This session is part of the Clean Energy Regulators Initiative Webinar Programme.
Theme 2 - Pressure Points
Module 3: Asset Management - Replacement criteria for distribution transformers
In today's power grids, transformers represent a significant capital investment and play a crucial role in the reliability of the grid and the availability of electric power. It is the task of the asset or plant manager to safeguard reliability and control risks at limited cost. The asset management instruments that may be used, in increasing order of effectiveness and cost, are monitoring, maintenance, refurbishment and replacement.
Asset management has moved from "doing the best we can" to "doing what is necessary to maintain the balance between performance, cost and risk, given the company business values". This paradigm shift has changed the way replacement decisions are being taken. On the basis of company business values, risks are being identified and assessed, from the combination of failure probability and impact. Decisions are based on the hazard risk score (urgency) and on the risk reduction capability of the mitigating measure (effectiveness), and are dependent on the company's risk appetite.
Whereas replacement alternatives are often attractive for high power transformers due to the relatively high cost of replacement, this situation is quite different for distribution transformers. Distribution transformers are often regarded as commodities. They are relatively inexpensive and can be delivered off stock. Therefore alternatives for replacement need to be low cost, and thereby effective, efficient and standardized. As a result such alternatives are at present often cost effective only on a fleet scale, and too expensive for individual transformers. This situation may change when alternative solutions such as monitoring devices will be integrated as a low cost commodity in new distribution transformers.