Pacific Crest Transformers - On Going Green


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The United States, like many other countries worldwide, is experiencing a growing concern about the environment. Currently more the domain of activists and environmental organizations, it is only a matter of times before these concerns grip consumers as well - maybe even to the point when they get discerning enough to question the source of their electricity.

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Pacific Crest Transformers - On Going Green

  1. 1. Paci c Crest Transformers: On Going Green Executive Summary The United States, like many other countries worldwide, is experiencing a growing concern about the environment. Currently more the domain of activists and environmental organizations, it is only a matter of time before these concerns grip consumers as well – maybe even to the point when they get discerning enough to question the source of their electricity. In such a scenario, industries will be faced with some pretty tough questions and it is best that they begin the process of re-looking at their energy infrastructure from an e ciency and environmentally protective point of view, now. This white paper looks at the electricity need of the United States, its aging energy infrastructure, and explores the advantages of introducing ‘green’ components – something as simple as the humble transformer - into the power distribution network. It also makes a case for the switch over to energy- and cost-e cient technology, and how legislation is pushing ahead those who are resistant. We then take an in-depth look at the contributions of Paci c Crest Transformers (PCT), a company that has paved a path towards energy-e cient transformers with sound, long-term initiatives. PCT introduced fundamental changes in the production of transformers and began manufacturing custom, energy e cient and environmentally friendly transformers even before legislative compulsions made it mandatory for its competitors to do so. The whitepaper concludes on a positive note; encouraging industries to switch over to technologically modern and thus e cient transformers – thus realizing economic gains from the process as well. With over 90 years of collective experience, PCT may be one of the few companies with the seasoned vision to advise clients on energy requirements and provide transformers that are custom designed to meet diverse needs for the next three decades or more. Copyright © Paci c Crest Transformers Inc. 2007-2009 www.paci On Going Green 01
  2. 2. Introduction The electric power system in the United States is the largest in the world. It has over 800,000 Megawatts Electric (MWe) of installed capacity and growing. According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), electricity generated in America in 2006 came from the following sources: Coal – 49.7% Nuclear – 19.3% Natural Gas – 18.7% Hydroelectric Conventional - 6.6% Petroleum - 3.0% Others - 2.7% Source: Fig. 1.1: Sources of Electricity in the US, 2006 The North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) claims the demand for electricity in the US will continue to grow, even while long term reliability of supply concerns persist. The EIA predicts the country’s electricity demand will continue to grow at the rate of 1.8% to 1.9% percent per year till 2025. To keep pace with this increasing demand the US must therefore add approximately 300,000 MWe of new capacity over the next 16 years. Copyright © Paci c Crest Transformers Inc. 2007-2009 www.paci On Going Green 02
  3. 3. While demand needs to be met, the electricity infrastructure in the country is aging. A signi cant amount of equipment in the public utility grid is over 40 years old and needs to be replaced in the near future. According to the Department of Energy, distribution transformers which are 30 years old or more, can waste 60-80 billion kWh annually. A better design could yield annual energy savings of up to $1 billion. An integral issue needing to be addressed along with the growing demand for electricity and its aging infrastructure is its impact on the environment. In a situation where governments are searching for ways to reduce their greenhouse emissions in a cost-e ective method, reducing electricity losses from distribution transformers represents a productive avenue. For example, research shows that the global electric savings potential from e cient distribution transformers is well over 100 TWh/year (this doesn’t correspond to the number below). In fact, investing in energy e cient technology is said to be “the cheapest form of energy we can get” and an excellent move towards sustainability and environmental protection. E cient and clean technology is now increasingly available and needs to be adequately leveraged. The use of energy-e cient technology in electricity transformers is thus becoming more important because energy resources are becoming both scarce and expensive. Investing in the right technology can help your company ensure electricity needs are met without interruption or shortfall. Responding to this thrust towards more e cient transformers and green technology, some companies, such as Paci c Crest Transformers, have led the way even before