Energy and Process Efficiency

21.1%

Reduction in SO2 emissions relative to the prior year1

9.2%

Reduction in NOx emissions relative to the prior year1

~ €100,000

Possible savings per year through paperless invoices and salary statements

21.2%

Reduction in dust emissions relative to the prior year1 (particles with a maximum diameter of 10 microns)

37.5

Average hours of training per full-time employee

Certification

of the Uniper Operational Excellence Program

Getting Better Every Day

The energy business is dynamic and demanding. So is our work. We need dedicated employees, lean processes, and highly efficient assets to meet the various market-related and regulatory challenges we face. This includes implementing the EU Energy Efficiency Directive (EED) 2012/27/EU governing end-consumption energy efficiency and energy services. We view the spinoff from E.ON as a great opportunity to give ourselves the best possible setup. And we pursue operational excellence at all levels of our company.

We aim to deliver a superior performance wherever we operate. We optimize our assets and systems to maintain high operational standards. At the same time, we plan early and empower our people to develop pragmatic solutions that continually improve our work processes. We do all of this the Uniper Way, our corporate identity, which describes our philosophy regarding the interplay between leadership, team work, and each individual’s contribution. It motivates us to give our best every day. 

Updating our environmental management systems

A conscientious approach to water, waste, and energy is important for us. Our performance in this area not only affects our operating efficiency and market position. It also influences the public’s perception and acceptance of our company. Building on E.ON initiatives, we therefore designed country-specific plans for Uniper to update or introduce energy and environmental management systems across our company. The Environmental Management Systems at most of our operating facilities have been certified to comply with the international ISO 14001 norm for many years. We plan to progressively adopt the updated version of this norm released in 2015. In 2016 we also began the progressive certification of the energy and environmental management systems of our conventional power plants in Germany to compliance with the ISO 14001 norm for Environmental Management Systems, alongside the already existing certification of energy management to ISO 50001. In the future, this will enable us to harmonize and optimize our performance and monitoring in these areas, which will help us further reduce our adverse environmental impacts. 

Coverage of Environmental Management Systems (ISO 14001)

%

France

100

Germany

83

Hungary

100

Netherlands

100

Russia

100

Sweden

100

United Kingdom

100

The table includes only consolidated assets. It does not include assets in Belgium (Langerlo, which was sold in January 2016, and Vilvoorde, which is in strategic reserve and not operational), decommissioned plants, or administrative offices. The certification of Ironbridge power station in Britain was not renewed due to the plant’s closure.

 

Optimizing assets, reducing emissions

Our conventional power stations play an important role in ensuring supply security. With an average age of 31 years, they’re relatively new and in good technical condition. But there’s still a lot of room for improvement. Above all we want to further reduce their emissions.

Sulfur dioxide (SO2) results primarily from the combustion of sulfurous coal. Flue-gas desulfurization equipment captures 90 percent of our SO2 emissions and prevents them from entering the atmosphere. We emitted 22 kilotons (kt) of SO2 in 2016, just under 6 kt less than in 2015, mainly because our coal-fired power stations generated less power (mainly in the United Kingdom and Russia).

Most nitrous oxides (NOx) are produced from the reaction between nitrogen and oxygen during combustion at high temperatures. For example, our gas- and coal-fired power stations emit NOx. Our power stations in Russia are responsible for most of our NOx emissions. In 2016 these emissions declined by about 7 kt year on year to 67 kt, likewise mainly because our coal-fired power stations generated less power.

Despite being equipped with extensive filters, coal-fired power stations emit dust. Our dust (or particulate) emissions in 2016 declined significantly year on year, from about to 2.5 kt to 2 kt. Particles with a diameter of at most 10 microns are classified as dust. We’re planning to test new tools for gathering data on our emissions of particles, including those with a diameter of less than 0.1 microns, in 2017.

We implemented several projects during the reporting period to make our assets more flexible and efficient.

Country

Project

Type of improvement

United Kingdom

CDC: service package 7

Cottam Development Center (CDC), a combined-cycle gas turbine, received a new and technologically advanced gas turbine. This—along with a new rotor blade configuration, a new burner, fuel preheating, and other technical improvements—increased CDC’s efficiency by 2.8% and its capacity by 40 MW.

