ABB and UK Power Networks switch to a sustainable future

ABB and UK Power Networks switch to a sustainable future with the world’s first 36 kV double bus bar AirPlus™ switchgear.
UK Power Networks team up with ABB shaking hands and smiling
UK Power Networks, which provides power to 8.3 million homes and businesses, has commissioned ABB to supply the world’s first 36 kV medium-voltage double busbar AirPlus Gas Insulated Switchgear (GIS). It features AirPlus gas, which acts as an insulator between the electrical contacts with almost zero global warming impact.

As part of its Environmental Action Plan to pass on a sustainable planet for future generations, the UK’s biggest electricity distributor, UK Power Networks has announced plans to use AirPlus, ABB’s innovative sustainable alternative to SF6 switchgear, at its substation in Kent.

As Europe moves towards tighter regulation on the traditional gas (SF6,) used in switchgear, ABB’s AirPlus provides an alternative. Unlike SF6, which is a potent greenhouse gas with a global warming potential 23,500 times greater than that of carbon dioxide (CO2)), ABB’s AirPlus gas has almost zero global warming impact. It is designed to drive high reliability and fulfil upcoming environmental regulations for segments like utilities.

Barry Hatton, director of asset management at UK Power Networks, said: “We have clear goals to reduce the environmental impact of our operations and help enable the country’s transition to net zero carbon emissions, while maintaining reliable electricity supplies for more than eight million homes and businesses. Our new AirPlus switchgear supports our strategy and delivery of our Environmental Action Plan.”

Commenting on the installation, Alessandro Palin, President of ABB’s Distribution Solutions division explained: “As part of our 2030 Sustainability Strategy, ABB is committed to helping customers and suppliers reduce their emissions. AirPlus is a key part of this strategy, and we are proud to work together with utilities such as UK Power Networks to make the switch to eco alternatives, that not only provide reliable power but will also protect our planet. A pioneer in this field, ABB has installed thousands of SF6-free solutions globally. Moving from SF6 to an SF6-free portfolio is an important milestone towards enabling a low carbon society.”  

A complete switchgear solution will be delivered to the company’s substation in Dartford, Kent, before the end of 2021.

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