gas Transport Network (RNTGN) to Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA).
The Environmental impact assessment (EIA) is an assessment tool applicable to some of the projects of public utility infrastructures that REN is promoter. The EIA comprises various stages:
Given the specific nature of the sector, in 2008 REN produced methodology manual for the EIA of the National Electricity Transmission Grid - Overhead Lines. This manual was produced in partnership with the Agência Portuguesa do Ambiente and the Associação Portuguesa de Avaliação de Impactes and constitutes a key document for preparing environmental impact studies of this type of infrastructure and respective EIA processes. Different entities involved in the EIA process participated in this working group, in particular the Instituto Português de Arqueologia, the Instituto de Conservação da Natureza e de Biodiversidade and the Coordination and Regional Development Commissions.
In addition, in order to harmonise the procedures and methodologies associated with EIA processes, in 2011 REN published another methodology manual to assess the environmental impact of substations.
REN is an active agent in energy transition and environmental protection, developing electricity and gas infrastructures to ensure gradual decarbonisation of both sectors.
REN has been decarbonising its own operations through multiple initiatives:
REN’s reduction of methane emissions was honoured with the “Gold Standard” award of the Oil and Gas Methane Partnership, which is an initiative spearheaded by UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme), in partnership with the European Commission, the UK Government, the Environmental Defence Fund, and major Oil and Gas companies.
The Oil and Gas Methane Partnership seeks to reduce methane emissions and supports the creation of a monitoring, reporting, and verification system to more accurately detect and quantify emissions by the industry’s operators.
By requiring companies to report their emissions from all asset sources along the value chain, annual reporting under this initiative is the most demanding internationally.