Ausgrid steps closer to net zero using 'blue gas' switchgear

Wednesday, 06 December, 2023 | Supplied by: Siemens Ltd

Ausgrid steps closer to net zero using 'blue gas' switchgear

Ausgrid is the first organisation in Australia to install Siemens’ blue gas insulated (GIS) medium-voltage switchgear which uses climate-neutral ‘clean air’ in replacement of F-gas.

Commonly used in industry, fluorinated greenhouse gases (F-gases) have high global warming potential (GWP). The SF6 (sulfur hexafluoride) variant that is traditionally used in insulation products is reported to have as much as 23,000 times the impact of CO2 on global warming.

As the electricity grid expands to cater for increased renewable energy, Ausgrid will use the blue GIS to help it reduce its carbon footprint while paving the way towards more sustainable grid infrastructure.

“Ausgrid’s vision is for communities to have the power in a resilient, affordable and net zero future. Net zero is a strategic priority for us, and technological innovation will help us make a positive and sustainable impact on our electricity network that benefits our communities, the country and the planet. Installing new technology, such as Siemens’ blue GIS switchgear, is a significant milestone. This switchgear, instead of using the potent greenhouse gas SF6, uses completely carbon-neutral ambient air. Every step towards net zero is important, and the positive impact of the electricity industry moving away from damaging SF6 cannot be understated,” said Craig Wilson, Ausgrid Sustainability Manager.

Siemens’ blue GIS encompasses primary and secondary switchgear, with a maximum rated voltage of 24 kV. Higher voltage ratings are under development. The overall footprint and dimensions of the blue GIS unit are identical to the SF6 versions, which allows for simple replacement.

Speaking on the announcement, Peter Halliday, CEO of Siemens Australia and New Zealand, said, “The electricity grids in Australia play a pivotal role in the nation’s journey to net zero. The current and future challenges can only be met through innovative technology. It’s great to see Ausgrid be the first in Australia to install our blue GIS. Australia’s contribution to global carbon emissions is just over 1% and we need to embrace technologies that get us there faster and even helps the nation go beyond 1%.”

Siemens’ blue portfolio is designed to enable modernisation and expansion of existing power grids at the highest levels of safety, reducing the ecological footprint without compromising on performance or economic feasibility.

Image caption: Ausgrid Sustainability Manager Craig Wilson with Siemens Australia and New Zealand CEO Peter Halliday.

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