STEFAN KLAASSEN: Siemens Energy’s Vice President for Power Transformers
When I first came to work in the power transformer industry in 2013, the industry and its products were close to being categorized as commodities and offered limited attractivity. Today, conditions have changed, and the transformer industry is back to being an innovative future-oriented industry.
Transformers are the important link within the energy value chain towards achieving a successful energy transition. Today, the energy landscape is changing rapidly, and our customers need to respond flexibly to power fluctuations due to renewable energy generation. Therefore, the requirements for power dissipation and continuous and reliable power transmission are higher than ever. Besides that, many grids need to be renewed and grid operators require digitalized, cybersecure solutions. This trend can be seen worldwide and is expected to continue during the next decade.
You said that conditions in the industry have changed. What challenges does this rapidly changing energy landscape pose for customers?
We see three challenges: first, the increased infeed of renewable energy resources and the corresponding fluctuations that impact grid stability, second, further electrification results in a rising demand for electric energy, and third, the requirement for our customers to improve their own carbon footprint.
Consequently, our customers are confronted with the questions: Which products and solutions will meet their CO2 reduction requirements? How do they bridge the gap between increasing energy demand, potentially longer delivery times for key equipment and the growing challenge to secure materials in a heating-up transmission equipment market? Our customers are looking for answers to their challenges and we are prepared to address them.
You previously mentioned the impact of renewable energy generation. What does this mean? How do you target this topic and what role do power transformers play in it?
There are two different perspectives. Onshore power distribution is affected, as well as offshore power generation. Onshore, the increasing use of renewable energy resources has a tremendous impact on grid stability. Fluctuations cause losses through reactive power and the need for power flow control. Therefore, grid stabilizing equipment like variable shunt reactors and phase-shifting transformers are needed.