environmental dimension

Natural Resources

Natural resources are scarce, and promoting their sustainable use is an urgent task. EDP’s Environment Policy assumes a number of principles aimed at the efficient use of natural resources, contributing to their long-term sustainability.

Water is a crucial resource for the EDP Group's operations: its is used for steam production in thermoelectric plants; electricity production through water turbination; and for other uses such as irrigation and human consumption. In 2002, recognizing the importance of the management of water resources, EDP published its Water Management Policy.

Reducing water consumption is an overall goal for the EDP Group, and it has been included in the facilities' environmental programs. The use of cooling towers in all new projects has substantially reduced this impact, since it significantly reduces the amount of withdrawn - and therefore rejected - water. The variations that occur in water withdrawals are mostly due to the higher or lower production levels of different thermal power plants in certain periods.

Every year EDP responds to the water management questionnaire conducted by the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP). The questionnaire Water Disclosure Project allows the EDP Group to clarify its strategy, objectives, management plans, risks, opportunities, and performance regarding this issue, with an increasing focus on the supply chain.


Water use

Most withdrawn water is used for the cooling process of thermal power plants. In open circuits, water is almost entirely returned to the water environment, while in closed circuits withdrawn water is mostly used to replace water that evaporates in cooling towers.

The water withdrawal sources are several, however approximately 97.8% of the collected water has its origin in the ocean and is intended to be used in Sines (Portugal) and Aboño (Spain) thermal power plants.

Cooling water, raw water consumption and water for human consumption are considered the main uses for EDP water.

The high hydraulicity registered in Portugal (+36% of hydric production compared to 2015) and the withdrawal from service of Soto de Ribera (Spain) Thermal Power Plant’s 2nd Group, contributed to the reduction of the volume in the water collection meant to be used in the cooling circuits (-14% compared to 2015), offsetting the whole first production year of the Pecém (Brazil) Thermal Power Plant, which justifies the annual variation 2016-2015.

Apart from the cooling water, other main uses of water taken into account in EDP are raw water consumption and water for human consumption, representing the uses of fresh water. 

In 2016, EDP Group recycled or reused 649,771 m3, including the condensed in cogeneration plants.