Environmental impact


Central administration, regulator

Participants of the electricity market

Contractors and subcontractors

Investment environment

Industry organisations

Scientific and research institutions

Employees and potential employees


The national environmental standards positively set Poland apart from other EU countries.

PSE endeavours to reconcile the reliable and efficient operation of the power system with its development whilst respecting the natural environment.

Every power project meets stringent requirements for the impact of extra-high voltage lines on the environment.

Polish safety standards for the impact of electromagnetic fields for areas intended for residential development are among the most restrictive in the world.

High environmental standards
in Poland compared with other countries

GRI 103-1 PSE against environmental standards of other European operators

The standards for the construction of overhead transmission power lines used by PSE are uniform in Europe, governed by the PN-EN 50341-1 standard Overhead electrical lines exceeding 45 kV. Part 1: General requirements. Common specifications.

The standard provides line design guidelines relating e.g. to magnetic and electric field and induction (Sect. 5.6), prospective and effective touch voltage limits (Sect. 6.2.4), lightning discharges (Sect. 6.4), radio frequency interference level (Sect. 10.3), noise (Sect. 5.5.2).

Specific values of different types of impact are stated in the standard with reference to the related standard PN-EN 50341-2-22 Overhead electrical lines exceeding AC 1 kV. Part 2: National Normative Aspects (NNA).

Polish legal regulations concerning the formation of standards and regulations are dictated by current own and international studies – they are adjusted to progress and specialist knowledge.

Since the 1980s, the conservative approach has been used in Poland concerning e.g. the impact of electromagnetic fields (EMF).  The first regulations were of such a nature and this approach continues to be used 10. Standards are not designed in terms of protection from harmful effects, because there is no such evidence, which is testified by numerous research studies evaluated periodically by outstanding experts and endorsed by the world’s largest organisations:

  • WHO (World Health Organisation)11
  • ICNIRP (International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection); 
  • SCENIHR (Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks)12
  • IRPA (International Non-Ioizing Radiation Comittee).

The regulations adopted by at European operators are also an expression of the conservative approach, where based on acquired knowledge technically justified and economically reasonable impact levels are set. Despite different tendencies in the formation law, their unification across Europe and the world is proposed most often. EMF values near 50 Hz 500MVA, 400/220kV AC transmission lines are proposed to be unified at 5 kV/m electric component and 80 A/m (100 µT) magnetic component (regulations in force e.g. in France, Germany, Spain, Austria, Croatia and Lithuania).

The applicable EMF values in Poland are as follows:

  • 1kV/m electric component for areas considered by the legislature to be subject to special protection – areas intended for built development,
  • 10kV/m electric component for locations accessible for people,
  • 60 A/m magnetic component for locations accessible for people.


10Regulation of the Minister of the Environment of 30 October 2003 on electromagnetic field limits in the environment and methods of checking compliance with those limits, Journal of Laws of 2003, No 192, item 1883. Comment: 
This regulation was issued in accordance with the authorisation of art. 122 of the Environmental Protection Act in agreement with the minister in charge of health. The purpose of the obligation imposed by the legislature on the body authorised to issue the regulation to reach agreement with the minister in charge of health was to ensure an environmental condition that will have no negative effects on the environment or on human health.
11WHO, Extremely low frequency fields, “Environmental Health Criteria” nr 238 oraz Electromagnetic fields and public health, 16.12.2014 
12SCENIHR, Opinion on Potential health effects of exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMF), 2015. 
This 2015 study (288 pages of opinions about almost 900 thematic studies from the 2005-2014 period) confirms that the existing scope of research does not clarify the mechanisms of adverse, harmful effect of electromagnetic fields on living organisms.

Facts worth knowing

The environmental standards adopted in Poland are considered as high. Their application in design and construction practice has won appreciation e.g. of the European Commission, expressed in Resolution 2008/2211.

