Avangrid, a subsidiary of the Spanish energy company Iberdrola, has acquired a mobile transformer from Hitachi Energy.

The 168 megavolt-ampere custom-made equipment is designed to rapidly restore power at Avangrid’s renewable energy sites across the US.

The transformer’s multi-voltage capabilities enable deployment and installation within a few months at any of the company’s onshore wind and solar facilities.

The mobile transformer consists of three modules that can be transported on trailers by semi-trucks [a combination of a tractor unit and one or more semi-trailers] to the required site.

Its technology allows for a low profile and the capacity to endure higher-than-normal transport accelerations.

The transformer can help expedite the return of energy production while permanent replacement equipment is being sourced.

Avangrid CEO Pedro Azagra stated: “We are thrilled to have this first mobile transformer, which is an exciting new addition to Avangrid’s toolkit and will improve the resiliency and reliability of our wind and solar operations across the United States.

“When we reduce downtime at our renewable energy assets, we ensure that clean energy keeps flowing to our customers. New, innovative pieces of equipment like this are key to delivering on Avangrid’s mission to accelerate the clean energy transition.”

Utility-scale transformers play a crucial role in the electric grid, regulating the flow of energy from generation plants to consumers.

When these transformers fail, power generation is halted, and replacing them can take 18 months or more.

Avangrid’s investment in mobile transformer technology aims to mitigate such lengthy downtimes.

Hitachi Energy transformer business North America head and senior vice-president Steve McKinney stated: “The clean energy transition relies heavily on partnerships and collaboration. Working with Avangrid to design this innovative and versatile transformer solution ensures clean, reliable energy when and where it’s needed most, even if a transformer is damaged after a major storm.

“As part of this collaboration with Avangrid, this unique engineering solution also incorporates the skills of our expert services team to support installation and commissioning for fast relief and restoration, which is especially critical in an industry facing longer than usual lead times for new equipment.” 

Iberdrola recently moved to increase its stake in Avangrid by acquiring the remaining 18.4% for $2.6bn (€2.39bn) in an all-cash transaction.

This will elevate Iberdrola’s shareholding in Avangrid to 100%. The purchase price of $35.75 per share reflects an 11.4% premium over Avangrid’s closing stock price on 6 March 2024, the day before Iberdrola announced its initial proposal.