E.ON has developed an approach to ecologically manage the vegetation under and near its overhead power lines in forests. This approach, which is already in place for around 8,000 hectares of woodlands in Germany, will now be extended to all our service territories in Europe. By 2029, we intend to put in place specific vegetation-management plans for each hectare of woodlands and to invest a double-digit million euro sum for this purpose. This represents our commitment to promote healthy ecosystems and greater biodiversity along 13,000 kilometres of high-voltage power lines in forested areas, equal in size to about 100,000 soccer fields.
E.ON has a range of projects to support mixed forests, like the one inaugurated in 2020 in partnership with PLANT-MY-TREE, a tree donation specialist. We’ve arranged for about 10,000 trees to be planted across Germany. The trees will likely sequester about 1000 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide annually and provide a habitat for a wide variety of flora and fauna. Our reforestation projects will continue in 2022. Some are linked to the achievement of sales targets, others give our customers the opportunity to get involved.
In 2020 E.ON energy provider eprimo, which is based in Neu-Isenburg, Germany, began building a green-power community. It brings together sustainability-minded energy producers and consumers. The electricity comes from rooftop solar panels, solar farms, hydroelectric plants, and other clean sources across Germany. The rapidly growing community had about 10,000 customers at year-end 2020 and more than 50,000 at the end of 2021. In November 2020 the project won an International Customer Experience Gold Award.
In late 2020 we founded the E.ON Environmental Network (EEN) in Germany. The EEN is a forum for sharing information on operational environmental issues, environmental management, sustainability as well as related legislation, standards, and benchmarks. It brings together experts from our network and customer solutions businesses, works closely with the HSE and Sustainability teams, and meets on a quarterly basis. If necessary, it meets using virtual presence technology, as was the case in much of 2021. Since its founding, the EEN has grown its membership considerably. Key topics in 2021 included the standardisation of documentation for compliance with Germany’s Commercial Refuse Act, environmental assessment in accordance with ISO 14001, and the creation of a joint digital platform for biodiversity and environmental-protection projects. The European EEN, which brings together E.ON colleagues outside Germany, also met several times in 2021 to address pertinent issues. In the years ahead, we intend to expand these networks and transform them into group-wide information-sharing platforms.
Pollination is essential for food production. The declining population of wild bees and other pollinators is therefore a global concern. Many E.ON DSOs – including LEW, Syna, and Bayernwerk in Germany – conduct projects to protect wild bee populations. In consultation with county administrative boards, E.ON Energidistribution, an E.ON DSO in Sweden, identified substations near areas where pollinators need support. Next, bee hotels (small wall-mounted wooden boxes) and bee beds (patches of sand and sandy ground) were installed. Also, nectar- and pollen-rich flowers were planted. In 2022 E.ON Energidistribution will continue to partner with public authorities and other stakeholders to help protect pollinators and, ideally, increase their numbers.