End Users Could Benefit from Avoiding £220m of Wasted Energy
2.9% of all energy generated in Europe gets wasted through transformer losses. That accounts for 93.4TWh, 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 to 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 63 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, the UK’s most energy-efficient distribution transformer that exceeds ECO Design Directives for transformer losses (came into effect in July 2021) and the new reduced transformer losses make it financially feasible and actually a no-brainer to upgrade these networks.
If replaced by Wilson e3 Ultra Low Loss amorphous transformers, these 23,000 1970s transformers* could collectively save 1,106GWh of electricity every year. This equates to over £221m** and 232,430tCO2 annual financial and carbon savings! Taking off the cost of the replacements and considering the total cost of ownership, that results in over £8.335b of overall savings across 30 years just by doing this single infrastructure upgrade which is too obvious to neglect.
If we take the case of one 1970s 1MVA transformer, one replacement decision with Wilson e3 can save an organisation 48MWh and 10.1tCO2 annually. The payback period for the investment is 2 years and the total savings of 30 years of operations would be £362,409 and 303tCO2.
*Assuming the average rating of these transformers is 1000kVA operating at 70% load
**Electricity rate at 0.20p/kWh with annual increments of 2% for the overall savings
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