Siemens has delivered three of its new mobile resilience transformers to Westar Energy, a leading energy company in Kansas. The technology, specifically designed for quick response, will allow Westar to replace a large power transformer within days rather than the months it can take to transport and install an available unit.
The new transformers, highly optimized for weight and dimension through advanced voltage and power rating, will allow Westar to keep power up and running for its 690,000 customers across the eastern part of the state.
“As the power grid ages, we are finding innovative ways to address wear and tear and modernize our infrastructure. When essential transformers fail, the system is vulnerable,” said Kelly Harrison, Westar Energy vice president, transmission. “Our engineers were not satisfied with usual solutions, which included waiting months for a replacement or investing in several multi-million dollar replacements to keep on standby. We designed a concept for a better solution and partnered with Siemens for development and execution.”
Westar engineers and maintenance personnel developed a concept and launched a competitive process to select a development partner that would meet stringent requirements including rapid deployment capabilities, multiple voltage taps, maximizing electrical capacity while minimizing transport size, modular accessories, self-contained station power, quick disconnect control cables using a common control cabinet, and permanent storage for all accessories. Siemens, having met all requirements, and Westar worked together closely to advance the requirements from concept to practical design.
“Transformers are an extremely critical piece of grid infrastructure, but since they are very technically complex and cumbersome products, it can traditionally take months to order, receive, and replace a unit,” said Richard Boyd, vice president of Siemens Transformers in the U.S. “Siemens new, high-tech mobile resilience transformers are lighter, more compact, and use plug-and-play technology so innovative utilities like Westar Energy can quickly replace nearly any unit in their system in days and provide more reliable power to their customers.”
Siemens’ new resilience transformers are designed to be as mobile as possible to maximize local transportation and installation options. In addition, the transformer design includes modular pre-installed cooling systems and operation on multiple voltage levels.
The cable termination for 138 kV and 115 kV grid connections allows for maximum flexibility in the substation and the ability to use the units in several different locations. This versatility also results in utilities needing fewer mobile resilience units overall. Special plug-in bushings and connections reduce installation time to a minimum without transformer entry and oil handling.
The plug-and-play transformers are part of Siemens Pretact, a comprehensive concept to enhance energy grid resiliency worldwide. In addition to the compact mobile resilience units that enable utilities to react quickly to unforeseen events, the portfolio also offers solutions and services to prevent failures in operation and protect assets from harm.
Westar Energy has the mobile transformers housed in a storage facility designed to protect them and enable fast deployment.