Driving down losses
Driving down energy losses in transformers
With some 5 percent of global electrical energy being consumed by transformer losses, energy efficiency has become one of the main drivers of transformer technology evolution and regulation.
Energy demand and availability are intertwined with a nation’s economic growth and welfare. This symbiosis is reflected in many countries by the relentless escalation in energy requirements driven by thriving economic activity and increasing population. At present, electric power satisfies a large proportion of this demand and new factors, such as electric vehicles and renewable energy sources, are expected to increase this share. In this context, electrical equipment efficiency plays a vital role, especially in transformers, where losses account for some 5 percent of global consumption – more than the electricity demand of the continent of Africa. ABB is at the forefront of the energy efficiency revolution and provides technologies right along the electrical energy value chain that typically pay for themselves within a few years through lower energy costs. Transformers are key links in this energy value chain. In fact, energy efficiency has become one of the main drivers of transformer technology evolution and regulation. For example, a major initiative being implemented by major economies in support of a more efficient use of energy is the so-called minimum energy performance standard (MEPS) for transformers. Transformer MEPSs differ by country and region and have to be normalized to provide a comparison. In 2017, the first global reference document for transformer efficiency and related metrics was published (IEC 60076-20 TS).
Advantages of energy efficient transformers
Efficiency improvements in transformers can lead to significant energy and emissions savings, while bringing net economic benefits because the marginal cost is spread over the lifetime of the equipment. Energy-efficient transformers also provide extra capacity, potentially lower electricity bills, reduce peak loading and related pollution at power plants, and enhance energy security and reliability. ABB pursues many technical solutions for enhancing transformer energy efficiency. These range from better core construction techniques to lower-loss core and conductor materials.