Using Resources
Responsibly

 
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The carbon-neutral future we envision will become possible when our nation’s governments and businesses – along with governments and businesses around the world – work together.

Environmental
Stewardship

Approach

We seek to avoid or minimize our impacts on the environment – to air, land and water – and to protect and conserve the ecosystems and biological diversity that surround our sites. Each Hydro One line of business is accountable for managing the environmental aspects of its operations in line with our Environmental Policy. The Hydro One HSEMS and management programs provide a framework to meet our compliance obligations, set environmental targets, assess and mitigate environmental risks and advance leading practices. This section of the report provides more details on:
- resource management;
- contaminated sites;
- biodiversity.

Resource Management

Approach

Hydro One has well established programs for management of matters relating to water and waste and is currently making key improvements to our management of heritage resources, including built, landscape and archaeological. A key part of this management initiative includes established governance and regulatory compliance.

Permits & Approvals
Our Environmental Services team is extensively involved in obtaining the necessary permits and approvals for the design, construction and operation of new facilities or upgrades to existing ones. From the outset of a project, we undertake baseline studies of the environmental features. These include, but are not limited to, an examination of natural heritage, cultural heritage and social resources surveys to determine potential impacts. We also work with First Nations and Métis communities, municipal and provincial government officials and agencies, as well as interested persons and interest groups to inform them of such projects, as well as to identify and resolve potential concerns. Finally, we work closely with construction staff to ensure compliance with our commitments related to permits or approvals.

Performance

Over the past five years, Hydro One has undergone 103 inspections by the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change and by Environment and Climate Change Canada relating to our waste and PCB storage sites and environmental compliance approvals. No compliance charges resulted from these 103 inspections.

Continual Improvement
We have made improvements in how we track our environmental management spending, which includes prevention and environmental management, emissions treatment, remediation and waste disposal (e.g. conventional waste, waste subject to regulation such as PCB waste, oil filled equipment, etc.), investing $30.1 million in 2017.

Six environmental audits were completed in 2017, including an assessment of site conformance with our HSEMS and compliance with environment and safety regulations, covering 36 locations.

Key Programs & Future Initiatives

Our successful monitoring, sampling and management approaches to waste and water will continue. In 2018 we will focus on establishing a Heritage Management Program in collaboration with our regulator, the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport. Specific goals for 2018 include:

  • Creation of a draft “Identification and Evaluation” process for heritage assets; and
  • Establishment of an internal Heritage Management Committee.

Contaminated Lands

In 2017, we remediated seven sites, conducted Phase II environmental site assessments of 12 properties and continued to monitor 33 locations at a total cost of $6.1 million.

Approach

Hydro One has well-established processes regarding the management of contaminated lands, including a Land Assessment & Remediation (LAR) program, management of PCBs and spill response. The six audits referenced previously also included audits assessing our PCB handling and phase-out and contaminated lands management programs. Action plans have been developed to address the audit findings.

Performance

Spills
Hydro One, on average, experiences approximately one spill per day. We have a team of specially trained responders who are on-call 24/7 and who are supported by external environmental spill response contractors. During 2017, we logged 337 spills and had an 88% recovery rate of the volumes spilled. This represents a 6.5% decrease in our recovery rate from the previous year. This change was the result of an 18,000 litre non-PCB mineral insulating oil (MIO) spill from an on-site tanker truck. Hydro One coordinated an active remediation response to this release. In total, 13,256 litres (74%) of MIO were recovered. This lower than usual recovery rate was primarily due to the local geology of coarse ground cover where this incident took place. Since the incident, Hydro One is implementing the recommended improvements identified in the Incident Investigation Report.

Land Assessment & Remediation
(LAR) Program
Hydro One has a proactive LAR program to identify and, where necessary, remediate historical contamination from past operations, where the company used certain long-lasting chemicals at our facilities. The program systematically identifies contamination at or from these facilities and, where necessary, remediation plans are developed for Hydro One properties and affected adjacent private properties. In 2017, we remediated seven sites, conducted Phase II environmental site assessments of
12 properties and continued to monitor 33 locations at a total cost of approximately $6.1 million.

Governance
As a result of the findings from the 2017 SF6, PCB handling-phase out and LAR audits, a cross-functional, multi-line of business Director-level advisory committee has been established to address environmental matters affecting multiple business units and facilitate increased collaboration
between teams.

Key Programs & Future Initiatives

Action plans have been developed to address the audit findings from the LAR and PCB management programs. These programs and the spill response program will be maintained in 2018 with continual improvements ongoing.

