Industry Analysis

Top Transformer Industry Trends in 2018

A discussion on key trends that will dominate 2018.
Energy efficiency in all aspects is the central trend that is poised to dominate in 2018, particularly as the government seeks to meet its ambitious target of ‘Power for All’ at the earliest. While boosting output is one way to achieve power targets, energy efficiency is another means of augmenting the overall power capacity via less wastage and more efficient, lower consumption. Energy efficiency also takes the country closer to its lower carbon emission targets under the UN SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals).

In this context, consider transformers, which are an indispensable component of an alternate current (AC) electrical system for electricity generation, transmission or distribution. “The biggest trend sweeping the transformer market is towards increasing efficiency levels and reducing CO2 emissions in compliance with stricter environmental norms. It is extremely crucial to consider long-term safety and environmental factors while evaluating a transformer. For utility-type transformers, the long-term trend has been towards designing them for increased efficiency of operation (lower losses), based on the rising costs of wasted energy in the utility grid,” says Anil Kadam, GM – Business Development and Solution Architect, Schneider Electric.

He adds, “Similarly, digitisation in the energy sector is occurring at a rapid pace; again, this will boost energy efficiency. Both in terms of internal infrastructure and external markets, the energy sector are being transformed by the emergence of the smart grid. The grid will be one autonomous energy system steered by analytics: an example of the Internet of Things (IoT) in action. Digitisation of the power grid in the country will ensure better optimisation of resources and more efficient distribution, eventually bringing down the cost of electricity in the country. In all these aspects, energy efficiency will be the overriding element in 2018.”

ABB has set another pioneering innovation record with the successful testing of the low and high voltage units of the world’s most powerful ultrahigh-voltage direct current (UHVDC) transformer. The +/-1,100 kV (1.1 million volts) UHVDC transformer, developed and manufactured in close collaboration with State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC), has successfully passed a series of type tests, paving the way for the implementation of the Changji-Guquan UHVDC link, which will transmit power from the Xinjiang region in the Northwest, to Anhui province in eastern China.

Changji-Guquan, the world’s first +/-1,100 kV UHVDC link will set a new world record in terms of voltage level, transmission capacity and distance. It will be capable of transporting 12,000 megawatts of electricity – the equivalent of 12 large power plants and 50 per cent more than the +/- 800 kV UHVDC links currently in operation. Transmission distance will be extended from around 2,000 km to over 3,000 km, enabling the integration and transmission of remote renewable on a much larger scale.

When fully operational this UHVDC link will be able to feed eight 500 kV and two 1,000 kV AC lines – delivering power equivalent to twice the average annual power consumption of Switzerland. ABB’s latest breakthrough also makes it possible to connect +/-1,100 kV DC with 750 kV UHVAC links for the first time. In addition to the transformer, ABB has also developed and successfully tested a range of other key +/-1,100 kV components, including converter valves, bushings and DC circuit breakers.

In addition to transporting more power across longer distances with lower losses, this breakthrough will enable the interconnection of AC and DC grids and support the future linking of regions and countries. It reinforces the company’s pioneering technology leadership in HVDC transmission and reaffirms its close collaboration with SGCC, as the company enables a stronger, smarter and greener grid.

The Changji-Guquan +/-1,100kV project is a major technical step-up making it the world’s highest DC voltage. The transformer is a key element of this link and the first of these landmark transformers have passed critical tests and exceeded expectations.
China has major consumption centers in the east; while a significant amount of its energy resources are in the west and northwest. The expansive geography and increasing demand have prompted the build-up of ultrahigh voltage links to increase transmission capacity while minimising losses.

ABB pioneered HVDC technology more than 60 years ago and is the global market leader with over 110 HVDC projects, representing a total installed capacity of more than 120,000 megawatts – around half of the worlds installed base. UHVDC transmission is an advancement of HVDC and represents the biggest capacity and efficiency leap in over two decades. In 2010 ABB supported SGCC with the Xiangjiaba-Shanghai project, the world’s first +/- 800 kV UHVDC link to go into commercial operation.

Being optimistic towards the economic strengthening and market sentiments, 2018 might hopefully see India and our industries to transform from its status of substance to growth, and possibility development,” states Divyansh Kohli, Executive Director, NDL Power Ltd. He explains, “What it simply means for the power industry is – more demand for reliable and economical power. One dominant trend we have been feeling since 2017 is for industries to conduct life assessment studies for transformer, and the exponential growth of its requirement can be certain as a product of the market sentiment and economic-environment in the nation. Fundamentally, sustenance merely demanded maintenance, but for growth or development – the present power infrastructure needs to be well introspected. It is important for the industries to know, when to replace their power assets or how can the life of these relatively aged assets be effective increased; for planning future production load and operation patterns. NDL’s transformer residual life assessment studies are helping our client to ensure the reliability of their aged assets, and answer a key question faced by their management; what is to be done, and how!”

One dominant trend we have been feeling since 2017 is for industries to conduct life assessment studies for transformer, and the exponential growth of its requirement can be certain as a product of the market sentiment.
Divyansh Kohli, Executive Director, NDL Power Ltd

The biggest trend sweeping the transformer market is towards increasing efficiency levels and reducing CO2 emissions in compliance with stricter environmental norms.
Anil Kadam, GM – Business Development and Solution Architect, Schneider Electric

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