EMF limit values in different European countries

Legal regulationsNotes
Electric fieldMagnetic Field
Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Estonia, United Kingdom, Netherlands No legal regulations, but recommendations apply In each country, there are committees that create their own recommendations (United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Sweden)
Belgium 5 kV/m
(residential zones)
      No regulations on magnetic field
France, Germany, Croatia, Spain, Austria, Ireland, Lithuania 5 kV/m 100µT           
Greece 4 kV/m 80µT ICNIRP values
with coeff. of 0.8
Switzerland 5 kV/m 100µT
1µT for sensitive zones (schools, hospitals, retirement homes…)…)
The values for sensitive zones apply only to new equipment
Slovenia 5 kV/m
500 V/m
10µT for sensitive zones
The values for sensitive zones apply only to new equipment
Italy 5 kV/m 100µT
10µT (average for 4 h per day)

3µT (average for 4 h per day)

„Qualitative value” applied to built-up areas
and to existing equipment

„Qualitative value”
applied to built-up areas
and to new equipment

RTE France, Électricité de France, “Les champs électromagnétiques de très basse fréquence”, p. 63.
Table 1. EMF limit valuesin different European countries.

GRI 307-1 In 2017, as in previous years, no fines were imposed on PSE for non-compliance with laws and regulations on environmental protection.


Environmental management system and occupational health and safety management system

GRI 103-1 Until the 1st half of 2017, there were two systems operating independently of each other at PSE: the environmental management system and the occupational health and safety management system In July 2017, work started on integration of the systems. For this purpose, one authorised officer was appointed to supervise the operation of the systems and an integrated policy was adopted. At subsequent stages, a procedure was implemented, governing both systems, internal auditors were appointed, and training and workshops were conducted for a wide group of employees. As part of implemented changes, the environmental management system was adjusted to the requirements of the international standard ISO 14001:2015-09 “Environmental management systems. Requirements with guidance for use”. In the area of occupational health and safety, the system remained in compliance with the Polish standard PN-N 18001:2004 “Occupational health and safety management systems”.

Effective implementation of the integrated system was confirmed by a relevant certificate which was issued to PSE for the period from 24 July 2018 to 11 March 2021.

By maintaining the integrated management system, the company voluntarily declares that it will reconcile the reliable and efficient operation of the power system with its development whilst respecting the natural environment and public interest. It is PSE’s particular concern to ensure the security of employees, third-party visitors, and contractors’ personnel.

To achieve the above objectives, PSE has committed itself to:

  • prevent accidents at work, occupational diseases, near misses and environmental pollution,
  • continuously seek to improve the standards of environmental safety and health, fire protection and environmental protection through measures including the identification of hazards and risk management,
  • monitor the working environment for occupational and environmental safety,
  • comply with the requirements of laws and other regulations applicable to the company,
  • improve employees’ skills, empower their roles and engage them in activities towards improvement of occupational safety and health, and environmental protection,
  • develop and upgrade the network infrastructure in such a manner as to ensure work safety, preservation of landscape, protected areas and areas of particular natural value.

In 2017, the environmental aspects identified to set the directions of the company’s initiatives concerning the reduction of negative impact on the natural environment and strengthening positive impact.

Significant aspects:

  • electromagnetic field emissions,
  • noise emissions,
  • sewage and stormwater discharge into the ground and into waters, ,
  • generation of waste,
  • hazardous substance spill.

Positive aspect:

  • supporting environmentally-friendly projects aimed at the projection of natural resources.

As part of supporting environmentally-friendly projects, educational actions were undertaken, addressed to employees.

The objectives pursued in the environmental area included e.g. transformer replacements and the delivery of a scheme of exercises in clean-up of hazardous substance spills at selected power facilities. In the OHS area, the priority is to prevent accidents at work and increase the involvement of employees and contributors in measures towards improving work safety.

PSE’s priorities concerning environmental protection and key figures

GRI 103-1 Pro-environmental attitude in operating activities

1Compensation measures were started in 2017, hence there is no specification of costs in the table in 2016 and 2015.

Environmental aspects

GRI 102-11 For identified significant environmental aspects, the company defines the internal rules of procedure and supervision, aimed to ensure compliance with all legal requirements and the best possible conservation of natural resources.

