Power Transformer Shortage is Wreaking Havoc in the U.S.

From Watts Up With That?

News Brief by Kip Hansen — 13 March 2023

The New Scientist carries a story dated 11 March 2023 with this headline:

A massive power transformer shortage is wreaking havoc in the US  “A nationwide shortage of power grid transformers is causing delays across the US for everything from infrastructure for electric vehicles to new homes”

“Across the US, new houses sit unfinished – construction can’t be completed until they are connected to the electricity grid. Utility companies worry about how quickly they can restore power after damage caused by hurricanes and other natural disasters. And nationwide efforts to modernize ageing electrical grids face delays of months or even years.”

E&E EnergyWire covered this ongoing situation last October in a piece titled: “How a transformer shortage threatens the grid

“…    the United States is undergoing a shortage of a range of transformers — spanning smaller, pole-top units on city streets to Virginia Transformer’s massive units — for reasons that vary depending on the equipment. That means utilities could struggle to add enough new wind and solar generation to meet the country’s net-zero goals and to keep the lights on when storms damage their depleted transformer stockpiles.”

Massive Grid Transformer constructed at Virginia Transformer

E&E references this year’s Department of Energy report, stating “The DOE report concludes that the supply of new transformers must multiply dramatically if the nation’s grid is to fill up with new wind and solar generation and EV charging. DOE and Commerce also warned that transformer supply is a national security issue — even without the added pressure of a clean energy transition.”

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Author’s Comment:

I mentioned this slow-moving disaster in How Much of the Grid Must Be Upgraded.   I used this image:

There are grid transformers in all the red boxes which include areas that will need upgrading, just to allow for EV charging stations at homes and businesses. 

In that essay, I said “I’m not sure we can even supply the components for the transformation.”  Apparently, that is already true, at least for transformers. 

Many others have written about grid related problems here at WUWT.

Thanks for reading.