At an IEEE PES Transformer Committee meeting I attended recently, there was a discussion on the impact of the DOE transformer efficiency rule for Medium-Voltage Dry-Type and Liquid-Immersed distribution transformers on core steel.  It is expected that there will be an increase in demand in 2009 and price increases are likely in 2010 when the rules go into effect. It is not clear if the steel mills can meet the demand for the higher grade steels (M3 or better) that will be required.  A more efficient pole-type transformer would become too large and heavy to be mounted on the pole without the higher grade steel.   AK Steel recently increased their capacity 30% but apparently they were the only steel mill to do so.  This is not enough capacity to meet the expected demand and it is not clear if the increased capacity was for the needed M3 or better steel.  It doesn't help if the increased capacity was for M5 or M6 steel as these lines cannot easily be converted to produce M3 steel.  Without an increase higher grade core steel, the result will be a more expensive transformer and the lead time will be longer to get it. 

Utility Automation & Engineering T&D January, 2008


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