Electromagnetic field emissions

We pursue a number of activities which further the achievement of the following objectives:

  • meeting the permitted electromagnetic field levels in the environment outside the line right of way, as required by law,
  • selecting locations for new projects that make it possible to limit the construction of power facilities in residential development areas,
  • maintaining systems and equipment in good working order,
  • advanced technological solutions for equipment and systems.

Noise emissions

We perform tasks that contribute to meeting the permissible noise levels in the environment as required by law. This is achieved through measures relating to:

  • selecting locations that make it possible to limit the construction of power facilities in residential development areas,
  • quality control of the work performed,
  • maintaining systems and equipment in good working order.

Sewage discharge into the ground or waters

As a result of our activities, sanitary sewage is generated which is discharged into the combined sewer system, into the ground or into waters. Sewage discharged to the ground or into waters is previously treated in biological sewage treatment plants reducing the content of pollutants in sewage. After treatment, they meet the requirements of law and water management permits. In accordance with the applicable laws and regulations, sewage treatment facilities undergo periodic maintenance and inspections. Also the quality of the sewage released into the environment is subject to periodic control. 

Generation of waste

For many years, we have performed selective collection of waste generated by the activities carried out at the sites of grid assets and on the premises of PSE and its local units. In order to standardise the rules of handing waste, the “Instructions for waste management at PSE S.A.” have been prepared which apply both to waste generated by PSE and by third parties in the course of operation, maintenance, failure recovery, and new build and repair projects. One of the appendices to the Instructions is dedicated in whole to the rules of correct sorting of municipal waste generated by human living activities.

The office buildings and all electrical substations have been equipped with containers for selective collection of both municipal waste and hazardous waste. Most waste is collected at the place of generation. The rooms, areas and containers in which the different waste types are collected are duly marked.

Correct sorting is also checked during inspections carried out on the sites of facilities. Presentation of the rules and obligations concerning waste sorting is one of the permanent training topics for the company’s newly hired employees.

Hazardous substance spill

We take measures to:

  • reduce the probability of an emergency situation occurring through preventive measures and the correct maintenance of facilities,
  • maintain readiness to mitigate the environmental impact of failures caused by infrastructure owned by the company.

Readiness and responding in environmental emergency situations (e.g. hydrocarbon spillage)

On substation sites, PSE operates equipment containing substances that may cause pollution when released into the environment.

Such substances include mainly:

  • insulation oil (transformers, oil circuit breakers, instrument transformers, shunt reactors, circuit breakers, capacitors),
  • diesel oil (power generating sets),
  • acids (battery electrolytes).

Owing to the risk of equipment failure and the related risk of spillage of the above-mentioned substances, we endeavour to reduce their negative environmental impact as much as possible.

For this purpose, the following have been prepared: “Operational instructions for handling failures at an electrical substation of PSE S.A. posing the risk of environmental pollution with insulation oil” and “Operational instructions for handling hazardous substance spillage”, which also apply on the premises of ZKOs.

Each facility is equipped with “environmental first aid kits” – portable sets of absorbents for the collection of small spills to prevent spillage from spreading.

We strive to minimise water consumption

We do not carry on any production activity and therefore water consumption at our headquarters and at the substations is small. However, we monitor water consumption under the Environmental Management System. Water is supplied to our substation facilities from our own deep wells and from commune or municipal water mains.

Wells are a source of supply to our 13 extra-high voltage substations. At the substation facilities, water is used for personal purposes of the substation personnel and for firefighting purposes. Depending on the number of transformers, most substations are equipped with at least one fire-fighting water reservoir with a capacity of 50 m3.

At the substations with transformer units equipped with fire extinguishing systems, a small quantity of reservoir water is consumed for sprinkler system tests which are performed once a year. The measurement of consumer water quantity is based on the main water meter readings.
On the premises of our headquarters in Konstancin-Jeziorna, we use our own water intake – we have two deep wells. Water supplied to the offices of field units comes from municipal mains.

The data presented in the table below have been collated from water meter readings at the sites with their own water intakes, and from water supply invoices for the facilities using water mains.  