the presence of Department of Energy (DOE) guidelines. Energy E cient Transformers Electric transformer loss in a typical grid can be 40-50% of the total transmission and distribution (T&D) loss. An energy e cient transformer is therefore an important means to reduce T&D loss. Energy saving transformers can save upto 120 TWh / year, equivalent to more than 70 million tons of CO2 emissions. Some reasons for considering a switch over to more energy-e cient transformers: All electricity generated worldwide constantly passes through distribution transformers. Even a minor improvement in e ciency, therefore, can result in substantial energy savings, and lower emissions of greenhouse gases. Transformers have high average e ciency (98 – 99%), but 2nd standby losses (post standby power loss in electrical equipment) can still cause considerable environmental impact. Copyright © Paci c Crest Transformers Inc. 2007-2009 www.paci On Going Green 03
  4. 4. The energy losses in electric transformers fall into two components: No-load losses or iron losses: A result of core energizing, this is a phenomenon that occurs 24/7, throughout the transformer’s lifetime. Load losses: Providing power to users result in load losses, both from the coil resistance when the transformer is in use; and stray ux that causes eddy currents. Electricity grids typically lose 2% of total generation in distribution transformers, which is nearly one-third of total system losses . Distribution transformers are typically in use for 30 or even 50 years; enough time to build up signi cant losses. Toxic emissions and global warming are now growing concerns, and power generation is clearly one of the largest contributors to carbon and greenhouse gas emissions. Energy e cient transformers can provide considerable environmental bene ts. For example, a typical urban distribution transformer rated at 400 kW has lifetime losses equivalent to 125 – 184 tons of CO2 emissions; a more energy-e cient design could reduce these emissions to 56 tons. Enhancing Transformer Energy E ciency New technology provides solutions to reduce energy losses in electricity transformers by a good margin when 30-year-old transformers are replaced with new ones. Energy-e ciency can be improved with: Better, lower core-loss steels, such as high-permeability grain-oriented steels (HiB) Larger core sizes to reduce ux density in a speci c core Reducing current density with increased conductor cross-sections A better balance between iron and copper in the core and coils Distribution transformers built with amorphous iron cores have also demonstrated a reduction in no-load losses, when compared with existing designs. These cores are wound with amorphous ribbon made from a ferric metal alloy produced with very rapid quenching to eliminate crystallization. This technology however, has only been proven for transformer ratings up to 10MVA; this is expected to change soon. Higher-e ciency transformers are available and already used by the utility industry: the issue is about the choice individual companies must make. Copyright © Paci c Crest Transformers Inc. 2007-2009 www.paci On Going Green 04
  5. 5. What the Legislation Says The Energy Star Transformer Program is a voluntary energy e ciency program designed to encourage utilities to purchase and install higher-e ciency, cost e ective transformers in their distribution systems. Consideration is being given to setting minimum standards for distribution transformer losses. This program includes: Information and software dissemination Technical assistance to partners to ensure that transformers are not oversized The Distribution Transformer Cost Evaluation Model (DTCEM) is available and provides a standard methodology for evaluating multiple transformer bids The US Department of Energy (DOE) Federal Energy Management Program also encourages government procurement of energy-e cient distribution transformers Starting in 1998, the DOE began a process of research and consultation on the merits and potential levels for a minimum energy performance standard (MEPS) but companies are yet to adopt the Energy Star Transformer Program in a big way. Besides the Energy Star Transformer Program numerous other laws and regulations like the Environmental Health and Safety Laws and Regulation, the Department of Environmental Quality Laws and Rules, Environmental Protection Agency and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration require that electricity transformers watch their emissions and adopt energy saving technology. Paci c Crest Transformers: Leading the Way While the thrust towards more energy e cient electrical transformers may be a relatively new phenomenon in the US, environmentally conscious companies like Paci c Crest Transformers (PCT) have displayed deep foresight; beginning their environmentally friendly initiatives years earlier. Way back in the 1980s, Paci c Crest Transformers committed to designing and manufacturing superior quality, custom and specialty transformers in the most cost-e ective and responsive manner possible. The company has 90 years of experience in building Pad mount, Station and Secondary Unit Sub transformers and today specializes in the environmentally friendly and e cient liquid- lled distribution transformers. Copyright © Paci c Crest Transformers Inc. 2007-2009 www.paci On Going Green 05
