ABB has won an order worth around $30 million from Amprion GmbH, a German transmission grid operator that provides electricity to more than 29 million people, from the Alps in South of Germany to Lower Saxony, to supply phase-shifting transformers (PSTs) that will optimize power flow in the German electricity network and help in the integration of renewable resources. These transformers have the potential to offer savings of more than $110 (€100 million), over 3 years.

Power generated by windfarms is unpredictable. To keep the grid stable, electricity produced in conventional power plants must be increased or decreased at very short notice, which is both inefficient and costly. For these so-called redispatch costs Germany is paying about $1.7 billion (€1.5 billion) annually.

To better control the flow of power in the existing grid infrastructure, ABB is supplying two PSTs with 2,494 megavolt amperes (MVA) capacity each, from its transformer factory in Bad Honnef, Germany. These PSTs, amongst the most powerful in the world will enable Amprion to integrate wind power more efficiently.

ABB has been at the forefront of developing PST technology. First developed by Westinghouse Electric Corporation T&D in the 1950s and acquired by ABB in 1989, PSTs require a deep evaluation of the power system to define their optimum application and location. Their demanding size and complexity require advanced design and manufacturing skills along with stringent quality control.

“Phase-shifting transformers are a specialized solution that carry out the complex task of controlling power flow in the electricity grid. This enables our customers to optimize grid investments and avoid costs when integrating renewable power like offshore wind while improving their economic viability” said Bruno Melles, Managing Director of ABB’s Transformers business line, part of ABB’s Power Grids business.