SSEN Transmission announced it has awarded a contract to GE Renewable Energy’s Grid Solutions business (NYSE-GE) to manufacture, deliver and commission a 420 kilovolt (kV) Green Gas for Grid (g³) gas-insulated substation (GIS) at its new Kintore 400 kV substation in Aberdeenshire, on the north-east coast of Scotland. This will support SSEN Transmission in moving a step closer to reaching its carbon reduction targets by building the transmission infrastructure necessary to connect and transport renewable energy, while avoiding the addition of about 350,000 tons of CO₂ equivalent to the grid.
The 420 kV g³ circuit breaker at the core of the substation is being co-funded over a two-year period by the EU’s LIFE Programme dedicated to climate change. SSEN Transmission joined GE’s LifeGRID project earlier this year to contribute to the specification of the circuit breaker’s main performance requirements.
GE’s g³ technology is a game-changing alternative to sulphur hexafluoride (SF₆), an insulating and switching gas that has been used for decades in high-voltage substation equipment. Identified as the world’s most potent greenhouse gas by the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, SF₆ is estimated to contribute 23,500 times more emissions than CO₂, if leaked, and can remain in the atmosphere for up to 3,200 years.
Commenting on the ground-breaking development, Rob McDonald, Managing Director of Transmission, said: “Tackling climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our generation and we are serious about our commitment to take direct and meaningful action to reduce our own impacts, as demonstrated by our world leading emission reduction targets.”
While SSEN Transmission’s most material contribution to action against climate change is enabling the transition to a low carbon economy, the Scottish utility is also determined to tackle its own emissions. SSEN Transmission has set an ambitious goal to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by one third by 2026, making SSEN Transmission the world’s first electricity networks company to receive external accreditation for a Science Based Target in line with a 1.5°C global warming pathway.
”SSEN Transmission’s 420 kV g³ gas insulated substation order is further proof of the market’s acceptance of our technology as a game-changing alternative to SF₆,” said Heiner Markhoff, CEO of Grid Solutions. “Because 420 kV is the highest voltage level used in Europe, it will demonstrate the scalability of GE’s g³ for all standard voltage levels,”
g³ products feature the same high performance and reliability as SF₆ equipment but with a greatly reduced impact on the environment over their lifetime. According to life-cycle assessments (LCAs), based on international ISO 14040/14044 tandards, their CO2 equivalent impact is reduced by 99%, compared to SF₆. At the same time, because g³ products have the same compact dimensions as SF₆ products, there is no increase in emissions during the manufacturing process due to additional material.
SSEN Transmission is one of 21 leading utilities in Europe – along with UK’s National Grid, France’s RTE and Germany’s TenneT – that have chosen GE’s g³ equipment to help reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. Together, these utilities are avoiding the addition of more than 900,000 tons of CO₂ equivalent to the grid.
The 420 kV g³ substation is SSEN Transmission’s fourth g³ order. Last year, SSEN Transmission ordered the construction of a 1-km long g³-gas insulated line at its New Deer substation, as well as a 145 kV g³-gas insulated substation and a 420 kV g³ gas-insulated busbar for its Fort Augustus site.
“We have been working closely with GE over the past 18 months and are extremely proud to support the research and development of this innovative and world leading new technology. By leading the industry in the drive to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, we hope we can build on this partnership and encourage even greater action and industry
cooperation to support the transition to net zero emissions,” added McDonald.
GE’s ground-breaking g³ technology is a culmination of dedicated research and development efforts from teams in France, Germany and Switzerland, in collaboration with the 3M Company.