EU eco-design rules for transformers published

Energy efficiency rules for power transformers published in the official journal on Thursday will save 3.7 million tonnes of CO2 annually from 2020.

The new ecodesign regulation, which will come into force next month, sets minimum efficiency requirements for implementation in 2015 and more stringent ones for 2021, which NGOs believe is an unnecessary delay.

It applies to all power transformers used in transmission and distribution and in industrial applications. Single phase transformers are not covered, while large ones will be exempt when “technically feasible alternatives are not available to meet the minimum efficiency requirements”.

By 2017, the European Commission must examine whether the regulation should cover single-phase transformers, and whether its less stringent requirements for pole-mounted medium transformers remain appropriate. The possibility of covering environmental impacts other than energy should also be considered.

The long service life of transformers, typically around 30 years, means the regulation will yield substantial energy savings, estimated at 16 terrawatt hours of electricity per year from 2020, the Commission said. There were 3.6 million transformers in Europe in 2011 and this is expected to rise to 4.7 million in 2025.

The rules for transformers are the 24th regulation adopted under the ecodesign directive. The Commission is reviewing the directive, with a report due later this year.

The EU elections, which were held on Thursday, have drawn unfavourable media and political attention to the growing body of ecodesign rules, particularly for household appliances. Commissioner Günther Oettinger has criticised the rules’ detractors.

Excerpted from ENDS Europe Daily