Ecodesign requirements for small, medium and large power transformers came into force on 10 June 2014.
These are the first regulations of their kind for transformers and from July 2015 they will set minimum efficiency requirements for 3-phase transformers from 1kVA upwards for use in transmission, distribution and industrial applications.
There are a number of exclusions from the scope, mostly covering special applications. There are two efficiency levels, Tier 1 and Tier 2, with specific maximum permitted losses related to the size and type of transformer for each Tier.
Tier 2 allows roughly 10% less loss that Tier 1. From 1 July, 2015 transformers within scope will have to meet Tier 1 and from 1 July 2021 they must meet Tier 2.
BEAMA Power Sector deputy director John Parsons commented: “We welcome these regulations which the European Commission estimates will save16TWh per year across Europe. However, we will be working with network companies and OFGEM to ensure that regulation supports the use of these transformers and does not act as a deterrent to investing in new transformers. There must also be robust market surveillance to ensure that all transformers placed on the market meet the Regulations.”
There are more than one million transformers in use across the UK’s power networks, changing voltages from generation through transmission and distribution networks and finally down to the domestic supply voltage.
BEAMA and its members have been working with other experts via T&D Europe on the development of these Ecodesign Regulations, and with CENELEC to develop two new standards; prEN 60076-19 covering test methods and prEN 60076-20, which includes the Tier 1 and Tier 2 efficiency levels with the intention of creating a world market for these high efficiency transformers.
All purchases of these transformers by the distribution and transmission companies will fall under the new regulatory regime, RIIO ED1 and T1 respectively.
BEAMA, however, is concerned that RIIO regulations should support measures which increase energy efficiency. Mr Parsons commented that: “when a transformer is close to the end of its life, lifetime costs can be reduced by replacing it early with a more efficient transformer and DNO cost benefit analysis must reflect this”.