PSE approach to biodiversity protection

GRI 103-1 GRI 304-2 PSE endeavour to ensure that biodiversity is preserved on the areas where concerned by ongoing investment projects. We invest in the development of the transmission system in such a way as to minimise interference with the environment. By implementing in 2012 the Environmental Management System compliant with the ISO 14001 standard, we have committed to comply with legal regulations and to follow good environmental practices. We have also imposed this commitment on the contractors and subcontractors for investment projects. Together we make every effort to ensure that each stage of investment – from planning, through construction, to operation – is characterised by care for the environment. In doing this, we strive to take into account the whole range of tools, remedial measures related to protection against soil and groundwater pollution, limiting losses in habitats and species, emergency management, minimising noise emissions and waste management. In implementing our projects, we strive to ensure that our power infrastructure has the least possible impact on biodiversity.

We deliver investment projects in a manner that allows key threats to nature to be minimised and biodiversity loss to be avoided. We start as early as the line route and substation location planning stage, locating infrastructure in such a manner as to avoid, as far as possible, interference with areas of high natural value. In successive stages of project implementation, technical and technological options for minimising impacts related to the implementation phase and further operation of network facilities are analysed.

In the case of completed projects, works consisting in the so-called post-implementation monitoring are carried out. Naturalists are responsible for assessing whether the measures we take correctly serve their purpose, and thus whether we have managed to minimise impact on the natural environment. In the next few years we will be able to assess, for example, which of the diverters used on the lighting cables have proved the best, i.e. which of them reduce the number of birds’ collisions with the LV lines to the highest degree.

GRI EU 13 Examples of nature compensation

Construction of the 400kV switchgear in Byczyna substation

During the construction of the 400kV switchgear in Byczyna substation, partial elimination affected a fragment of the habitat - Molinia meadows, i.e. the habitat of Siberian Iris (Iris sibirica), Turkish Marsh Gladiolus (Gladiolus imbricatus), Western Marsh Orchid (Dactylorhiza majalis), as well as the habitat of Large Blue butterflies of the Phengaris genus - Dusky Large Blue (Phengaris nausithous) and Scarce Large Blue (Phengaris teleius).

Pursuant to the decision issued by the Regional Directorate for Environmental Protection in Katowice, protected plant species, i.e. 643 specimens of Siberian Iris (Iris sibirica), 32 tussocks of Turkish Marsh Gladiolus (Gladiolus imbricatus) and 1 specimen of Western Marsh Orchid (Dactylorhiza majalis) were transferred from the substation area to the appropriate substitute site (plots outside the construction site) with the aim to maintain the local population in the proper status of preservation. The permission to transfer the specimens of protected species was conditional upon mowing the meadows where the plants were moved in the first and second year after the transfer and at least every two years in subsequent years until 2024.

Starting from 2016, meadows with the area of 2.7 hectares have been mowed and the habitats where the protected species were transferred as well as the habitat of the Large Blue butterfly have been monitored. The monitoring is based on the indicators presented in the methodology manuals provided by the Chief Inspectorate for Environmental Protection.

During field inspections carried out in 2016 it was confirmed that Turkish Marsh Gladiolus moved to the substitute site set abundant seeds which allows to suppose that in the nearest future the population of this species will increase significantly. Furthermore, abundant flowering of great burnet - a host plant for Large Blue butterflies. The inspections of habitats carried out in 2017 confirmed the presence of the fruiting specimens of Turkish Marsh Gladiolus and Siberian Iris. The presence of both butterfly species was confirmed on all meadow patches covered by monitoring.

The conducted entomological checks have confirmed that the area around the substation is a valuable habitat of Phengaris telejus and Phengaris nausithous. The grassland areas the condition of which deteriorated during construction works regenerate properly as regards the plant species composition. This ensures the proper condition of habitats for both Phengaris species.

Expansion of the Kozienice substation

Under the implementation of the investment project related to the expansion of the Kozienice substation in 2014 we removed 2490 pcs trees and 150 m2 of shrubs from the total surface area of 2.8 hectares.

In accordance with the decision issued by the mayor of Kozienice municipality, we were obliged to carry out nature compensation by planting trees and shrubs in the number not lower than the number of removed plants.

