Sustainability Reporting Initiative
Committed to sustainable development in all our activities.
Our vision is to generate renewable energy for a greener future. Sustainable Development at Innergex means that what we do matters as much as how we do it. We respect the social and economic value of our ecosystems and remain committed to integrating sustainable development considerations into all aspects of our business, encourage our employees to do the same in performing their work, and promote sustainable development practices among our partners and service providers. Innergex recognizes that our renewable energy projects must be constructed and operated in a way that mitigates and/or compensates for the impacts on the surrounding environment.
Our Sustainable Development Policy lays out our commitment to developing strategies that recognize the importance of the ecosystems within which we work and identify the risks and the potential impacts that our facilities could have on biodiversity, endangered species, waterbodies and other habitats. We work with Non-Governmental Organizations (“NGOs”) and both public and private stakeholders to ensure the restoration of temporarily disturbed areas and the protection of habitat and species at our operational sites.
We are proud of the project successes we have achieved while upholding strict environmental standards through rigorous assessment, monitoring, commitment-tracking, and compliance practices. In addition, we strive to continually improve the performance and monitoring of our activities. For more information about our environmental expenditures, see the Financial and Operational Effects of Environmental Protection Requirements section of the Annual Information Form.
The Corporation has an environment team consisting of employees with specialized skills and knowledge, and have designed and implemented procedures that involve long-term environmental monitoring programs, reporting, and the development and execution of emergency action plans as related to environmental matters.
Innergex complies with national, provincial and local environmental regulations for each of its renewable energy projects and continuously analyzes and evaluates the impacts of its activities on the environment in order to, where possible, improve its procedures and the outcomes.
Our goal is to produce electricity from renewable sources that have no significant GHG emissions and contribute to reducing CO2 emissions to fight climate change. We are proud that the energy we generate contributes to offsetting CO2 emissions from other sources.
The annual GHG emissions offset by Innergex’s production of clean, renewable energy in 2019 was approximately 5,671,704 metric tonnes of CO2 avoided, or the equivalent of removing 1,225,335 gasoline passenger vehicles driven for one year1
¹ Based on Innergex’s 2019 Production Proportionate of 8,021,758 MWh, and calculated through https://www.epa.gov/energy/greenhouse-gas-equivalencies-calculator
Fish and Wildlife Monitoring Programs
Innergex takes great care in ensuring our impact on terrestrial and aquatic life is mitigated, minimized or avoided at all times. We invest in considerable short and long-term monitoring programs that run during the early development stage (with pre-project baseline surveys) right through the operational phase. Before and after data are compared to confirm predictions made during project permitting.
Much of the monitoring is carried out by independent third-party specialist environmental consultants with involvement by our Indigenous partners. For some projects, we have partnered with NGOs or academia by providing the necessary capital and support to conduct multi-year, academic-level monitoring programs. Monitoring results contribute new data and knowledge and have provided valuable research insight in some instances that has greatly added to the industry’s understanding of the environmental issues associated with renewable energy development.
The type of facility, its geographic location, social acceptance and regional regulatory requirements are all considerations taken into account when designing a monitoring program. For example, at our hydroelectric facilities, the programs typically focus on aquatic and terrestrial life, while at a wind farm the focus is on terrestrial and avian species, including birds and bats. In British Columbia, we recognize that mountain ecosystems differ in biodiversity from the more grassland environment of Texas. We understand that every location is unique and requires its own planning and attention.
Our environment team manages the ecological health of 329,366 m2, or 61 football fields, of fish habitat created to offset temporary impacts from construction activities and any longer-term impacts that could arise during operation
Capturing the natural movement of nature’s resources (water, wind, sunlight) to generate energy demands a commitment to ensure that the construction and operation of facilities harnessing those resources is conducted in harmony with the host environments.
Our approach, laid out in our Sustainable Development Policy, describes the strategies to prevent, mitigate or minimize the effect our facilities could have on local biodiversity. We also consider remediation and restoration as a part of this strategy for not only the land we build on, but adjacent and protected areas.
