United States
Environmental
Protection Agency
Office of Air and
Radiation (6202J)
EPA430-F-000-19
March 2002
SF6 Emissions Reduction
Partnership for Electric
Power Systems:
An  Opportunity for Industry


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What is SF6?
Sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) is a synthetic gas
used as an insulating medium in the electric
power industry. SF6 is also used as a cover
gas in the magnesium industry, for plasma
etching  in semiconductor manufacturing,
as a reactive gas in aluminum recycling to
reduce  porosity, as thermal and sound
insulation, and in atmospheric tracer studies
and medical applications.
             Southern Company is happy to be working
             with EPA in this voluntary partnership to
             track our SFe usage and doing our part to
             reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This is
             an excellent example of how industry and
             government can work together to address
             an issue in a way that's in the best interest
             of society. Southern Company has been
             reducing SF6 emissions for several years,
             and the opportunity to take part in this
            joint effort reaffirmed our belief that we
             were headed in the right direction and
             identified various ways in which we could
             improve upon our management ofSFe.

             Charles Goodman
             Senior Vice President, Research
             and Environmental Affairs
             Southern Company

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An  Effective
Insulator
The most common use for SFg, both
domestically and internationally,  is
as an electrical insulator in equip-
ment that transmits and distributes
electricity. Since the 1950s, the U.S.
electric power industry has used
SFg  because of its dielectric strength
and arc-quenching characteristics.
SFg  is used widely in gas-insulated
substations, circuit breakers, and
other switchgear.
A  Potent
Greenhouse  Gas
   is also a highly potent greenhouse
gas. Over a 100-year period, SFg is
23,900 times more effective at trap-
ping infrared radiation than an
equivalent amount of carbon dioxide.
With an atmospheric lifetime of
3,200 years, SFg is also a very stable
chemical. Because of its long
lifespan and high potency, even a
relatively small amount of SFg can
have a significant impact on global
climate change.

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Challenge
The electric power industry uses a significant
percentage of the SFg produced worldwide each
year. Under ideal operating conditions, SFg would
remain entirely contained within the transmission
and distribution equipment. However, during
real-world equipment operation, maintenance,
and SFg recycling activities, gas is emitted into
the atmosphere. Fugitive emissions of SFg can
escape from gas-insulated substations and
switchgear through seals, especially from older
equipment. It can  also be released during
equipment installation and when equipment is
opened for servicing.  In 1998, U.S. emissions
of SFgwere estimated at 10 million metric tons of
carbon equivalent  (MMTCE). A significant per-
centage of these emissions are attributable to
the electric power  industry.
  Recognizing our environmental and natural
  resource stewardship responsibility, we are pleased
  to be among the first electric utilities to join EPA's
  SFe Emissions Reduction Partnership for Electric
  Power Systems. Being a publicly owned utility, we
  feel especially responsible to set a leadership
  example through active corporate citizenship.

  Thomas W. Richards, RE.
  Director of Electric System
  Fort Pierce Utilities Authority

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Opportunity
                  \ Sft Emissions Reduction
            Partnership for Electric Power Systems
The SFg Emissions Reduction Partnership for
Electric Power Systems is a voluntary, non-
regulatory partnership between the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency and the electric
power industry aimed at reducing SFg emissions.
The partnership provides a forum for EPA and
the electric power industry to work together to
reduce SFg emissions to technically  and eco-
nomically feasible levels  thereby  helping to
avoid global climate change. The electric power
industry has an enormous opportunity to help
reduce the nation's SFg emissions through
cost-effective operational improvements and
equipment upgrades.

The SFg Emissions Reduction Partnership for
Electric Power Systems is  one of a suite of vol-
untary EPA programs working with industries
that emit the most potent of greenhouse gases.
EPA has also developed partnerships with the
aluminum industry (perfluorocarbons (PFCs)),
semiconductor manufacturers (PFCs, SFg, and
hydrofluorocarbons (MFCs)), and magnesium
producers and  casters
Participants in these programs value the flexi-
bility and benefits voluntary programs offer:
cost-effective pollution prevention, protection
of the environment, information sharing, and
positive company recognition.

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Partnership Benefits
   Protect the  environment
   The partnership provides an exciting opportunity for
   the electric power industry and EPA to work together
   to reduce SFg emissions and prevent global warming.
   Save  money
   The SFg Emissions Reduction Partnership for Electric
   Power Systems can help you improve your bottom
   line. SFg is a relatively expensive gas, so reducing
   emissions saves money. Through improvements in
   the leak rate of new electrical equipment, refurbishing
   of older equipment, and the use of efficient operation
   and maintenance techniques, utilities often find tech-
   nologically and economically feasible ways to reduce
   SFg emissions.
  The SF6 Emissions Reduction Partnership for Electric Power
  Systems is a win-win-win. The environment wins from the
  reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Cinergy wins by
  reducing the emission of an expensive gas and improving
  equipment operations. EPA and Cinergy win by forging a
  better relationship of mutual cooperation working
  towards the same goal.

  The SF6 Emissions Reduction Partnership for Electric Power
  Systems has solidified Cinergy's efforts for reducing SF6
  emissions. Cinergy was already interested in SFe emissions
  reduction, but the voluntary program has given Cinergy a
  coherent approach to implementing the reductions.

