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Environmental Footprint Grid Solutions has a strong culture of environmental management, focused on
exceeding regulatory compliance and performing energy, gas, water and waste
initiatives at our operational sites.

Environmental Footprint
CARBON NEUTRAL

GE Renewable Energy announced the pledge to make all operations – across wind, hydro, energy storage and grid – carbon neutral by the end of 2020.

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Carbon Neutral GE Renewable Energy 2020
ISO
GLOBAL CERTIFICATIONS

Since May 2019, GE's Grid Solutions business has achieved two global certifications:

  • Quality: ISO 9001:2015
  • EHS: ISO 14002:2015 and ISO 45001:2015

These certifications cover design, engineering, software & automation development, project management (including turnkey projects), manufacturing, testing, construction, erection, commissioning, technical training and service related activities, for systems and equipment in the field of electrical grids and communications.

QUALITY & EHS

Quality & EHS is the responsibility of every single employee of GE’s Grid Solutions. Leadership is committed to driving this behavior at all levels of the organization:

  • Communicating the importance of meeting customer and regulatory requirements
  • Deploying the Quality & EHS Policies
  • Ensuring that the business has all the resources it needs to achieve the goals of the QMS
  • Establishing measurable and relevant quality & EHS objectives that enhance customer satisfaction and protect people and the environment
  • Conducting management and business reviews at appropriate levels within the organization
EMPLOYEE INVOLVEMENT

GE is committed to involving consultation and participation of workers in its strategy.

GE’s Grid Solutions strives to provide and promote a safe and healthy working environment, use natural resources and energy in a sustainable way and avoid an adverse impact to employees and contractors, our customers, the environment and the communities in which we do business. This includes improving energy efficiency at all our sites, increasing our use of renewable energy, reducing SF₆ leakages, reducing our CO₂ logistics footprint, reducing energy consumption at customer sites during project phase and making work commuting and business travel more sustainable.

Main Initiatives

Our employees are engaged all over the world in reducing our environmental footprint. In Grid Solutions, we decided to focus our actions in four main areas: greenhouse gases, energy, water and waste. We closely monitor our performance in these areas to identify trends that will help us improve our performance.

To support our goals we began thinking beyond regulatory compliance, made a strong commitment to the environment, and outlined actions with concrete and achievable objectives in 4 key areas that we consider to be the most relevant for our activities:

GREENHOUSE GAS
INITIATIVES
ENERGY
INITIATIVES
WATER
INITIATIVES
WASTE
INITIATIVES
Greenhouse Gas Initiatives

Grid Solutions monitored and deployed a GHG footprint program to measure and reduce its GHG emissions. For Grid Solutions, the most important stake in GHG emissions lies on SF₆ management: SF₆ emissions amount to 80% of Grid Solutions’ direct emissions.

SF₆ is used in high and medium voltage switchgear to ensure top performance in arc breaking and insulation. Unfortunately, it is also tied to global warming. We are therefore committed to:

  • Reducing SF₆ emissions at our sites
  • Training our customers to reduce their own emissions
  • Reducing the volume of SF₆ within our products

In addition, Grid Solutions has developed an SF₆-free alternative for high-voltage substation equipment. It is called g³ (Green Gas for Grid).

The gas mass of g³ high-voltage products has more than a 99% reduced CO₂ equivalent compared to SF₆ products.

SF₆ and Climate Change

Greenhouse gases (GHG) are at the root of the “greenhouse effect”, which is causing climate change throughout the world due to dramatically increased emissions.

There are 6 direct GHG listed in the Kyoto Protocol:

  • CO₂, mainly from fossil fuel consumption
  • CH₄,N₂O, mainly from agriculture
  • PFCs, HFCs and SF₆, mainly from industry

Although the physical quantity of SF₆ in the atmosphere is very small, it presents a very high global warming potential: 23,500 times higher than CO₂. This means that SF₆ has the ability to absorb 23,500 times more infra-red radiation than carbon dioxide.

Therefore it is by far one of the most critical of the greenhouse gases and the emission of SF₆ into the atmosphere must be reduced as much as possible.

SF₆ has no impact on ozone depletion but has significant effect on climate change.

80% used in Transmission Industry
10,000 tons installed annually in HV equipment
It remains 2000 years in the atmosphere
20% increase in atmospheric concentration over past 5 years
Example of SF₆ tracking device in Aix-les-Bains (France): Infrared Camera
SF₆ Leak Reduction

To respect SF₆ leak detection commitments, sites have set up various devices to detect any potential leakages. Thanks to leakage detection devices and the implementation of best practices with gas handling, SF₆ emissions into the atmosphere are globally decreasing.

