Transformers and its transformation

HK Mishra, Acting Director, Electrical Research and Development Association

“The country has gained from the improvement in quality, energy efficiency, and reliability of distribution system, which is turning out to be a game changer”

According to HK Mishra, Acting Director, Electrical Research and Development Association, India has become a power surplus country and several government initiatives have forced manufacturers to produce high quality transformers, which are capable of competing with its global counterparts.

Transformation in Indian power sector
I agree with the perception that presently Indian power sector is undergoing major transformation. It is a paradigm shift that India has changed from a power deficient country to power surplus country. Renewable energy is now becoming a significant part (around 12 per cent) of India’s power generation basket. Power consumers are becoming power “prosumers” – new concept of combination of producer as well as consumers. Amendment of Indian Electricity Act is on the anvil. A lot of talk is going on to segregate “carriage and content” in the distribution sector. Consumers will be able to choose between their power suppliers in line with the telecom services.

Energy demand and India’s growth
As per the July 2018 CEA report, only 92 per cent of Indian households are electrified till date. India’s per capita electrical consumption grew from 631.4 kWh from 2005-06 to 1,149 kWh in 2017-18, thus achieving a CAGR of 6.83 per cent. During this period, the average growth of India’s GDP was more than seven per cent. Hence, it can be safely concluded that growth in per capita electricity consumption will lead to equivalent growth in India’s GDP.

Game changing initiatives
Among various initiatives taken by the Indian government, Quality Control Order of electrical equipment turned out to be a game changer. Bureau of Indian Standards has promulgated Quality Control Order for Distribution Transformer, which has helped in improvement in quality of distribution transformers across India. The lower losses have forced the manufacturers to produce energy efficient transformers. Overall, the country has gained from the improvement in quality and efficiency of distribution system.

Impact of improving grid efficiency
It is true that the improved stability of the grid, as well as demand in the grid due to large amount of renewable energy integration, has become a boon to the T&D industry. The ‘one nation – one grid – one frequency – one price’ has helped the utilities to manage their functioning and finances in a better way. Improved efficiency of the grid results in efficient and reliable delivery of electricity.

Benefits of green transformers
Presently, only a small portion of “green” transformer are being used, but on experimental basis. These transformers use synthetic esters instead of petroleum-based transformer oils. Synthetic esters are more environment-friendly. But, the overall impact of green transformers is under observation.

Government’s role in transformer industry
The Indian government has already promulgated Quality Control Order for distribution transformers. The Indian standards should be in line with the international standards. Acceptance on Indian laboratory tests in foreign countries should also be supported by sustained government part of dialogue with the foreign countries.

Emerging trends in transformer industry
Several Indian manufacturers are showing keen interest to export their products. There is an urge among some manufacturers to improve the quality of their production system and finished products to compete in the global market. We think this is the most encouraging emerging trend in the transformer industry, which will make the Make in India campaign a real success.

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