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Sustainability Reporting Initiative

Planet > Land

Implementing innovative solutions to minimize our terrestrial footprint

Though every development project has a footprint, Innergex has a long track record of integrating each hydro, wind and solar renewable energy facility with as little disruption to its surrounding natural environment as possible.

Our hydro facilities occupy a relatively small footprint. Post-construction activities include long-term monitoring programs and land restoration programs that return temporarily disturbed areas back to their original state.

Wind farms can be built on productive or brownfield pieces of land. Though they are typically spread over larger tracts of land, the turbines themselves and related infrastructure (roads and transmission lines, etc.) occupy a small portion of the total area of a wind farm. The surrounding area can still be used for a variety of other productive purposes, including agriculture.

Solar farms are typically sited on low-productive or unused tracts of land and are not commonly shared for other uses. We do have one facility, Spartan, that doubles as the roof of a sizeable outdoor parking lot at Michigan State University, proving that integrating solar into other infrastructure for dual purposes is not only possible, but beneficial.

Land Management

It is important for Innergex to properly site our projects and then responsibly manage the land that hosts our facilities. Baseline surveys and assessments are performed during the development phase to guide project layout in order to optimize future electricity generation while minimizing disruption to existing ecosystems and surrounding land-use. During land clearing, care is taken to minimize the footprint of the clearing and to remove and stockpile topsoil for future use. Post construction, construction areas (laydowns, construction camps, temporary access roads) are remediated to facilitate soil stability, growth of planted vegetation or natural regeneration. We continue to monitor the area throughout operations to ensure that we are not only compliant with our permits but deliver on the expectations of the surrounding communities, our employees, and our shareholders.

Successfully initiated a program to manage vegetation growth at our Phoebe solar facility in Texas with
A FLOCK OF 55-77 SHEEP
throughout
1,395 ACRES
of the facility

Innergex’s hydroelectric projects, by definition, are closely associated with natural waters of rivers and streams upon which the projects are situated. To avoid possible contamination, many Innergex facilities have adopted use of bio-degradable, non-toxic, synthetic lubricants (non-petroleum based) in turbine and hydraulic systems where an elevated risk of leaks and a pathway to release exists. Innergex continues to evaluate adoption of bio-degradable fluids where environmental risk exists.

Environmental Incidents

2020 2019 2018
Number of significant spills >1 L1 31 20 16
Sulphur hexafluoride (kg) 0 61.63 0
Methane (kg) 0 0.54 0
NOx 0
SOx 0
Particulate matter (PM10) 0
Lead (Pb) 0
Mercury (Hg) 0

1. All spills are cleaned up immediately and any affected soils were disposed of properly in accordance with provincial, state, or federal regulations.
Note: Excludes operations in France and Chile.

In 2020, Innergex recorded 31 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.

The Corporation received zero fines in 2020 for non-compliance in environmental matters.

Our Spill Management Procedure in British Columbia is designed to improve response and align with provincial regulations. Work continues on formalizing similar procedures in other areas of operation in line with provincial, state and federal requirements.

Restoration

Innergex, is keenly aware that developing renewable energy projects has impacts on the landscapes where they are constructed and operated. Our priority is to ensure that our footprint is mitigated or minimized and that renewable energy facilities can be integrated as harmoniously as possible into the surrounding environment. During the planning stage of a project, the team at Innergex strives to locate facilities as near to existing transportation and transmission lines as possible, which not only allows for minimal land use impact, but is more economically efficient.

Every effort is made to return the temporarily disturbed land to its original state upon project completion and significant investments in long-term monitoring programs to evaluate the progress of the restoration programs put in place are made.

Replanting native vegetation, repairing riparian zones, and earthworks projects are important areas of focus that play a role in returning the temporarily disturbed land back to its original state during the post-construction phase. These activities are commonly monitored and approved by independent third-party professionals.