Europe will be sorely lacking this essential tool for the energy transition, which will see its price increase by 100%.

Europe will be sorely lacking this essential tool for the energy transition, which will see its price increase by 100%.
Europe will be sorely lacking this essential tool for the energy transition, which will see its price increase by 100%.

Electric transformer crisis: An imminent danger for Europe’s energy transition.

Europe is facing a critical crisis that threatens its energy transition ambitions: a shortage of electrical transformers. These vital components, essential for modulating the electrical voltage necessary for the daily functioning of our societies, are at the heart of an unprecedented availability crisis. Delivery times for this equipment have exploded, going from 9-12 months to more than 24 months, thus jeopardizing the European Union’s decarbonization and electrification objectives.

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The crucial importance of transformers in our electricity network

Transformers play an indispensable role in the electricity network, converting voltage levels for transmission and consumption. In Europe and Norway, there are an estimated 4.5 million of these devices, facilitating the distribution of energy from large producers to individual consumers.

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A market under tension

Transformer manufacturing is controlled by a few industrial giants like Siemens, General Electric, and Hitachi. This market concentration creates a bottleneck, exacerbated by stagnant production capacity in the face of growing demand. Uncertainty over the post-2030 targets of the European Green Deal makes European manufacturers reluctant to invest in expanding their production capacity.

The skilled labor crisis

Another aspect of this crisis is the shortage of skilled labor needed to manufacture transformers. This situation is the result of European policies which have not sufficiently supported the training and promotion of specialized professions. The lack of qualified workers slows down production and extends delivery times.

The impact of the copper price

The production cost of transformers is strongly influenced by the price of copper, used in abundance for the turns which modulate the electrical voltage. With an increase of 30% in eight months and forecasts reaching 15,000 euros per tonne by 2025, the manufacturing cost of transformers could increase by 75 to 100%, directly affecting consumer prices.

Consequences for the energy transition and consumers

The shortage of transformers risks seriously compromising renewable energy connection projects as well as the decarbonization of industries. It also poses a significant risk to the EU’s energy independence and could lead to higher electricity prices for households and businesses.

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This article explores Europe’s current power transformer crisis, revealing how this shortage threatens to derail the continent’s energy transition. The situation raises urgent questions about Europe’s ability to maintain its environmental commitments while ensuring a stable and affordable supply of electrical energy. Faced with this crisis, it is crucial for decision-makers to find solutions to increase the production capacity of transformers and to support the training of specialists necessary for this essential industry.

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