The results are in: sustainability is top of mind for utilities. A number of studies have found that both utilities and external industry stakeholders have identified issues like emissions and climate change as priorities. In fact, in the study “A New Era of Sustainability in the Utilities industry” led by Accenture, an impressive 92% of interviewed CEOs from the utility industry reported that sustainability issues will be important to the future success of their business and 96% said that their company will employ new technologies to address sustainability issues.
To accomplish these goals, utilities must find solutions that can be adapted to the rapidly changing industry. These include building cost-effective, environmentally-friendly operations while addressing other areas of business that can improve sustainability like increasing digitization, supporting the rising rate of local production, and continuing to support growth for emerging needs, such as building a charging infrastructure.
Carbon footprint-reduction efforts will need to extend beyond the more traditional methods like increasing renewable resource use. Now multi-faceted approaches that include maximizing digitization as well as examining potential sustainability gains from an equipment perspective, such as updating, retrofitting, and adopting new environmentally friendly technology.
For example, E.ON, the largest electrical distribution grid operator in Sweden, is committed to adopting digital and environmental innovations that will also preserve the environment — with the broader aim of converting to 100% renewable and recycled energy by 2025. Avoiding SF6 use is an important step toward the company’s goal of minimizing greenhouse house gas emissions.
SF6 has long been used for its trusted insulation proprieties in electric current interruption devices like switchgear. However, it is a man-made greenhouse gas with a high global warming potential (GWP). To put that into perspective, on average, 1 kg of SF6 has the same impact of 23,500 kg of CO2. Now innovative new medium voltage air-insulated switchgear by Schneider Electric can replace SF6 with pure air. The environmental impact of such technology could quickly make a difference.
E.ON provides a great example of how electricity companies can reduce their SF6 use. It is currently piloting medium voltage SF6-free technology — powered by air and digital — as part of its distribution grid substations. Already E.ON has found that SF6-free switchgear by Schneider Electric is a successful alternative to SF6 – meeting the company’s safety and sustainability requirements, while also being economically advantageous, durable, and environmentally friendly.
As E.ON has demonstrated, the realm of green energy is constantly broadening with more opportunities to meet environmental targets using innovative, green technology that can deliver clean energy while also providing customers with a cost-effective solution.
Discover how E.ON is embracing the SF6-free transition: Read the full report now.