Netherlands

MPP3: co-firing infrastructure

Unit 3 of Maasvlakte power station (MPP3) entered service in 2015 and is one of the world’s most technologically advanced coal-fired generating units. It alone can meet 7% of the Netherlands’ electricity needs. In 2016 it was reconfigured to co-fire up to 15% biomass, rendering a portion of its output climate-neutral.

Russia

Service package 8

Enhancing efficiency and performance.

 The Uniper Way

The Uniper Way describes how we want to work together at our company. It has three dimensions:

  • Leadership: grow and empower people
  • Teamwork: become one and simplify
  • Your individual contribution: act as it was your own company.

HR facilitates the implementation of the Uniper Way by embedding it into our leadership and HR tools and putting a clear emphasis on its application in our day-to-day collaboration. One example is the “Voice of Uniper” employee survey, which we conducted in 2016. We wanted our people to tell us where we stand in making the Uniper Way a reality and how they assess the transformation of our organization following the spinoff from E.ON.

About 4,000 employees took the voluntary survey. Their feedback was clear: restructuring our organization is crucial. At the same time, many said that they feel empowered to speak up when they have a new idea and to try new approaches, which is exactly what we need in order to be an innovative company. But many also wished they had more and better information about our strategic plans. We intend to put the insights from the survey into practice and to conduct another survey to gauge our progress.

Our program for high-potential university graduates is another aspect of the Uniper Way. The 18-month program, in which participants rotate between several departments at our company, is individually tailored to their interests. Many participants are interested in sustainability and contribute their fresh ideas to our change process. In 2016 they could choose between three projects with a sustainability component: promoting sustainable procurement, improving digital stakeholder and local-resident relations, and enhancing water efficiency.

Story: Generational Change

Embracing change, developing our organization

Our organizational setup is a key lever for change. That’s why improvements begin in the workplace. We not only want to maintain our level of performance but also to continually improve it. We use restructuring to tap synergies between different parts of our company and to eliminate a silo mentality.

When Uniper was created at the start of 2016, changes were made in many teams: new colleagues and new systems, open work cultures and surroundings. This also applied to the Operational Excellence (OE) department under the leadership of our Chief Operating Officer, Eckhardt Rümmler, who is also our Chief Sustainability Officer.

In April 2016 the OE team began to update our OE training system to a level of quality that would enable it to obtain independent certification. This would give us the assurance that our OE training system is relevant, well structured, and effective. We achieved our objective: in 2017 our OE training system was certified by the Lean Competency System of Cardiff University to represent the best practices in organizational development.

The certification is a very important step for Uniper. It underscores our commitment of a continuous operational excellence approach, which is the basis for a consistently strong performance. Certification is a seal of approval, enabling us to appropriately recognize our employees who successfully complete the training.

Eckhardt Rümmler Chief Operating Officer (COO)

In 2016 we implemented an important OE project at Grain, a combined-cycle gas turbine located on the southeast coast of England. The plant’s employees played a pivotal role in the improvement process. To permanently enhance Grain’s performance, we reviewed and, where necessary, adjusted all operating processes, management systems, thought patterns, and behaviors. The four main objectives were to put in place a new performance management system, improve the management structure, revamp the maintenance strategy, and encourage employees to participate in making further changes.

Voice of the customer

We’re also developing ways to further improve our customer relations. Satisfied customers are crucial to our business success. We need to understand how our customers think and have a clear idea of how we can meet their expectations. We also need to measure our success effectively.

Of the many ways to learn things about our customers, we’ve chosen the most direct: we ask them. In 2016, our Asset Management team started conducting personal interviewing with its customers to find out about their expectations for the future, what they see as our strengths, and where we could improve. The findings will guide our priorities from 2017 onward. The interviews are supplemented by a short online survey of Asset Management’s customers developed by the OE department.


1Comparisons are based on data provided in the E.ON Sustainability Report 2015.
2Figures only include fully consolidated thermal power stations.

Assured Content

Selected figures were independently audited and are identified by the “audited” check symbol   .
Qualitative content related to the Management Approach was also part of the assurance.

Download the Assurance Statement here