Protecting the Supply of Electricity, Shaping a National Spare Transformer Program

2018-07-03 - NEMA magazine article by William Mao, Global Product Marketing Manager for Power Transformers, ABB - July 2018

The United States Congress, the U.S. Department of Energy, and many public utilities have stated in recent years that it is critical for the country to create a national spare transformer program to ensure greater grid reliability and resilience in case of superstorms, physical attacks on the grid, and other catastrophic events. It is essential to have spare transformers on hand because the lead time for a single replacement can be as long as 18 months.

Such a spare transformer program, like the one recently announced by Grid Assurance LLC,1 would cover critical bulk transmission assets such as transformers—typically rated 200 MVA or greater— used in transmission system interconnections that tie power generation and load centers across the country. The DOE’s 2017 Strategic Transformer Reserve Report called for an industry-led solution.

Grid Assurance was the first LLC to proceed, collectively having subscribers with transmission facilities in 26 of the continental 48 states, consisting of 31 transmission subsidiaries of AEP, Berkshire Hathaway Energy’s MidAmerican and NV Energy, Eversource, FirstEnergy, Kansas City P&L, and National Grid. Other subscribers may join in the future. Grid Assurance operates via a subscription business model where participating utilities have immediate access to these spares following any qualifying event.

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