Integration with the environment

Our main environmental effects are related to the territory and the landscape through which electricity lines pass.

Routes of the lines

For this, we have made a significant effort regarding the study of the territory and on coordination with key interested parties in order to define and agree on the locations of substations and the routes of the lines so that these effects are minimised.

Additionally, thanks to the implementation of preventive and corrective measures and strict monitoring of environmental criteria in the construction and maintenance works, the potential effects are reduced and the resulting impacts are compatible or insignificant.

To carry out continuous improvement of environmental performance and processes, annually Red Eléctrica defines an environmental programme in which the various objectives derived from the different strategies of the Company are established and specific work actions are defined.

Public participation

Currently, one of the most relevant issues in relation to the integration of facilities into the environment is how to improve their social acceptance. The development of public participation processes is a key tool for this.

During 2017, Red Eléctrica worked on the public participation and consultation process for the submarine interconnection project with France across the Biscay Gulf as, given its status as a Project of Community Interest (PCI), it requires this type of procedure. In addition, the Company is strengthening stakeholder management by establishing plans for public participation and consultation processes for other projects.

Environmental criteria in all phases of grid development
Infrastructure proposal
(Drawn up by REE)

Red Eléctrica draws up an infrastructure proposal to include in the planning of the transmission grid.

  • Environmental feasibility study: analysis of all proposals from an environmental standpoint.
  • This does not include projects that are not environmentally viable.
Transmission grid planning
(Drawn up by MINETUR, Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism.)

Strategic environmental assessment of plans and programmes.

Public participation of stakeholder groups (SGs) through the submission of comments or arguments.

Red Eléctrica collaborates with MINEtUR in developing the assessment procedure. EU19.

Project desing
(New facilities and modifications)

Prior dialogue with stakeholders before defining the project (Autonomous Communities, local councils and NGOs).

Environmental Impact Assessment

  1. Prior consultation with SGs.
  2. Defining the alternative of least impact.
  3. Public information. Submission of arguments by SGs.
  4. Proposal for preventive and corrective measures.
  5. Publication of results. Environmental authorisation.
Construction of facilities

Environmental monitoring (monitoring of preventive and corrective measures).

Monitoring the work of contractors regarding compliance with environmental requirements.

Environmental certification of works taking into account compliance with environmental requirements.

Maintenance phase

Environmental monitoring programmes in the initial years of operation of a facility.

Periodic inspections of facilities to verify compliance with standards and identify improvement actions.

Application of environmental improvement measures.

Biodiversity protection
Biodiversity conservation has always been a basic principle within our environmental policy and corporate business strategy.
Reduction of visual impact

In order to reduce to the maximum the visual impact of lines and substations, Red Eléctrica puts in place various measures, of which the following are noteworthy:

  • Locating of facilities far from the population nuclei and zones of high landscape value.
  • Design of the routes to pass through flatter areas.
  • Restoration of affected areas.
  • Landscaped integration of substations.
Minimisation of impacts on the socioeconomic aspect
  • Reducing the opening of new access roads.
  • Agreement with landowners regarding the best location for electricity towers.
  • Over-elevation of towers to prevent effects on economic activities.
  • Use of boom cranes and helicopters for construction works regarding electricity lines.
  • Restoration of areas affected by works.
Protection of the archaeological-ethnological heritage
  • Performing archaeological surveys prior to the commencement of works.
  • Continued presence of an archaeologist in the earthmoving phase when the results of the survey deem it necessary.
  • ‘ARQUEORED’ project, which aims to provide digital mapping of catalogued heritage for its consultation prior to the planning of works.
Noise from our facilities
  • Noise pollution coming from electricity lines can only be heard in the immediate vicinity of lines with very high voltage. It is usually of low intensity and increases slightly in high humidity situations.
  • Sound pressure levels in substations are higher in the immediate surroundings, therefore these facilities are located away from inhabited areas.
Electromagnetic fields
Despite the fact that the international scientific community now agrees that exposure to industrial-frequency electric and magnetic fields generated by high-voltage electricity installations does not represent a risk for public health, in Red Eléctrica we work tirelessly on this subject from different perspectives

More information on "Electric and magnetic fields"