Any business activity has an impact on staff and the environment. Repower is committed to keeping this impact under control, improving it as far as possible on an ongoing basis, and creating sustainable offerings for its customers.
Environmental and workplace safety
Repower sees its responsibility to its people and the environment as an integral component of the way the entire company is managed.
To maximise employee health and safety, the company has a corresponding management system in place that is certified in accordance with OHSAS 18001:2007 (Occupational Health and Safety Assessment Series).
Repower is committed to the safety of its employees. It conducts regular safety training for staff working on power plants and grid installations with the aim of reducing days of absence due to accidents at work and sickness. These courses are a permanent feature of measures at Repower designed to raise employee awareness of everyday risks and safety.
Repower has an ISO 14001:2004-certified environmental management system for handling environmentally-relevant processes. In recent years this system has helped the company reduce emissions continuously.
When renovating high-voltage lines Repower lays cables underground wherever it is possible and makes sense to do so. This is preferable in terms of conserving the landscape and limiting the effects of electromagnetic fields, but also involves extra expense. A good example of this is the grid upgrade in Landquart, completed in 2018, which involved dismantling 13 power pylons and running the lines underground.
The regulating weir at the Miralago intake is to be upgraded. For this reason Repower is planning to make improvements to the fish ladders and fish protection set-up in Miralago.
Repower also markets its health and safety know-how to other energy utilities. Besides advice and training it provides support with introducing and running health and safety and environmental management systems.
The environment is also an important consideration when it comes to Repower’s fleet of company vehicles. In this interview, fleet manager Olinto Crameri presents Repower’s approach to fleet management:
How sustainable is Repower’s fleet of vehicles?
Repower is very committed to the environment and climate protection, so sustainability is a major concern when it comes to our fleet. In Switzerland traffic currently accounts for around a third of carbon emissions. With around 150 vehicles (cars, vans and special-purpose vehicles), a particularly important move is to gradually replace the fleet with electric vehicles (EVs).
When did electric vehicles become a consideration in Repower’s fleet management?
Repower has had energy-efficient vehicles in its sights for years. As the market slowly started opening up in this direction, in 2012 Repower acquired its first hybrid vehicle. In 2013 it was joined by an all-electric Renault Zoe. This was subsequently followed by more electric vehicles at the various sites in Switzerland, and also in Italy. Whenever possible we also make sure our electric vehicles run on green power.
How many vehicles were in the Repower fleet at the end of 2018?
At the end of 2018 Repower was using nine all-electric vehicles and two plug-in hybrids. So electric vehicles account for seven per cent of the fleet. Given that electric vehicles make up only around two per cent of the overall fleet in Switzerland, we’re proud to be among the front-runners. This part of the market is evolving very quickly at the moment, so we’re currently testing various models, wherever possible concentrating on all-electric production vehicles. Depending on the site and geographic location we use more or fewer electric vehicles.
What’s the medium- to long-term plan for the structure of the Repower fleet?
Repower intends to continue playing a pioneering role in EV. The plan is to acquire three or four new electric vehicles every year up to 2020, by which time around 12 per cent of the entire fleet will consist of EVs. From where we stand now it’s not unrealistic to expect electric vehicles to account for around 40 or 50 per cent by 2028.
For us it’s important for new vehicles to meet certain requirements, notably range and fitness for use in winter. Given the geographic location of our sites we also favour four-wheel-drive vehicles.
At present there are no appropriate alternatives on the market when it comes to replacing the special vehicles needed to maintain our assets. We’re monitoring developments, and from mid-2019 or early 2020 we’ll be replacing part of our fleet with a number of electric vehicles.
How are Repower staff involved in the question of electromobility?
Staff can use our company vehicles on a daily basis and see what they’re capable of. If they buy a car they get the same terms (a fleet discount) as Repower. In 2018 we also launched a number of offers for staff: discounts on EV charging stations from PLUG’N ROLL (Repower’s full electric vehicle service provider), free use of company vehicles and electric bikes for private purposes on weekends and holidays, and free charging at all PLUG’N ROLL charging stations. All Repower sites are equipped with charging stations. In Landquart there is a modern charging infrastructure with nine charging spots for electric vehicles.
