A new program from NEMA is intended to help utilities, industrial plants and even commercial buildings incorporate super high-efficiency electrical transformers into their operations. Designated the Premium Efficiency Transformer Program, the initiative already has secured commitments from seven transformer manufacturers, all NEMA members.

NEMA originally set the standard for the efficiency of various types of distribution transformers with the publication of NEMA TP 1-2002, Guide for Determining Energy Efficiency for Distribution Transformers, which later was adopted by the U.S. Department of Energy as the national energy-efficiency rule for low-voltage dry-type distribution transformers. The new designation requires 30 percent fewer losses than existing DOE regulations (10 CFR 431) for low-voltage dry-type distribution transformers.

“The new transformers, built to NEMA premium standards, have the potential to eliminate the need for a new coal power plant over the next five years. Actual efficiencies for these new premium transformers range from 98 percent to more than 99 percent, depending on the size of the transformer,” says John Caskey, industry director for the Rosslyn, Va.-based association of electrical and medical imaging equipment manufacturers.

Companies that are expected to begin offering NEMA Premium transformers include Eaton Electrical, Federal Pacific, GE Energy Industrial Solutions, Hammond Power Solutions, Onyx Power, Schneider Electric and Siemens Industry.