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SPEN to trial ‘clean-air’ switchgear from Siemens in Glasgow

Image: SPEN.

Image: SPEN.

SP Energy Networks is to pilot new switchgear technology developed by Siemens that has the potential to reduce the volume of greenhouse gas used at its substations.

The installation of a 8DJH 12 switchgear ring main unit – the first in the UK – will mean the substation is able to operate without sulphur hexafluoride (SF6), which is used as an insulator for electrical equipment at substations. It therefore offers a climate-neutral alternative, utilising components from clean air instead.

Colin Taylor, director of processes and technology at SPEN said it was an “exciting development” in their work to reduce emissions, adding that the climate-neutral insulator also makes switchgear safer to handle and easier to recycle as well as reducing greenhouse gas emissions when compared to SF6.

“It’s a major step forward for us as we try new ways to achieve net zero carbon emissions and learnings from this trial will help us develop our grid system going forward as we continue to lead the way towards a greener, cleaner, more sustainable future.”

The trial will take place at the substation in MacLean Square in Glasgow, a site that is just across the River Clyde from the Scottish Event Campus where the COP26 event will take place this year.

It is working with the Blue Gas-Insulated Switchgear developer Siemens to have the technology delivered and installed by the end of summer 2021 it added, ahead of the conference where SPEN’s parent ScottishPower is a principal partner.

Jon Turner, head of Siemens' distribution systems businesses for GB and Ireland, added that they were “proud to work with SP Energy Networks to specify, manufacture and install the latest in ‘Clean Air’ switchgear technology from our Siemens Blue GIS range at their site in Glasgow".

“The climate-neutral insulation medium used, which is comprised exclusively of natural components from ambient air, is a game changer, removing the need for fluorinated gases and reducing SP Energy Network’s carbon risk.”

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