Early detection of leakage is a key to minimizing SF₆ emission into the atmosphere and protecting the environment. Sites apply a variety of available methods for SF₆ leakage detection.

  • Warning device to help reducing SF₆ emissions in areas with products containing SF₆
  • Quantitative gas monitoring system to permanently measure the concentration of SF₆ in air samples
  • Instrumentation for high sensitivity trace gas leak detection and leak measurement

Portable IR cameras are an example of sensitive instrumentation used during periodic inspection of SF₆ containers and products. By capturing and visualizing the wavelength of SF₆ gas, IR cameras are able to find leaks so small that they cannot be detected by the general alarms situated within equipment. In cases where a site SF₆ alarm is triggered, IR cameras can be used to help quickly detect the exact position of a leak.

All personnel who handle or fill SF₆ are trained and certified. Grid Solutions is approved by the French ministry to organize assessments of personnel who recover SF₆ from high-voltage switchgear and issue certifications recognized across the European Union. GE sites have also invested in industry leading leakage monitoring and alarm systems at workstation where SF₆ is used, with SF₆ recovery units having a recovery capacity of 1 mb, much lower than the regulatory minimum of 20 mb.

Reduction of SF₆ Volume in Products

From the mid-sixties, gas-insulated switchgear (GIS) size and thus SF₆ quantities have been reduced by more than 80% thanks to the evolution of circuit-breaker technology. However, now that GIS size has been optimized, it is increasingly difficult for new generations to reduce the quantity of SF₆.

Despite these challenges, through its eco-design approach, Grid Solutions is continuously working to find innovative solutions to reduce both SF₆ mass and the length of their product seals, contributing to directly reducing the SF₆ emissions of its customers. One such example is the 13% reduction of SF₆ mass and 11% reduction of seals length for the new 252 kV GIS, compared to the former generation.

From a systemic point of view, the GHG balance of SF₆ in a gas-insulated substation compared to an air-insulated substation is interesting: SF₆ insulated electrical equipment, thanks to its compact design, allows higher voltage networks to be brought closer to urban consumers. This means that it minimizes the energy losses associated with the transmission and distribution of electricity.

Customer training on SF₆

Grid Solutions is committed to transferring knowledge and technical expertise to its customers. Our Technical Institute provides various SF₆ and environmental risk management trainings. For more details, visit our technical training page or access our online training and modular training catalogues.

To evaluate and certify workers from across the industry involved in recovering SF₆ gas from high and medium voltage switchgear, the Technical Institute offer different training programs relating to the use of SF₆ gases and adapted to applicant experience.

The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) has edited a standard, ref. IEC 62271-4, regarding SF₆ and alternative gas handling on all electric power equipment. Grid Solutions Technical Institute can train and certify your team in compliance with IEC standard (worldwide) and EC 517-2014 regulation (Europe).

Both training and certification sessions comprise theoretical content and hands-on on real equipment, including gas-insulated switchgear and air-insulated switchgear.

For more information, please contact us.

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Energy Initiatives

Site energy consumption is both an environmental and economic issue for Grid Solutions, and as such, we have launched a program of actions to identify, quantify and reduce energy consumption. Our objective is to reduce energy intensity of Grid Solutions activity by 3% annually.

To support this objective, we’ve launched numerous site initiatives:

  • Warning device to help reducing SF₆ emissions in areas with products containing SF₆
  • Quantitative gas monitoring system to permanently measure the concentration of SF₆ in air samples
  • Instrumentation for high sensitivity trace gas leak detection and leak measurement
ENERGY TREASURE HUNT

An Energy Treasure Hunt (ETH) raises awareness of energy challenges at every level of the company. It is an approach based on Lean and Kaizen principles to deliver reduced energy consumption and improved energy efficiency. Moreover, ETH gives a general concept (energy saving) an exact reading (savings in both kWh and equipment).

Employees from all areas of the business are fully involved in the operation, participating in different phases of the assessment.

Water Initiatives

Reducing water consumption is an important improvement area in Grid Solutions sites, including factories, construction sites and offices. Here are some examples of Grid Solutions’ water initiatives:

  • Rain water collection and storage
  • Advanced monitoring of water leaks
  • Implementation of waterless amenities
  • Campaign on eco-responsible water consumption gestures
Waste Initiatives

Waste management has an environmental impact for industrial enterprises and waste recovery is a specific area of Grid Solutions' commitment to reduce its carbon footprint. Each site is encouraged to follow the waste management pyramid. This pyramid of priority setting Is built around preventing and reducing waste production, recycling, reuse and recovery.

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