The ‘world’s most potent’ greenhouse gas leaked during work at Seagreen offshore wind farm in the North Sea and forced workers to leave the project, it has emerged.
It has been reported that in June, sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) escaped and nearly 80 workers on a platform at the project had to move to another platform.
Experts say the SF6, widely used as an electrical insulation, is the most potent greenhouse gas.
Seagreen is a joint venture between SSE and TotalEnergies.
Last month, Scottish ministers gave the go-ahead to plans to maximise the renewable energy potential of Seagreen, Scotland’s largest and the ‘world’s deepest’ fixed-based offshore wind farm.
A Petrofac spokesperson told ELN: “On 13th June during work undertaken by a sub-contractor, 11 kilograms of insulating gas was emitted from a transformer platform Petrofac is constructing 27 kilometres off the Angus coast.
“Standard systems and procedures were immediately activated and site access restricted as a precautionary measure.
“Although the volume of carbon dioxide equivalent did not meet the threshold for reporting, Petrofac documented and shared all lessons with relevant stakeholders, including the HSE and Marine Scotland.”
Jake Molloy, Regional Organiser of the trade union RMT, told ELN: “This event was a first for us in terms of a gas leak being reported at a renewables site. We must be as objective as we can with all reports that come to us, so we spoke to SSE at the earliest opportunity about the events and they confirmed they were aware of the gas leak and that an investigation is ongoing.
“Following this we alerted the HSE to the event. However, since doing this, there has been no feedback on the event and, it has to be said, there is, in our opinion, little or no engagement with workers or their representatives generally across the renewables sector.”
Mr Molloy has also urged companies across the renewables sector to improve the level of engagement of workers and to establish frameworks which enable this through elected safety representatives, safety committees and reporting structures.
ELN approached SSE for comment.
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