Oct 18, 2021 - Energy & Environment

Meet General Electric's flexible power transformer

Picture of the GE Research and Prolec GE flexible transformer
The GE Research and Prolec GE flexible transformer. Photo courtesy of Cooperative Energy

A Mississippi utility is installing what's being billed as "the world's first large flexible transformer" — an Energy Department-backed project aimed at boosting grid resilience and smoothing integration of renewables.

Driving the news: GE Research and Prolec GE, working with the Mississippi power company Cooperative Energy, this morning are announcing the launch of a six-month field demonstration at a big substation in Columbia, Mississippi.

Why it matters: The "flexible" transformer has advantages over traditional models customized to specific voltage levels and other conditions, the companies and DOE said.

The big picture: The companies, which released this video promo, said it can better withstand extreme weather and is also an easier and faster replacement when extreme weather has damaged a traditional transformer.

  • "As opposed to a one-to-one replacement, the flexible transformer could serve as a universal spare or replacement for multiple transformers spanning a wide range of voltage and impedance levels," they said in a statement to Axios.
  • They also say the ability to handle this wider range will help enable companies to adapt as more wind and solar are added to power grids to address climate change.
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