Biodiversity

Approach

At Hydro One, we are continually working to minimize our impact on the ecosystems, habitats and biodiversity that surround our sites. We take a multifaceted approach, combining regulatory requirements with leading practices in biodiversity management and government priorities wherever possible. Internally, our Biodiversity Advisory Committee (BAC) develops, reviews and recommends leading practices for biodiversity opportunities within Hydro One. We also have in place a Biodiversity Management Plan and multiple Engineering Standards. The Management Plan, along with these Standards, direct Hydro One’s planning of large capital projects to minimize our impact on natural habitats and ecosystems.

Performance

As part of Hydro One’s business optimization strategy, we introduced a state-of-the-art vegetation management program known as Optimal Cycle Protocol (OCP). OCP involves a shorter tree clearing and trimming cycle where crews focus on defects along Hydro One’s vast distribution line every three years, rather than full right-of-way management every eight to 10 years. In 2017, 45% of outages were because of trees.

In 2017, Hydro One developed a Biodiversity Management Plan, outlining plans regarding our biodiversity priorities. We identified four key areas to focus our ongoing efforts which include avian protection, pollinators, invasive species and training and created targets for 2018.

Avian Protection
Throughout the province, Hydro One installed 12 new osprey nesting boxes in 2017 to develop and restore osprey habitats. Additionally, Hydro One has worked closely with the CEA over the past two years to develop a Bird Beneficial Management Practices Guide for Utilities, which was just recently published. We also assisted in osprey banding activities to help track their lifecycle and migration patterns.

Pollinators
A key initiative is protecting Ontario’s pollinator species, such as bees and butterflies, which are essential to our ecosystem and agricultural industry.

Many pollinators have been in decline for a number of years, due to loss of habitat, invasive species and other risks. In 2017, we planted 42 hectares with pollinator-friendly plants across the province. This was a decrease from the 62 hectares planted in 2016, reflecting the fact that we plant pollinator species based on best vegetation management practices. This planting work supports major initiatives in Canada and the United States focused on increasing pollinator habitat and food sources for a variety of species, such as Ontario’s Pollinator Health Action Plan, the goal of which is to restore, enhance and protect 400,000 hectares of pollinator habitat in Ontario.

Invasive Species
We also enhanced our ability to protect and develop habitats by adding two new layers into our in-house information tracking system, known as the Biodiversity Geographic Information System (GIS) Portal. This web-based program maps all key environmental features of a project site for all Hydro One businesses and identifies commitments made to customers, regulators, municipalities and the public. During the year, we added new Source Water Protection and Invasive Species layers into the features we now track. These new layers help us both proactively plan work to minimize impacts on the environment and to comply with the Invasive Species legislation. The invasive species layer is used to help us plan work by identifying their locations and developing alternate route access points so we can avoid their spread.

Training
A key biodiversity priority is preserving and protecting species at risk (SAR) to ensure compliance with the Ontario Endangered Species Act and the federal Species at Risk Act. In 2017, we developed an Environmental Field Considerations Operations Training package to help our field staff identify and work around environmental risks. Training is being rolled out to provide specific guidance and new processes to support work planning with a renewed emphasis on avoiding impacts to SAR and their habitats. A SAR evaluation is undertaken for every Hydro One project. Hydro One averages over
100 SAR-related registrations annually, each requiring an evaluation of whether the work impact can be avoided or minimized and a related work plan.

Key Programs & Future Initiatives

In 2017 we created specific targets for 2018 as part of our long-term planning and goal setting efforts. We plan to advance and track our efforts related to the four focus areas identified in our Biodiversity Management Plan based on the following four specific initiatives and established targets for 2018:

  • Develop and finalize Avian Protection Plan, based on CEA Best Management Practice (BMP) documents. This will include providing training and direction to our field staff regarding avoiding and protecting migratory birds, woodpeckers and raptors.
  • Continue building and maintaining osprey nesting boxes and support osprey banding efforts with a goal of addressing each request in 2018 and tracking the volume of requests. This will be accomplished through a pool of funds available to install new nesting boxes/repairing damaged boxes.
  • Support bird banding efforts of ospreys with a target of at least two banding events in summer of 2018.

Pollinators
We will continue to support planting of pollinator plots through Environmental Services programs, as well as support and provide tracking of programs through our Forestry line of business. We will continue to focus on invasive species education by providing direction, advice and training assistance to field staff. We have efforts underway to provide support for pollinator planting projects and SAR habitat restoration. Specific targets for 2018 include the creation of approximately 45 hectares of pollinator plots including habitat restoration along the Trans Canada Trail following the construction of the Leamington Transmission Station.

Partnerships
Hydro One would like to work collaboratively and partner with local groups and environmental organizations around the province on biodiversity initiatives. This may include a focus on the topics of pollinators and ongoing monitoring. The specific target for 2018 is to establish partnerships with two external organizations and define the program scope.

