Large-scale infrastructure projects are inextricably linked to the environment where they are located, their purpose being the development of the territory and the improvement of living conditions.
Our projects are mainly devoted to enhancing the accessibility and economic potential of territories – through energy and transport infrastructure, as well as improving the public utility services – through hydraulic engineering works, civil buildings such as hospitals, universities, government facilities, and cultural centres.
In designing and delivering our projects, we have an important role to play in terms of environmental sustainability, ensuring a positive contribution to tackling the global challenges that face today’s societies, such as climate change and increasing pollution in urban areas.
Tackling climate change
High consumption of fossil fuels is widely recognised as the primary cause of global warming, which in turn leads to a rise in anomalous weather patterns, rising sea levels, increased catastrophic flooding, and the spread of pests and diseases that were previously limited to the tropics.
For the construction sector, climate change poses significant challenges, from the requirement for infrastructure that is resilient to more frequent natural disasters, to developing renewable energy solutions such as hydroelectric plants that reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Thus through our projects we play an important role in combatting climate change. Our worldwide leadership in the water sector rests on a track record of 230 hydroelectric projects completed with an installed capacity of more than 37,200 MW. We continue to play our part, with 12 ongoing hydroelectric projects in 11 countries with a new expected capacity of 12,660 MW.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) forecasts that global installed hydropower capacity will grow, reaching 2,000 GW by 2050 and preventing annual emissions up to 3 billion tonnes of CO2 from fossil-fuel plants. All regions have significant undeveloped potential, beginning with Africa (92%), Asia and Oceania (80%) and Latin America (74%) to North America (61%) and Europe (47%)3: all areas where Salini Impregilo has a solid presence and has successfully delivered significant hydropower projects.
In early 2015 we delivered the hydroelectric power plant for the city of Sogamoso, in Colombia, one of the country's four major plants, having a generation capacity of 820 MW of power, equal to about 10% of the country's annual energy requirement.
Most of our projects have been in developing countries, boosting energy generation capacity, which in turn fuels the economic potential of these areas. Reliable electricity and lower energy costs provide a fundamental boost to rising business opportunities, for both local and international enterprises, with direct positive impacts in terms of job creation and social wellbeing.
Fighting urban air pollution
It is estimated that more than one billion people are exposed to outdoor air pollution annually, with significant consequences for the health of urban populations and public accounts4.
Over 90% of air pollution in cities around the world is attributed to vehicle emissions, mostly caused by the high number of older vehicles, coupled with poor vehicle maintenance, inadequate infrastructure, and low-quality fuel.
Most urban infrastructure was not designed to meet the needs of a rapidly increasing population, and the result is traffic congestion and poor public transport services, which in turn affect quality of life and local economies.
We contribute to the development of solutions that address changing population needs and resolve air-pollution problems in urban areas. In addition to our underground metro projects – which ensure sustainable mobility solutions for millions of people without generating the classic emissions and pollution created by private vehicles – we also develop urban road projects geared to reducing congestion in the more densely populated areas, directly improving traffic flow and environmental conditions.
The potential for these kinds of projects around the world is enormous, and in this particular area of activity Salini Impregilo is ideally positioned to compete in the global arena and continue to help territories improve their infrastructure and environmental conditions.
3. Technology roadmap: hydropower, IEA, 2012
4. It is estimated that urban air pollution is linked to up to one million premature deaths and one million pre-natal deaths each year, while urban air pollution costs approximately 2% of GDP in developed countries and 5% in developing countries. Source: United Nations Environment Programme