  6. 6. During the 1990s, the Department of Environmental Quality began issuing guidelines on materials in common usage which could possibly be carcinogens. Among those materials was the family of dielectric uids with chlorine based compounds, namely polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). PCT, then known by a di erent name, acted to stop usage of the targeted materials and ‘clean’ their facility to limit employee exposure and contamination of future products. The ‘clean-up’ procedure virtually resulted in the reconstruction of the factory along environmentally friendly lines. Later, when the government mandated replacement of all PCB products in use and a country-wide replacement program started that lasted well into the 1980s, PCT was already ahead of its time - with a completely PCB-free facility. In an e ort to introduce energy e ciency in every aspect of its functioning, PCT established an internal Directorate of Environmental Quality. This commitment produced a number of results, including: By 1990 PCT was ahead of its competitors as it had eliminated the use of solvents like trichloroethylene, the popular degreaser, from its fabrication facility. In 1994 PCT completed a construction of a new PCB-free/solvent-free facility with the goal to be environmentally friendly and energy e cient. PCT designed special light-gathering skylights that when coupled with an on-demand lighting system in the fabrication area reduced power consumption and saved $100 per day in lighting costs. PCT built high-security oil storage facilities protected by permanent containment facilities which do not drain into the storm water runo of the property, and meet the EPA Spill Prevention and Counter Control standards. A special no-drain lling valve system was installed to prevent any spillage during the transfer of oil into the storage tanks. PCT introduced a storm water sampling procedure which is continues till date, 15 years later, to guarantee that no contaminants from our manufacturing and storage process are introduced into the site runo . In 1994 PCT published an environmental impact sensitivity study to address 6 major areas of concern: 1. Air quality 2. Noise pollution 3. Storm Water Run-o quality 4. Industrial Waste Discharge 5. Greenhouse Gas contribution 6. Groundwater and Soil contamination Copyright © Paci c Crest Transformers Inc. 2007-2009 www.paci On Going Green 06
  7. 7. This was the basis for PCT’s present day environmental policy. In 2002 PCT changed welding materials to reduce exhaust vapors from their metal fabrication facility. In 2003, PCT obtained the ISO 1400 environmental certi cate. With its deep commitment to develop environmentally friendly and energy e cient technologies, PCT has stringent policies on company functioning. PCT trusts that since these procedures are tested on the premise of the company, it helps the company act as a model and adviser to other companies wishing to follow suit. Secondly, PCT’s hands-on experience allows it to continue on the path of R&D for more energy e cient transformers. The Paci c Crest Energy E ciency Policy PCT’s energy e cient policy has four main thrusts: 1) Conservation to minimize utility consumption of electric power, natural gas, and water. PCT uses natural gas year round to dry the transformer elements. Re-tooling drying ovens to be more e cient has reduced PCT’s gas consumption. 2) Minimize the potential for insulating uid spills and soil or groundwater contamination. PCT has recently increased the containment berm height to provide added security, and continued waste water sampling to monitor runo year round. 3) Deny access to hazardous materials into the factory. 4) Reduce, reuse, and recycle whenever possible. PCT generates metals and other materials that are recycled o site. Included in this list are steel, copper, aluminum, and paper. Waste oil is pumped and sent to an oil recycler where it is generally burned for heat. Wood waste is burnt at an electricity go generation facility. Solid waste is hauled to a certi ed land ll. The occasional hazardous, or otherwise unidenti ed, materials are disposed of using Phillips Environmental. Conclusion Undoubtedly, energy is an important component of economic growth, both at a micro and macro level. While the demand for energy increases year on year, ensuring a steady supply can be a constant challenge, not just at a national level but at a company level as well. Copyright © Paci c Crest Transformers Inc. 2007-2009 www.paci On Going Green 07
  8. 8. One of the ways industries can address their energy demand is by re-evaluating the e ciency of their distribution transformers. A change in technology will not only introduce sizable economic bene ts and conserve the current wastage of scare electricity; it can also help the industry stay in tune with national commitments on carbon emission. Paci c Crest Transformers continues to identify its environmental impact as its responsibility to employees, contractors, suppliers, customers, and the communities in which it works, and those where its products are used. Copyright © Paci c Crest Transformers Inc. 2007-2009 www.paci On Going Green 08