Training
To support ongoing compliance with respect to biodiversity and SAR, training is required for internal Hydro One staff. The specific target for 2018 is to ensure that field staff from operational lines of business attend awareness sessions on “Environmental Field Considerations” including a review of top environmental project risks – specifically SAR, nuisance beavers, in-water works and tracking related regulatory commitments. The sessions are to be delivered by Environmental Services staff and take place across the province with a target completion date at the end of the second quarter of 2018.

Clarington Habitat Creation Project

The new Clarington Transformer Station (TS) is expected to be fully in-service in 2018, providing a safe and reliable supply of power to support the growing communities in the eastern part of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). Our environmental team completed the Clarington TS Habitat Creation Plan in 2016. Site preparation and the first plantings at the property began in the Fall of 2017.

During the Class Environmental Assessment (EA) process for the Clarington TS project, Hydro One committed to a habitat creation/loss ratio of 2:1 in the vicinity that surrounds the Clarington TS. In order to offset the 2.6 hectares of permanent habitat loss, the Habitat Creation Plan for the Clarington TS now includes approximately 16 hectares of new habitat, which far exceeds the original commitment of
5.2 hectares.

Our focus in 2017 was on beginning the extensive habitat creation work around the Project site, including approximately 3.15 hectares of shrub thicket and deciduous forest which were planted in the Fall of 2017. Another key focus during the 2017 growing season was on controlling and removing invasive species, including several mature Common Buckhorn shrubs. In 2018, additional invasive species will be controlled or removed and approximately 15.6 hectares of additional habitat will be created or restored.

Climate Change
Mitigation and Adaptation

Hydro One envisions a low carbon future. We are committed to being part of the solution in the fight against climate change and in building a low carbon economy. We contribute by delivering electricity that is among the cleanest, safest and most reliable in North America.

Approach

As the largest transmission and distribution company in Ontario, Hydro One is working diligently to to manage GHG emissions. We are developing a policy which will reflect our commitment to:

  • Managing our carbon footprint;
  • Managing our assets to increase resiliency to better withstand climate change and weather extremes;
  • Working cooperatively with our customers to reduce their energy usage and promote a culture of conservation;
  • Supporting and collaborating with governments and business to achieve a carbon-neutral future;
  • Addressing the risks and opportunities associated with climate change through an integrated multi-disciplinary risk identification assessment and management process; and
  • Disclosing climate change related risks and opportunities through public reporting such as the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) and Annual Financial Reports.

We are continuing to take steps toward mitigating and adapting to climate change. Our efforts include working with communities, customers and organizations to collectively reduce our energy consumption; investing in research and innovation; identifying risks; enhancing our performance measurement and disclosure of GHG emissions to the CDP; and through the publication of this annual CSR report.

Hydro One was designated a Sustainable Electricity Company™ by CEA in 2015 and has maintained this designation annually. We became a member of the CEA Climate Change Adaptation Working Group in 2017 and have the opportunity to influence the dialogue on climate change adaptation for the transmission and distribution utility sector. Going forward, as temperatures change and extreme weather events become more frequent, we will continue to take steps to ensure we have the capacity to respond in emergencies and adapt to changing environmental conditions.

Performance

Hydro One reports Scope 1 and Scope 2 GHG emissions.

Scope 1, or Direct Emissions, refers to emissions from operations by the reporting organization.1

In Hydro One’s case, we generate direct emissions by operating vehicles during the normal course of business and from SF6. This gas is used as an insulating medium in high-voltage circuit breakers and gas-insulated switchgear. Hydro One made improvements to our SF6 reporting and tracking during 2017. It was also the first year that a third-party verified our GHG emissions calculations. These measures will allow more accurate tracking of emissions within Hydro One and contribute to establishing baseline data for potential future objectives and targets. As in previous years, in 2017 our primary source of Scope 1 emissions was our fleet. In 2017 we saw a reduction in fleet emissions of 7.8% due to the implementation of our Fleet Right-Sizing Program which identified and removed under-utilized vehicles from our fleet. Our SF6 emissions increased 9.5% in 2017 due to releases associated with breaker failures at eight transformer stations.

Scope 2, or Indirect Energy Emissions, refers to emissions from the consumption of purchased electricity, heat or steam by an organization. Examples include buying electricity to heat and cool buildings and line losses (when electricity is delivered over a power line, a small amount of power is normally consumed or lost as heat). Scope 2 emissions are not directly controlled by Hydro One and are subject to the generation mix and dispatch, the flow of electricity through the Ontario grid from generation sources to load customers and other jurisdictions and the demand profiles for electricity. In 2017, Scope 2 emissions for electricity and transmission line losses were virtually unchanged from 2016 emissions. Hydro One saw a 5% reduction in distribution line losses.

