Leading the way to a SF6-free future

A wind-industry first, Siemens Gamesa commits to the phase-out of SF6 greenhouse gas

Wind energy is one of energy sources in the world with the lowest carbon footprint per kWh of electricity, and Siemens Gamesa is committed to lowering this even further. Our company has a target to become climate positive by 2040 by eliminating greenhouse gases from our entire value chain. As part of this strategy, Siemens Gamesa is committed to eliminating sulfur hexafluoride, or SF6, from our products.
Sustainability Department

SF6, is a colorless, odorless, synthetic gas which is used as an effective insulating material for medium and high-voltage electrical installations to prevent short-circuits and accidents. In the wind industry it is used in switchgear, a standard component in any electrical management device – basically a safe on/off switch.

On the downside, the SF6 gas has also been identified as one of the world’s most potent greenhouse gases which stays in the atmosphere and warms the earth for at least 1.000 years. This greenhouse gas stands in the way of achieving the EU’s and Siemens Gamesa’s net zero target and there is currently a legislative proposal about a complete phase-out in switchgear by 2030 by the European Commission.  


Siemens Gamesa strongly supports this goal and has therefore decided to go first in the wind industry no matter if a ban comes or not – committing to phase out the SF6 gas in all new installations as soon as possible and no later than 2030 for medium voltage and should be replaced with alternatives with a global warming potential less than 10. For high voltage, Siemens Gamesa continues to use SF6-free solutions, but strongly supports also a regulatory ban by 2028 for solutions with a global warming potential more than 10.

"Siemens Gamesa continues its way towards sustainability and calls to action for a SF6 free-future. The clear commitment to a decarbonized economy will become more and more important in being part of our value chain. We are encouraging our suppliers to join us and provide clean solutions to power our lives.,” said Tim Dawidowsky, Siemens Gamesa COO and Chief Sustainability Officer.

“We are working closely with our supply chain and have already made significant strides. We installed our first turbines with SF6 free switchgear more than five years ago and have installed hundreds of these units using a clean air solution with no global warming risk. We no longer use SF6 switchgear in any of our new offshore units and we want this option with low global warming potential for our entire portfolio”, concludes Tim Dawidowsky.

So far, so good. The high-voltage offshore turbines were a significant first step, but the medium-voltage segment, mainly used for the onshore portfolio, proves a greater challenge as there is currently no SF6-free alternative for the voltage range and size required here. Siemens Gamesa is proactively engaged with our suppliers to solve this challenge and aims to have first version of a SF6 free switchgear for the medium-voltage applications used in Siemens Gamesa onshore wind turbines by the mid-2020s.


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