  Tammy L. Jett
  Senior Environmental Specialist
  Cinergy

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  Learn from others
  EPA will work with its partners to share information
  on best management practices and other issues that
  can help achieve the goals of the partnership. EPA
  will also sponsor periodic SFg conferences where
  partners and others from the industry can keep up-
  to-date on the latest developments in this area and
  learn from others.
  Enhance your public image

  EPA will provide opportunities for recognition of
  your organization's participation and efforts to
  reduce SFg emissions at industry events, in trade
  publications, and on EPA's Web site.
Since signing the MOU with the EPA, AEP has:
'  Reviewed its maintenance policy regarding SF6-containing
  equipment
  Implemented preventative maintenance programs to start
  reducing gas leakage rates
  Enhanced its training program on proper handling of
  SF6 gas
  Utilized laser imaging leak detection technology

These efforts to reduce SF6 emissions have paid for themselves
through avoided gas purchases. Future savings from equip-
ment tested to date, estimated at $20,000, will be realized
by not having to purchase replacement gas. Subsequent leak
detection and equipment repair/replacement will increase
savings even more. Replacing older, high-volume equipment
with new low-volume equipment will reduce the amount of
SFe gas purchased. Annual savings of $50,000 are projected.

Dale E. Heydlauff
Senior Vice President
Environmental Affairs
American Electric Power

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Joining the Partnership
To become a partner you need to sign a Memorandum of
Understanding (MOU).The MOU  is an agreement between the
partner and EPA that details the roles and responsibilities of
both EPA and the partner. EPA developed the MOU with signifi-
cant industry input in order to make it flexible and user-friendly.
It is up to the partner to determine what emission reduction
actions are technically and economically feasible for its operation.
                                       Through participation
                                       in EPA's SF6 partner-
                                       ship, we have found
                                       that tracking our SF6
                                       leak rate and
                                       reclaiming processes
                                       is easier than we
                                       had imagined. By
                                       working with EPA
                                       on a voluntary basis,
                                       we have cut our gas
                                       emissions to an all-
                                       time minimum.
                                       Management has
                                       been working with
                                       us to replace the
                                       older leaking equip-
                                       ment that we have
                                       on our system.

                                       Michael Mahurin,
                                       General Foreman
                                       Bill  Icke, Assistant
                                       General Foreman
                                       San Antonio City
                                       Public Service

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EPA Responsibilities:
   Act as a clearinghouse for technical information on successful strate-
   gies to reduce SFe emissions
   Provide partners with recognition for their achievements in reducing SFe
   emissions
   Provide a credibe repository for data on the emissions reduction
   achievements of the partners
   Work to obtain commitments from all electric power system operators
   to join the partnership
Partner  Responsibilities:
   Annually inventory emissions of SFe using standardized inventory pro-
   tocol
   Establish a strategy for replacing oder, leakier pieces of eguipment
   Implement SFe recycling
   Ensure that only trained personne handle SFe
   Submit annual progress reports

The tracking and reporting scheme  implemented under the
SFe Partnership will enable companies to document early
contribution to the prevention of global climate change.

Eighteen months after joining.  Partners agree to set an
emissions reduction goal that they determine to be technically
and economically feasible.

Many partner utilities have aggressive programs in place.

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Partners
                                                              as of 3/02
Allegheny Power
American Electric Power*
Athens Electric Department*
Austin Energy
Bangor Hydro-Electric Company*
Big Rivers Electric Corporation*
Bonneville Power Administration*
Central Maine Power*
Central Vermont Public Service
    Corporation*
Cinergy Services, Inc., on behalf of
    The Cincinnati Gas & Electric
    Company and PSI Energy, Inc.*
City Light, Water & Cable*
City of Monroe
Columbia River PUD*
Commonwealth Edison*
Commonwealth Electric*
Connecticut Light and Power
    Company*
Consolidated Edison Company of
    New York*
Crisp County Power Commission*
Duquesne Light Company*
Edison International
El Paso Electric Company*
Eugene Water & Electric Board*
FirstEnergy Corporation*
Florida Power & Light Company*
Fort Pierce Utilities Authority*
GPU Energy*
Grand Island Utilities Department*
Hastings Utilities*
Kings River Conservation District*
Lower Colorado River Authority
Maine Public Service Company*
Manitowoc Public Utilities*
Menasha Electric and Water
    Utilities*
Montana Power Company
Muscatine Power & Water*
Nashville Electric Service
Nebraska Public Power District
New York Power Authority
Niagara Mohawk Power Corp
North Atlantic Energy Service
    Corporation*
Northeast Utilities Services
    Company*
Northern Indiana Public Service
    Company
OG&E Electric Services*
PG & E Corporation*
Public Service Company of
    New Hampshire*
PUD No. 1 of Douglas County
PUD No. 1 of Pend Oreille County*
Reliant Energy HL & P*
Rochester Gas  & Electric
Salt River Project*
San Antonio City Public Service*
Silicon Valley Power
South Carolina Electric & Gas
    Company
Southern Company*
Southwestern Electric Power
    Company*
Tennessee Valley Authority
Texas Municipal Power Agency*
The Memphis Light, Gas & Water
    Division
Town of Wallingford*
TXU*
Village of Prairie du Sac*
Wellton-Mohawk Irrigation &
    Drainage District*
West Texas Utilities*
Western Massachusetts Electric
    Company*
Wisconsin Electric Power
    Company*

* Charter Partners

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Contact Information
Visit the Web site of the SFg Emissions Reduction Partnership for Electric
Power System at www.epa.gov/highgwp1/sf6 for more information and
to download a copy of the partnership MOU.

If you  have any additional questions, please contact:

                Jerome Blackman
                Program Manager
                U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
                MC 6205J
                1200 Pennsylvania, NW
                Washington, DC 20460

                Tel. 202-564-8995
                Fax. 202-565-2155
                blackmanjerome@epa.gov

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