Overall, our total GHG emissions in 2017 decreased approximately 7,000 tCO₂e (carbon dioxide equivalents), primarily the result of our Fleet Right-Sizing Program and line loss reductions.2

Additionally, in 2017 Hydro One supported Ontario’s Climate Change Action Plan and engaged with both the Ontario Ministry of Environment and Climate Change and Environment and Climate Change Canada on this file.

Ontario’s Cap and Trade Program, as established by the Climate Change Mitigation and Low-carbon Economy Act, 2016, was a market-based system that put a price on carbon, capped the amount of GHGs businesses could emit, and provided incentives and mechanisms to reduce overall emissions. Hydro One was a mandatory participant in the Cap and Trade Program and remained compliant in 2017 by purchasing the required emission allowances through the Joint Auction between California, Quebec and Ontario.

In 2017, we continued to invest in research and innovation related to climate change adaptation. During the year, Hydro One’s service area experienced six extreme weather events, impacting more than 10% of customers. Hydro One is investing in research to better manage these risks including:

  • Collaborating with the University of Western Ontario for the WindEE project, which is studying the impact of tornadoes and downbursts on transmission lines with multiple structures. Results will guide more robust designs.
  • Designing a microgrid training program in Kleinburg, including a functioning microgrid and controller for training and research of renewable solar generation. This will augment Kleinburg’s existing 2 kW solar facility, lithium ion battery energy storage.
  • Investing in Telematics has allowed integrated telecommunications, Global Positioning System (GPS) and informatics to stream live data from every vehicle to centralized Fleet Services.
  • The telematics data we are gathering has allowed for more efficient deployment and management of vehicles, safer and more energy-efficient driver behaviour and reduced fuel and maintenance costs, while also extending the life of Hydro One vehicles. These baseline results can contribute to clearer objectives and targets around fleet emissions.
  • Our Fleet Services were active throughout 2017. The team reduced the number of fleet vehicles, introduced a new hybrid bucket truck and began conversations regarding fleet electrification.

Key Programs & Initiatives

Governance and accountability for climate change adaptation and mitigation begins with the Board of Directors, which is accountable for climate-related issues within the organization. In 2017, the Health, Safety, Environment and Indigenous Peoples (HSEIP) Committee of the Board of Directors requested an in-depth review of current best practices related to climate change, with a goal of strengthening Hydro One’s governance framework and practices. A number of actions have been recommended to align Hydro One with industry leading practices in this area.

In 2018 and beyond, we plan to:

  • Develop more clearly defined accountabilities for managing climate change, along with a policy and strategy that identifies key actions to mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change;
  • Enhance disclosure reporting of climate change adaptation and mitigation measures, with a goal of continuous improvement; and
  • Continue to strengthen our methodologies for gathering baseline data and measuring emissions, in order to create an emissions benchmark and identify emerging risks.

Through these and other initiatives, we will continue to take steps to adapt to and mitigate climate change risks as we move toward a low-carbon future.

1. Hydro One follows the GHG protocol under ISO 14064-1:2006; Ontario Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Guideline for Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reporting; and the SF6 Emission Estimation and Reporting Protocol for Electric Utilities (2008). Emission Factors used are from Canada’s National Inventory Report 1990-2015. Te Global Warming Potential (GWP) used is the Ontario standard for the Cap and Trade Program. While Management estimates that the uncertainty range for Scope 1 emissions is less than 5% which is consistent with Ontario Regulation 143/16: Quantification, Reporting and Verication of Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Hydro One continues to improve its GHG emissions estimation procedures and training for staff inputting data. 2. 2015 data does not include Scope 1 natural gas emissions. In 2016, Scope 1 natural gas emissions were the result of natural gas heating off site and totalled 4,138 tonnes in 2016 and 3,356 tonnes in 2017.
About this Report

Hydro One’s 2017 Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Report updates the progress we made during the past year to advance our health, safety, environmental and social performance. Our report is organized around Hydro One’s five strategic CSR pillars: customers come first, using resources responsibly, people and potential, powering economies, and building a grid 
for the future. It also describes our performance under the Canadian Electricity Association’s (CEA’s) Sustainable Electricity™ Program, which promotes the integration of CSR in business decision-making and pursues leading practices in continuous improvement.

As our CSR strategy and reporting program continue to evolve in support of Hydro One’s business strategy, we will review further opportunities to align our reporting with the internationally recognized Sustainability Reporting Standards, developed by the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI).

The information in this report reflects our performance from January 1, 2017 to December 31, 2017 and covers our Canadian operations. This CSR report is limited to Hydro One Limited (referred to as “Hydro One” throughout this report). All dollar amounts are in Canadian dollars. The scope of the report excludes Hydro One Remote Communities Inc. and Hydro One Telecom Inc.