Repower employs a total of 610 people in Switzerland and Italy (as of 31 December 2018). In Switzerland, Repower also offers young professionals 30 apprenticeships in seven trades spread over different areas of Canton Graubünden. The group aspires to be an attractive employer and to offer fair conditions of employment. To limit staff turnover, Repower endeavours to develop and retain its staff. The company offers competitive compensation in line with each employee’s skills and experience. Repower places the emphasis on systematic employee and management development and transparent internal communications. It also fosters an innovative corporate culture. Employees can help shape the future of the business by actively contributing to projects set up to develop new products and services.
Repower complies with the provisions of the law and keeps close track of upcoming changes in the relevant legislation. This is the responsibility of the Group Compliance Officer (GCO), among other people. The GCO is not just charged with performing regular controls to ensure compliance with the law, but also with identifying compliance risks, doing prevention, and providing advice. He provides training to raise staff awareness of issues such as data and information protection, insider trading, fair market behaviour, correct accounting and dealing with conflicts of interest. He is also the first point of contact for staff wishing to report concerns or violations. The work of the Group Compliance Officer is documented in regular reports.
In 2018 the Group Compliance Officer held diverse trainings: various teams and individual members of staff took courses in combating corruption and internet fraud, data protection, compliance for managers, and a general introduction to compliance. In a simulated phishing campaign the compliance department worked with the IT department to raise staff awareness of the issue of hacker attacks.
PRODUCTS AND GENERATION
Since 1 January 2017 Repower has provided its basic supply customers only with 100 per cent renewable electricity. The retail product portfolio consists of the standard product Aquapower (100 per cent Swiss hydropower), Purepower (at least 5 per cent electricity from photovoltaic, biomass or wind installations in Graubünden; the remainder Swiss hydropower) and Solarpower (100 per cent solar power from Graubünden).
Repower has enhanced its product range with the addition of SUN@HOME, a solution for using and storing energy from the sun that also enables customers to optimise their consumption of their own energy. It covers planning and installing turnkey solar installations equipped with an intelligent control system that can be individually tailored to the needs of its customers.
In Italy, in addition to supplying business customers with TÜV-certified green power, Repower focuses on offering solutions to enable them to boost their energy efficiency. These offerings include eFFettiva (reducing electricity consumption), VAMPA (an energy check-up on the basis of thermal imaging), DIODA (LED lighting) and FOCUS (analysing energy consumption). In 2018 FOCUS was completely overhauled and new functions were added.
The beginning of December saw the creation of the Italian subsidiary Repower Renewable. Its portfolio comprises hydropower, solar and wind power installations. The creation of Repower Renewable, a new joint venture encompassing renewable energy plants and projects in Italy, underscores Repower’s strategy of investing exclusively in renewable generation assets.
The two so-called green bonds totalling EUR 50 million issued by Repower in 2017 to fund various renewable electricity generation assets garnered international recognition, receiving the Green Bond Pioneer Award in London in 2018. Repower is the first Swiss company to conduct financing in this form. The two transactions underpin the execution of Repower’s strategy and further optimise its financing profile. Every year Ernst & Young performs audit procedures on the basis of the promissory note agreement to verify the corresponding financial information. The insights gained from these procedures are set down in a report on the actual findings on financial information in connection with the continuation of promissory notes. The report confirms that the requirements set down in the promissory note agreement were met in 2018.
During the year under review Repower continued to develop offerings in connection with electric vehicles in both Switzerland and Italy. By the end of 2018 the PLUG’N ROLL Powered by Repower electric vehicle charging network already included around 190 charging points, 115 of which are located in Canton Graubünden. This is almost double the 100 charging points in place at the end of 2017. The network includes more than 4,300 registered electric vehicle drivers, 1,800 more than at the end of 2017. In 2018, PLUG’N ROLL came out with improved hard and software.
In Italy Repower has achieved a great deal of success with efforts to extend the RICARICA 101 charging network, which already had 265 stations by the end of the year under review, a year-on-year increase of 30 per cent. At the beginning of 2018 Repower Italy also launched an app showing all the available charging points on a specific route. There is now a single app displaying all the charging stations in Italy and abroad. The new app has got a very good response in the marketplace and close media coverage.