Major Drivers of Long-Term Distribution Transformer Demand

Research output: NRELTechnical Report


Distribution transformers, used to step-down medium voltage to service-voltage level for end-use electrical consumption, are currently experiencing major shortages. Utilities are experiencing extended lead times for transformers of up to 2 years (a 4x increase on lead times pre-2022) and prices have gone up by as much as 5-6 times in the past 2 years. Current shortages have been attributed to pent-up post-pandemic demand, workforce shortages and low retention rates, component supply chain challenges, and materials shortages (grain-oriented electrical steel, aluminum, and copper). The supply of this equipment is critical for the reliability and growth of the power system, and in meeting administration climate goals in terms of electrification of demand and the growth of renewable energy. This report details some of the initial analysis conducted by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), supported by the Department of Energy's Office of Electricity and Office of Policy, in assessing the long-term demand trends for distribution transformers. Expected increased demand is due to a confluence of not only electrification and renewable energy growth, but also in the context of aging electric infrastructure, increased frequency and severity of extreme weather events, and utility-driven investments in reliability and resiliency of the electricity distribution system.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages8
StatePublished - 2024

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/TP-6A40-87653


  • aging infrastructure
  • distribution system
  • distribution transformers
  • electrification
  • renewable energy
  • resilience
  • supply chain


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