2.9% of all energy generated in Europe gets wasted through transformer losses. That’s enough to power Denmark for three years. In the UK, network losses account for 1.5% of the CO2 emissions. 25% of which are caused by distribution transformers. This raises two questions, who pays for this wasted energy and what can we do avoid these losses? The first is a rhetorical question.
Most distribution transformers in the UK were installed when energy wastage was not a crucial problem; technology was focused on access to energy with little regard to how efficiently this was done. According to an FOI request to ofgem, the average age of a distribution transformer in the UK is 64 years and to put that into perspective, this means that most transformers were installed in the 1950s and have not been replaced since then.
ENA Adaptation to Climate Change First Round Report suggests there are 230,000 11kV to 400/230V distribution substations nationally. If we take a 10% sample of these substation transformers and assume they were installed in the 1970s, not 1950s as the statistics show, the saving potential if these transformers get replaced could be enormous.
This puts a strong case for 23,000 distribution transformers to be replaced with new efficient ones. Wilson Power Solutions manufactured Wilson e3 Ultra Low Loss amorphous transformer that exceeds ECO Design Directives for transformer losses (due to be effective in 2021) and the new reduced transformer losses make it financially feasible and actually a no-brainer to upgrade these networks.
Compared against Ultra Low Loss amorphous transformers, these 23,000 transformers could collectively save 894.8GWh of electricity every year. Taking off the cost of the replacements and considering the total cost of ownership, that results in over £83m savings every year just by doing this single infrastructure upgrade which is too obvious to neglect.
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