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Energy savings and reduced emissions from new efficiency requirements for transformers

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The Ecodesign Regulation adopted by the European Commission will ensure that transformers become progressively more efficient as new power transformers put into service in the EU internal market will have to fulfil minimum energy efficiency requirements from 1 July 2015.

Michel Barnier, acting European Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship, commented: "Today's decision represents a good example of how we can pursue policies that successfully reconcile competitiveness and sustainability. By aligning EU legislation with that of other advanced economies, this regulation will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It will also help reduce electricity prices for consumers, while helping EU manufacturers continue to be competitive in global markets.”

The resulting energy savings have been estimated at 16TWh per year from 2020 onwards, which corresponds to 3.7 Mt of avoided CO₂ emissions. This is equivalent to saving half of the annual electricity consumption of Denmark (32 TWh) per year. Although power transformers are generally very efficient devices, cost-effective marginal improvements in their efficiency can yield substantial energy savings, taking into account their typical service life of 30 years or more. Given that the number of installed transformers in Europe in 2011 has been estimated at 3.6 million, a figure that is expected to increase to almost 4.7 million in 2025, the impact of today's decision will be considerable.

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