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The final report containing lessons learned, evaluations, and considerations for a spare transformer strategy to support our nation’s electric grid released from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T).

Recovery Transformer (RecX) is a mobile spare extra high voltage (EHV) transformer designed to rapidly deploy in the event of a transformer failure.

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Development of the prototype RecX completed in 2011 by ABB and the Electric Power Research Institute. RecX successfully field tested in CenterPoint Energy’s grid in March 2012. The field test demonstrated RecX’s rapid deployment speed by reducing the time needed to transport, install, and energize from the typical 8-12 weeks to less than six days.

In April 2015, the Department of Energy (DoE) released their Quadrennial Energy Review (QER), which highlights the significant risks associated with EHV transformers. The QER recommends that “DoE should lead — in coordination with DHS and other Federal agencies, states, and industry — an initiative to mitigate the risks associated with the loss of transformers” including the “development of one or more transformer reserves through a staged process.” Part of this development process requires assessing “technical specifications for reserve transformers” and how reserve transformers should be stored and deployed.

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DHS S&T’s work through the RecX program addresses these issues.

The RecX final report is “an assessment of recommended practices and guidance … when implementing enhanced emergency spare transformer programs” and discusses functional specifications for recovery transformers, evaluation of existing spare transformer strategies, and considerations for developing new ones.

By transitioning S&T’s RecX program, DoE can leverage DHS S&T’s findings and recommendations as the initial foundation of a national spare transformer strategy.

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