Environmental protection and sustainable development are high on the agenda and the world is seeing initiatives at all levels by international and national bodies, governments and businesses to address the challenges ahead.
For many years, Alstom Power has recognized the importance of the environment in the power generation business and has positioned itself as a clean power provider. Alstom Power is pursuing a global sustainability strategy based on three pillars: management of the ecological, social and economic impact of offices and sites the company owns and operates; Alstom Power’s product footprint and the management of the ecological, social and economic impact of its products from “cradle to grave” (use of raw material, transport, erection, services and end of life of products); and customers’ efforts to produce clean power.
Providing clean power solutions to China
Alstom Power’s global strategy is then applied locally in line with individual national requirements. For instance, in planning the country’s economic and social development, the Chinese government has prioritized cutting carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP by 40-45% by 2020 (from 2005 levels).
Alstom Power is contributing to this goal by providing clean solutions in power generation and bringing the most advanced technologies to China. In the area of hydro, the company has fully localized its engineering and manufacturing capabilities over the last 15 years and transferred knowledge and technology to China. Around 28% of the hydro plants in China are now equipped with their technology. In nuclear, Alstom Power is working with partner Dongfang in that direction. With regard to coal, the company is developing Wuhan Boiler Company Ltd., one of the largest and most modern manufacturing sites in the world for efficient utility boilers. And Alstom Power is currently implementing a cooperation agreement with Huazhong University of Science and Technology (HUST), the leading university in China on R&D; in carbon capture and storage (CCS), for one of the most promising “new” technologies in the area of CCS. This new agreement builds upon already established agreements with HUST, to provide financial support to outstanding students and teachers.
Fighting climate change through energy efficiency
Energy efficiency in buildings is another means of reaching the Chinese government’s ambitious target. Amongst Alstom Power’s various industrial sites in China, Wuhan Boiler Company Ltd. stands out on a global level in terms of energy efficiency. The decision to construct a new manufacturing facility (210,000 m2) and a five-floor office building (15,000 m2) at Wuhan, allowing more than 1,100 persons on site at any time, provided a perfect opportunity for Alstom Power to reduce its environmental footprint. Various technical initiatives were taken to reduce the environmental impact of the site: detectors, solar-powered water heaters, etc.; system, recyclable wooden insulation panels, recyclable flooring and geothermal heat exchangers that use the earth’s constant subterranean temperature to warm or cool the air, etc.
It is expected that 6,000 tons of CO2 per year will be avoided as a direct result of these innovations.
Acting as a good corporate citizen
Naturally, Alstom Power is also emphasizing its service to the local communities. In support of the Chinese government’s decision to ban the distribution of free plastic bags, employees are actively involved in a project sponsored by the Alstom Foundation to raise environmental awareness by encouraging people to use eco-friendly green bags. The project has supported the manufacture of more than 43,000 durable cloth shopping bags. The Foundation also supports the Meili Mountains National Park Project to preserve the biodiversity of mountains at Yunnan Province. In addition, Alstom Power encourages employees to launch individual initiatives.
Alstom Power is proud of its achievements so far and is committed to continue supporting its customers, employees and the local communities in their sustainable development ambitions.
First published in the November 2010 edition of Sustain magazine by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.