DOE opts for industry-led emergency transformer stockpiles

USA, Washington D.C.: The U.S. Energy Department (DOE) has informed Congress that it does not favour creation of a federally-owned emergency stockpile of high-voltage grid transformers that could be dispatched around the country to speed recovery from natural disasters, cybersecurity attacks or violent space weather, reports E&E News.

Instead, DOE proposes to put the federal government in a support role, backing up current industry-led programs to make spare transformers available to restore power before extended power blackouts would force large-scale evacuations.

In its report, DOE states it believes that “the most efficient and effective approach is one which builds on industry-based approaches,” including collaboration between utilities and transformer manufacturers, according to E&E News.

It also states that the industry would not disclose to DOE where spare transformers are located “due to concerns about the proprietary and sensitive nature of this information.”

Whether the lack of that information could handicap DOE’s effort to coordinate power grid restoration in a catastrophic earthquake or state-backed cyberattack was not discussed in the report.

The DOE study concluded that utilities’ purchases of spare transformers were increasing. Where no undamaged spares were available, “most utilities have catastrophic emergency procedures in place to replace [large power transformers] in crucial substations with operational LPTs taken from less crucial substations,” cites E&E News.

Source: E&E News


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