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Australia’s energy sector must accelerate efforts to mitigate the dangers of sulphur hexafluoride (SF6), one of the most harmful greenhouse gases.

Eaton ANZ general manager for power distribution, Kevin Nesdale, said SF6 is 23,500 times more potent than CO2.

Nesdale said it remains in the atmosphere for 3,200 years.

“Despite this it is widely used in the electrical industry within switchgear, from large thermal power stations to renewable generation to electrical sub-stations, to insulate and switch electricity,” he said.

“Last year, the European Union released a report detailing the alternatives to SF6 in switchgear and related equipment in a bid to phase out the gas.

“The EU is seeking to cut harmful greenhouse gas emissions by two-thirds between 2014 and 2030.”

Nesdale said international markets are making strides to leverage SF6-free technology.

“Now it is time for Australia to act otherwise we risk seeing this hugely hazardous and unintended consequence of the green energy boom continue to negatively impact international efforts to manage global warming.”

Nesdale commended last week’s Federal Budget and the government’s investment of $1.6 billion to fund and prioritise clean energy technologies.

“The government is adopting low emission technologies to reduce emissions but that commitment should include SF6,” he said.

“The Budget speaks of a nation that will play a leading global role by partnering with other nations to accelerate the commercialisation of low emissions technologies. So, now’s the time to make this a reality and set the scene for SF6-free technology to become the norm for Australian industry.”

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