News | October 7, 2021

Austrian Region Styria Gets Sustainable, Future-Proof Power Distribution From Siemens

  • Medium-voltage switchgear at Münichtal substation uses clean air technology
  • Innovative insulating medium consists of components from ambient air
  • Fluorine gas-free power distribution solution enhances sustainability of Energie Steiermark Group

The Münichtal substation of Energie Steiermark Group in Austria now has a sustainable medium-voltage switchgear from Siemens. The power distribution system has been in operation since the end of 2020 and has just been officially handed over to the customer after a trial period. This is the first installation of fluorine-gas free switchgear from Siemens’ climate-friendly blue portfolio at a customer site in Austria. 

The main task of this gas-insulated medium-voltage switchgear (GIS) is to distribute power economically and safely. The switchgear uses the climate-neutral Clean Air insulation medium, which consists exclusively of natural components of the ambient air. This new technological innovation from Siemens not only eliminates SF6 as insulation medium but any gas mixture based on fluorine. As a result, the new switchgear reduces the carbon footprint of the grid operator's equipment installation. Other benefits include easy and safe handling of the switchgear and effortless recycling at the end of its service life. In addition to the high level of environmental compatibility, digital applications make the new equipment future-proof and cost-efficient for the grid of tomorrow.

“The sustainability of our infrastructure is key to the success of the energy transition,” said Martin Graf, Member of the Board of Energie Steiermark. “In total, we’re planning to invest more than 600 million euros in our grids in the coming years. This project is another step towards upgrading our central grid components in an environmentally friendly manner and in cooperation with a highly competent industry partner. One of the key challenges for us is to be able to properly feed in renewable energy from distributed generation units in all parts of the country. This requires regional, smart and sustainable solutions – just like in this project.”

Sustainability plays a major role in energy generation. More than 80 percent of the electricity in Austria is generated from renewable energy sources. “In addition to the environmentally friendly generation of electric power, climate-friendly distribution is becoming increasingly important. For this reason, we are pleased to support our customer Energie Steiermark Group in decarbonizing its operations using our sustainable technologies. Switchgear is a key component for safe, reliable and efficient power distribution in all grid structures. That is why it plays an important role in the infrastructure of today and tomorrow,” said Gerd Pollhammer, Head of Siemens Smart Infrastructure CEE.

Switchgear is used in public and industrial energy grids to feed energy from the electrical transmission grid into the distribution grid and distribute it further. Distribution grid structures and switchgear must adapt to the requirements arising from increasingly distributed renewable energy sources as well as prosumers. This makes load flows more complex, bidirectional, and more difficult to control.

The 8DAB 12 gas-insulated switchgear is part of the Siemens blue GIS portfolio. Clean Air technology insulates the live conductors inside the hermetically sealed switchgear. This insulation medium is composed exclusively of natural elements in the ambient air, such as nitrogen or oxygen. This means that no special equipment is required, as is the case when handling fluorine gases or fluorine gas mixtures. As a result, the switchgear is easy to handle throughout its life cycle. In addition, there is no time-consuming mandatory reporting of the gas quantities used and emissions – today or tomorrow. The sustainable blue GIS portfolio from Siemens retains all the proven benefits of gas-insulated switchgear from Siemens using SF6 technology, including personnel safety, compact size, cost effectiveness, reliability, long service life, and maintenance-free operation.

Source: Siemens