Electricity improves the overall quality of life and is essential to industrial activity and economic development. However, electricity generation, distribution and supply have a number of impacts on the environment, such as emissions to air or water, generation of waste and residues, and land use.
The power sector is continuously seeking to reduce those adverse effects. Electricity companies play an active role in the reduction of pollutant emissions to air, the sustainable management of water resources or of by-products and residues of electricity generation. They also strive to reduce the impacts of their activities on landscape and biodiversity.
These efforts are paying off. For instance, between 1980 and 2009 electricity generation in the EU-27 increased by 75%, but our sector's emissions of sulphur oxides (SO₂) and nitrous oxides (NOx) fell by around 80% and 57% respectively. Continued implementation of EU environmental legislation and progress towards a low-carbon society should lead to additional reductions.