Our pre-construction, construction and operation phase monitoring programs ensure we can reduce the risks of impacts on the environment including identifying potential species at risk, invasive species, potentially-affected species or the extent and duration of potential impact, to name just a few.
As our projects are located in remote areas, consideration of wildlife plays an important role in the planning, construction and operation phases of our projects. We have a successful record of partnering with government, Non-Governmental Organizations (“NGOs”), conservation groups, academia and local organizations to design and conduct solutions to mitigate human-wildlife interaction and disturbance to important wildlife ecosystems.
Environmental Risk Management
Innergex maintains an environmental management system that applies to each of its operating renewable energy facilities. This system consists of a combination of standard procedures (management and prevention of environmental spills, waste management, etc.) as well as procedures that are unique to each facility and jurisdiction in which we operate. Innergex’s approach is to view each facility as a stand-alone with specific environmental requirements that derive from permits and approvals pertinent to each facility. This may include, for example, procedures for water use and compliance, fish protection, or road usage at each hydro facility, and procedures for protection of birds, bats and other wildlife, as well as vegetation at our wind facilities. These procedures are overseen by an in-house environmental team, supported by independent specialist contractors and site operations staff that are trained to adhere and perform their tasks within these site-specific requirements.
Our Corporate Emergency Response Plan identifies potential environmental, health and safety emergencies and includes appropriate actions to respond to such situations. This plan, as well as the Site-Specific Safety Plan, are available at each facility and in each Innergex office as well as on the Corporation’s intranet network. Our Operations, Health and Safety team works diligently to ensure the health and safety of all our employees through education, training, monitoring and one-on-site visits.
As part of our disclosures, in 2019, we recorded 20 significant (those greater than 1 L in volume) spills at operational facilities. These spills were immediately and properly cleaned up and any affected soils were disposed of properly in accordance with regulations. Four of the spills were reported to regulatory bodies as required under the conditions of permits. The Corporation received zero fines in 2019 for non-compliance in environmental matters.
Our Spill Management Procedure in British Columbia is designed to improve our response and align with provincial regulations. We are presently formalizing similar procedures in our other areas of operation in line with provincial, state and federal requirements.
Innergex promotes recycling and reuse throughout the organization. We have different systems in place to address the specifics at each of our operating sites as they vary from urban office environments to the remote backcountry.
During construction, our Engineering, Procurement, and Construction contractors are required to provide waste management plans that include proper recycling or disposal of waste that follow local, regional and federal regulations as well as our procedures laid out in our internal waste management guidelines
Though our facilities do not generate waste associated with their operation, we nonetheless have protocols in place to deal with typical waste generation. Operators at our facilities, mostly in remote locations, sort waste from our facilities to be sent to recycling facilities or disposal depending on the geographic location and availability of services in that jurisdiction.
Our office staff also plays a role in reducing our footprint. All of our offices have recycling available and some have broader options than others. Internal programs help communicate recycling and waste reduction initiatives such as our central recycling station that was implemented in 2019 in our Vancouver office. In an effort to reduce disposables in 2019, Innergex provided every office employee with a reusable glass lunch container to transport food items.
In 2019, we successfully
phased out plastic water bottles provided to employees
at all our offices and replaced them with bottle less coolers that provide filtered carbonated and non-carbonated water
Green buildings offer healthy work environments and promote responsible consumption. We are happy that our head office is housed in a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified building in Longueuil, Quebec. The office occupies one and a third floors in a GOLD certified LEED building registered with the Canada Green Building Council. LEED-certified buildings produce less waste products and are more energy efficient than other buildings. Furthermore, our head office as well as our office in Vancouver are powered mainly from renewable energy sources, 99.8% and 98.4% respectively.1
¹ Government of Canada, National Energy Board statistics 2017.
Innergex’s policies are designed to guide the Corporation and its employees to ensure compliance in all aspects of its business. These policies ensure the sustainable growth of the Corporation through supporting employees with information-sharing and training, providing transparency with shareholders and the public, and clearly laying out the Corporation’s vision for ethical and acceptable behaviour. The policies are reviewed on an annual basis and updated accordingly. Policies related to this section include: