Environmental expertise in linear energy projects
Mr. Kostas Batos
A significant part of EXERGIA’s activities is related to the identification and assessment of the impacts of major energy infrastructure works, such as natural gas or oil pipelines, electricity transmission lines, to the environment and society. Such projects are usually developed by private investors or sponsored by International Financing Institutions, such as the European Commission, the EBRD, etc.
EXERGIA’s involvement covers the full spectrum – from the optimisation of technical design (i.e. route refinement), assessment of alternatives, ecological assessments and appropriate assessment, socioeconomic studies up to environmental permitting including the management of the relations with permitting authorities and the public. In studying the environmental baseline, EXERGIA employs a large team of highly qualified experts of various specialities and makes use of the latest developments in mapping techniques (own GIS infrastructure). EXERGIA maintains excellent relations with the NGO community and puts major emphasis on managing public consultation issues, stakeholder engagement activities etc.
In this respect, EXERGIA has worked with the Greek Public Gas Corporation for the environmental and social assessment of the impacts associated with the construction of gas pipelines, among which the Interconnector Greece – Italy (IGI) that is part of the pipeline planned to supply gas from the Caspian Sea to Western Europe. EXERGIA has also undertaken the formal Environmental Impact Assessment and permitting procedure for the Grammatiko – Aliveri offshore gas pipeline as well as for the offshore LNG gasification facilities planned to be installed in Cyprus. EXERGIA was also contracted to review existing environmental studies and prepare the Preliminary Environmental Impact Assessment and the ESIA, according to national legislation and international standards (EBRD Performance Requirements and Equator Principles) for the Burgas – Alexandroupolis Crude Oil Pipeline (BAP) as well as the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) project, the Rivne – Kiev 750kV transmission line and the 2nd Backbone Electricity Transmission project in Ukraine. Several other pipeline or electricity transmission projects were studies in Bosnia, Albania, Serbia, Egypt and elsewhere.
Focusing on TAP, which is the largest private energy investment currently implemented in Greece, EXERGIA has been part of its environmental assessment continuously since 2010. We have been involved or managed the delivery of:
- The ESIA Scoping Report for the Western part (from Thessaloniki to the Albanian borders)
- The Preliminary EIA for the Western part
- The ESIA Scoping Report
- The full Integrated ESIA
In all these studies, we have deployed more than 50 highly specialized, senior staff of various disciplines, including:
- ESIA experts;
- biota expert (biologists, flora experts, ornithologists, mammals, reptiles and amphibians’ experts, bear experts, wolf experts, jackals experts, spermophilus experts etc.);
- freshwater ecologists;
- soil and landscape experts;
- noise specialists;
- atmospheric quality specialists;
- socio-economic experts (including stakeholder engagement specialists);
- cultural heritage specialists;
- health, safety and risks experts;
- household surveyors;
- GIS and cartography experts;
- regulatory and permitting experts, including ESIA regulatory advisers and NGO liaison experts.
Over these years, we have carried out numerous field missions (for ecological, socioeconomic and cultural heritage purposes) comprising over 300 days in the field, as well as over 60 stakeholder engagement meetings, 40 focus groups, 30 Key informant interviews and 10 validation workshops. All these were organized with due care of H&S and working conditions of our staff, exhibiting zero incidents record. Nowadays, EXERGIA is still working on the TAP project supporting project construction – preparing and submitting amendments to the ESIA, preparing Reinstatement and Reforestation Studies and completing pre-construction surveys in the field of ecology.