Peter Schikarski – CEO at Haefely AG
In 2019, Transformers Magazine published an interview with Peter Schikarski. The highlight of the interview was transformer testing, in the new environment that Haefely acquired within the Swiss Pfiffner Group.
In this interview, we discuss three decades of transformation of the transformer industry, from being an industry dominated by a few global players who were mainly delivering huge transformers, to big state-owned utilities, to a very competitive industry with pronounced influence of renewables. Peter’s valuable insights in data centres and e-mobility, for example, depict expected future trends.
1) Peter, we often hear how transformers are traditional products, there have been no rapid changes in this conservative industry. But if we were to go back in time, let us say, twenty or thirty years ago, we would see that many things have changed. What changes have you noticed during your years with the industry? Could you please share your experience with us?
When I started my career in Haefely, thirty years ago, the transformer industry was, as you said, traditional. In the 80s, 400 kV was the highest voltage level available, and there were no big plans to increase it. But, in 2002, large transmission projects suddenly commenced, mainly in China, India, USA and Brazil. At this point, the voltage levels started climbing from 400 kV to 800 kV, and even 1 MV AC transmission lines. However, the voltage increase happened on the DC side. There were DC transmission long-distance lines of 500 to 600 kV, and later 800 kV. Now there are substations at the level of 1100 kV. The transformer industry has dramatically changed. Owing to this, currently, and for the next ten years, all the traditional transformer manufacturers have upgraded their facilities to build huge transformers and test labs. Customers have been supplied with large, high-tech transformers, manufactured in their flagship locations, here in Europe. Contracted OEMs were obliged to secure repair and warranty work on site, at the destination location.
>> This interview was conducted live at the Transformers Academy. To attend this session on demand, click here.