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3 Big Changes to SF6 Reporting Rules

On June 21st 2022, the Environmental Protection Agency published their proposed updates to the GHG reporting rule. In its current form, the new proposal would mean big changes for the way SF6 is reported here in the United States. Let’s review some keep points:

Lower Thresholds for Reporting

Under the current Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program, owners and operators of electric power system facilities with a total nameplate capacity that exceeds 17,820 lbs (7,838 kg) of sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) and/or perfluorocarbons (PFCs) must report emissions of SF6 and/or PFCs from the use of electrical transmission and distribution equipment. The EPA is now proposing to include SF6-Alternative gases into the calculation, and switch to a combined 25,000 metric tons carbon dioxide equivalent (mtCO2e). In a nutshell, each insulating gas has a CO2 emission equivalent number that will be used to determine when the threshold is met.

The 25,000 metric tons carbon dioxide equivalent may sound like a large number, but in terms of SF6, that equates to only 2,418 pounds as the new threshold. That’s an 86% decrease in the new reporting threshold, signaling a big shift in sentiment towards the future of SF6. To read more on this, start on page 81 of the Federal Register Document.

Optional Nameplate Adjustment Procedure

As many people know, the GIE nameplate capacity and actual capacity often do not agree.  It becomes most obvious when decommissioning GIE. For example, a piece of GIE shows 100 lbs SF6 capacity listed on the nameplate. Mr. Technician is tasked to decommission the GIE and is only able to recover 92 lbs, even after following all of the proper procedures. Now during annual reporting, this will be shown as an 8 lbs emission. This is commonly referred to as a “phantom emission”, because according to the formula, that 8 lbs of “missing” gas has to be an emission. There can be many reasons that a nameplate capacity doesn’t match the actual capacity, including:

  • Weight is based on the theoretical volume of GIE.
  • Revisions to equipment without updating capacity, ex: different bushings. 
  • Inaccurate density/pressure gauges. 

Based on the feedback from utilities, The EPA recognized that inaccuracies in the nameplate seemed to be the norm, not the exception. That is why they are proposing an optional procedure for equipment larger than 38Kv that can help alleviate this issue. To read the details of the procedure, go to page 190 of the Federal Register Document. If you are looking for equipment to perform this new procedure, we have developed custom pressure/temperature gauges, mass flow meters, scales, and other tech that has been in service with California utilities that are already performing these procedures.

Equipment Tolerances

Measuring devices used to measure the nameplate capacity of electrical equipment under this proposed rule change must meet the following accuracy and precision requirements:

  • Flow Meters: must be certified by the manufacturer to be accurate and precise to within one percent of the largest value that the flow meter can, according to the manufacturer’s specifications, accurately record. Check out our Sentry Mass Flow Meter below, that has an accuracy of ± 0.01 LBS
  • Pressure Gauges must be certified by the manufacturer to be accurate and precise to within 0.5% of the largest value that the gauge can, according to the manufacturer’s specifications, accurately record.
  • Temperature gauges must be certified by the manufacturer to be accurate and precise to within +/-1.0 °F.
  • Check out our Precision Pressure & Temperature Gauge below, which can be bought standalone, or in a custom adapter kit like the one pictured.
  • Scales must be certified by the manufacturer to be accurate and precise to within one percent of the true weight. Check out our newest Cylinder Weight Scale design that is designed for portability and ergonomics:




Timelines:

Comments on the new proposed rule are due by August 22nd, 2022. As of right now, there is no official date of when these changes will go into effect due to the review process.

If you have questions about SF6 equipment or any of the new proposed rules, reach out to us at sales@gasquip.com

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