Existing energy infrastructure assets cannot be ignored amidst hiking energy prices


Both the domestic and business sectors have been living in uncertainty and worry about the rocketing energy bills. The government has introduced temporary caps to help everyone survive this winter but that is not a permeant fix, and businesses, in particular, have to look in every corner for means to save energy.

A low-hanging fruit that is often overlooked by many organisations is the efficiency of their medium voltage assets. The volume of energy that can be saved at that level surpasses any of those “inside the building” changes. Transformers for example are often located outside buildings or tucked away in substations in basements but they are silent energy guzzlers. The average age of a distribution transformer in the UK is 63 years old and their efficiency levels are substandard.

Transformers got more efficient as of 2015 under the Regulation on ecodesign requirements for power transformers (EU) No 548/2014 and 2019/1783. Tier 1 & Tier 2 of Ecodesign regulations specified the levels of transformer energy losses (load and no-load losses) for all ratings. When compared to transformers manufactured just before the regulation came into effect, Tier 1 and Tier 2 reduce losses by 19% and 40% respectively. What Wilson Power Solutions, a transformer manufacturer based in Leeds, did was go beyond the regulation and reduce the energy losses by at least 50% when compared to a non-regulated transformer.

As part of its Amorphous range, Wilson Power Solutions introduced Wilson e3 Ultra Low Loss Amorphous Distribution Transformer® which is the UK’s most energy-efficient distribution transformer. The combined load and no-load losses of this transformer are the lowest in the country, providing businesses with a future-proof decarbonisation solution. This tells us that businesses that are trying to leave no stone unturned to introduce savings should ask the question internally about distribution transformers under their ownership and how old they are.

If we take a scenario of a 1500kVA transformer installed in the 1970s and replace it with an Ultra Low Loss Amorphous Transformer®, the investment payback would be one year and the business would save annually over 80MWh of electricity. This equates to mitigating 21tCO2e and saving £32,124 per annum at a £0.40/kWh electricity rate and 70% load factor.

You can use this web payback calculator that allows you to select the transformer rating, load factor, age and electricity rate to understand potential savings.


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