In order to meet the requirements specified above, in 2015 plantings were carried out on plots specified by and agreed with the municipality with the aim to restore the lost stand. In the Kozienice municipality, in the framework of nature compensation works various species of trees and shrubs were planted (English hawthorn, Scots pine, silver birch, Serbian spruce, black pine, Weymouth pine, maple, small-leaved lime, American ambrose, American tulip tree, ginkgo biloba, plane tree, European ash, European beech, common hornbeam, Rocky Mountain juniper, northern white-cedar, barberry, holly and common ninebark). The plantings were made on the basis of species recommended by the owners of lands specified by the municipality and agreed with the Kozienice municipality. The contractor has the obligation to monitor the status of plantings for the period of 3 years. As a result of inspections carried out in 2016 and 2017, seedlings were replenished in places were the plants failed to survive. Moreover, in 2017 some plant species were replaced with species more resistant to difficult soil conditions. In the Kozienice municipality there are mainly sandy soils, poor in nutrients. For this project, the monitoring of the condition of plantings is to be carried out until 2018.

Operation of the 220/110 kV Janów substation

For the operation of the 220/110 kV Janów substation, it was necessary to obtain a decision permitting the removal from the site of the facility of 33 trees threatening the proper operation of the 220 kV switchgear. The permit was issued on condition that replacement planting is made in the substation area with 60 seedlings of Maule's quince. The replacement planting was carried out in 2017. If the planted shrubs remain viable after the period of 3 years from planting or do not remain viable for reasons not attributable to PSE, the charge for tree removal will be remitted.

Construction of the 400 kV Miłosna-Siedlce Ujrzanów line

In the course of work related to the construction of the 400 kV Miłosna-Siedlce Ujrzanów line, the contractor removed trees and shrubs in a total area of 50 ha. In accordance with the decision on environmental conditions for the construction of the line, we commenced the nature compensation by planting a number of trees and shrubs 10% greater than the total damage and the monitoring of the condition of plantings for another 5 years. In connection with the fulfilment of the commitments mentioned above, plantings were made on the area of 58.9 hectares with the aim to reintroduce the destroyed tree stand to the environment. In 10 municipalities, in the framework of nature compensation works, 350,140 seedlings of the following species were planted: Scots pine (127.4 thousand pcs), silver birch (83.51 thousand pcs), Norway spruce (35.67 thousand pcs), black alder (78.72 thousand pcs), common oak (16.93 thousand pcs), larch (5.94 thousand pcs), lime (0.88 thousand pcs), hornbeam (1.09 thousand pcs). The plantings were carried out based on the recommended species and on the neighbouring tree stand, on land with low suitability for agricultural production (91.5 percent of plantings) and on forest land (8.5 percent of plantings).

As a result of inspection of plantings, carried out in 2015, seedlings with poor prognosis or those which failed to survive were replenished. Replacement afforestation was carried out on the surface area of 1.38 hectares.

As a result of an inspection carried out in 2016, seedlings damaged by animals were replenished. Replacement afforestation was carried out on the surface area of 0.8 hectares. Following an inspection in 2017, supplementary planting and maintenance works were carried out on the surface area of 54.67 hectares.

The total surface area of plantings increased by 18 percent compared to the surface area of damages.

Energy efficiency

At PSE activities aimed at increasing the efficiency of energy use are carried out on a regular basis. These activities include increasing energy efficiency in the main operating activity as well as in the area of property maintenance and implementation of campaigns aimed at raising the environmental awareness of our employees.

In 2017, in the field units (ZKOs) and in the headquarters of our company in Konstancin-Jeziorna, activities were carried out for the purposes of energy audit in accordance with the provisions of the Energy Efficiency Act of 20 May 2016. The audit was conducted by an external company and its results included the specification of modernisation activities as well as outlining other activities aimed at increasing energy efficiency. Some audit recommendations are implemented on an ongoing basis. Others are at the planning stage.


GRI 302-1
Total energy consumption in the organisation *
Head Office (Konstancin-Jeziorna)
UnitValue **
Electricity GJ 22 428 24 658
Natural gas GJ 8 300 8 447
Total      30 728 33 105

* Data from the report on electricity consumption at PSE

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