The EU’s mandatory minimum efficiency performance standards (MEPS) differentiate power transformers by rated power, rated voltage, and technology. The first two of these are self-evident and performance-based. This article addresses whether technology is pertinent as a differentiator.
The main differentiation is between liquid-filled and dry-type transformers. Higher losses are considered acceptable for dry-type transformers to compensate for their ability to fulfil a particular fire performance requirement. This technology-based concession has resulted from its historical development, but it hampers innovation and creates unfair competition. A better approach would be to formalise the concession to apply to all transformers that fulfil a certain requirement — in this case fire performance (but the same principle would hold for other performance requirements such as noise or recyclability).
Adopting a technology-neutral approach to transformer MEPS is among the aspects to be considered in the upcoming review of Regulation (EU) No 548/2014. Taking the example of fire behaviour, a “transformer with increased fire safety” should be defined in an unambiguous, technology-neutral way, based on its particular characteristics. Subsequently, minimum levels for these characteristics should be set, and a corresponding, harmonised test method covering all the relevant technologies should be developed.
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