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Cooperative Energy works to create the electric grid of the future

Published: Oct. 20, 2021 at 10:09 PM CDT
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COLUMBIA, Miss. (WDAM) - Creating the electric grid of the future. That’s what Cooperative Energy is trying to accomplish as they install the world’s first large flexible transformer in Columbia.

“We want to ensure that the transmission system is maintained and updated to ensure resilience and reliability,” says John Gilbertson, Director of Substation Engineering at Cooperative Energy.

Gilbertson says General Electric has helped make this possible after contacting him in February. He breaks down what goes into the new transformer.

“The transformer is built with multiple voltages that can be selected, and it’s got a built-in variable and cadences. It can be installed in multiple applications. So, the manufactures can build one transformer that a utility customer might have an emergency need to replace the transformer,” said Gilbertson.

Simply stated, the transformer wouldn’t have to be stationed at one grid. It can be moved to another grid if needed. This comes in handy following severe weather here in the Pine Belt.

Gilbertson says the hope for the company is to continue to meet the needs of each customer.

“Working toward an electric grid that is more resilient and more flexible and capable of powering the life of our 11 member distribution systems and the over 1 million Mississippians that they serve,” Gilbertson said.

The new transformer is expected to take six months to install. Each transformer like this costs one point five to $2 million.

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