Distribution Transformers Evolve to Meet Efficiency and Decarbonization Goals

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Utilities are under immense pressure to enhance efficiency, cut emissions, and save money wherever they can — new, more efficient distribution transformers are one solution to this problem. That’s because many transformers currently under operation are inefficient. In 2008, annual transformer losses in the European Union totaled 93 TWh, which represents around 5 billion euros in annual waste. It’s estimated that through more efficient transformer design, such as amorphous transformers, this number could be reduced by 16.2 TWh per year in 2025.

Total cost of ownership and environmental initiatives like the European Union’s Ecodesign Directive are two of the drivers for more efficient transformers.

Total cost of ownership can be broken down into three important areas: unit purchasing cost, transformer losses, and CO2 emissions.

Owners must think long term when making transformer purchasing decisions. Therefore, unit purchasing cost should be a contributing, but not deciding, factor. That’s because while the initial cost for some efficient transformer options may be higher than for other transformer types, the total investment cost may actually be lower since the purchasing cost doesn’t take into account a host of other costs such as maintenance and operation, losses, and environmental.

Energy efficiency is affected by both “no load losses” and “load losses” reductions because transformers run 24/7. Owners must base any new equipment purchasing decisions on energy loss calculations and consider the cost of these losses over a transformer’s lifetime.

Carbon pricing is becoming an integral feature of most climate change plans. Whether dealing with a carbon tax on greenhouse gas emissions or a cap-and-trade system, the challenge is the same: utilities must cut CO2 and increase energy efficiency. Modern distribution transformer technology can bring greater savings and shorten the payback when carbon pricing is in place.

Legislation worldwide is leading to new regulations for utilities. For example, the Ecodesign Directive set mandatory ecological requirements that improve efficiency for energy-using and energy-producing products sold within the European Union. As of July 2015, more efficient transformers must be put into service to fulfill ecodesign requirements.

The good news for utilities is that new, more efficient technology, such as amorphous transformers, is already available to help meet these demands. For example, no load losses of amorphous transformers are half when compared to new conventional GOES transformers. Choosing to invest in a new, higher efficiency transformer can save money in the long run and address environmental considerations.

To learn more about how amorphous transformers enhance efficiency and reduce CO2 emissions levels, download our free white paper .

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