Wind Power-Transformed!

No matter where wind turbines are, ABB transformers ensure power gets to where it`s needed.

At the end of 2012 there were 225,000 wind turbines in 79 countries, according to the GWEC and the EWEA. As the technology progresses, turbines are becoming bigger and more efficient, so the same amount of energy can be generated with fewer machines. There is currently 21.7 MW of wind power capacity installed per 1,000 km of land area in the EU, with the highest densities in Denmark and Germany. No matter where wind turbines are, ABB transformers ensure power gets to where it`s needed.

We have used wind for centuries to grind grain or pump water. Today, this force of nature is driving sleek, high-tech turbines that turn wind into electricity on a much bigger scale.

The process is straightforward enough: revolving turbine blades spin a generating system in the nacelle or box, producing clean electric power. At the heart of any wind application is a transformer, because without it the electricity isn`t going anywhere.

The transformer converts electricity generated by the turbine into a voltage high enough to be transmitted to the electrical grid, and later used. In addition to ensuring that they perform efficiently and reliably, there is the additional challenge of ensuring that the transformers are robust enough to withstand the severe conditions they will encounter.

This is especially true as more projects move offshore in search of the best wind resources, where maintenance and repair can quickly become a huge and costly issue. Space is another challenge, because the nacelle and tower are generally packed with electrical equipment to collect, manage, and distribute the power.

Finally, variable wind speed means the turbine operates at constantly changing power levels, putting transformers under tremendous strain and risk of outright failure unless they have been designed and built to withstand these unique daily stresses.

These are just some of the factors to be kept in mind when designing dry-type and liquid-filled distribution transformers to handle the daily stresses of wind applications. The units are pre-tested to ensure reliability in extreme environments, including high vibration, corrosive salt, sand, dust and humidity.

They also need to be extremely compact, which enables them to pass easily through the tower door, for mounting on the nacelle platform or within the limited space of the turbine tower, without disassembly.

ABB’s dry-type and liquid-filled transformers for wind applications meet all these needs. The offering includes ratings up to 15 megavolts ampere (MVA), meeting IEC standard classes E2, C2 and F1 and also a range of ABB`s Slender liquid-filled distribution transformers rated up to 36 kV and 10 MVA, which are specifically designed for the compact space requirements of wind generation.

These units feature multiple forced cooling system solutions, organic liquid cooling options, and insulation system temperature of up to 180°C for dry transformers. They are suitable for both onshore and offshore applications.


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About the author

Edoardo Siano

I am the Marketing and Sales Manager for BU Transformers. I've been with ABB since 2008. Originally from Italy, I now live in Zürich. Marketing and Sales plays a very important role for each business. Understanding our customers' needs to constantly improve what we produce and strive to sell is key to success.
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