$GE Building Electric Grid of the Future

Barron’s headline: GE Is Building the Electricity Grid of the Future. Here’s What We Found on a Tour.

By Al Root
Aug. 7, 2022 8:00 am ET


The flexible transformer comes with a “knob” that allows operators to alter the transformer’s impedance–a technical term partly describing electrical resistance. Variable impedance will be helpful as renewable power generation proliferates. The power output from solar arrays can very minute by minute. Having a flexible transformer can make managing power transmission from an source like that easier.

The flexibility also comes in how this new transformer can be deployed. It’s a little like a universal spare for utilities. Utilities, of course, have to have back up transformers in case one goes down. Transformers can take a year to build. No one wants a blackout for a year. What’s more, it turns out these massive transformers are all, essentially, bespoke. They are built for a specific location and configuration.

The flexible transformer offers a big a benefit for the utility industry. Instead of having 10 backups for 10 substations using 10 different voltage ratios, now one or perhaps two backup transformers can do the job.