QUESTION: Marty, I have been following you now for a few years. You seem to be never wrong. You always say it is not your opinion. Is there some secret to how you do this? Nobody else seems to even compare. Or is it all just the computer?
ANSWER: We all are human and as such we make mistakes. I understand that the big picture with war and events seems to be never wrong. That is Socrates – not me. I have been wrong in regard to my interpretation at times, but the cycles are always correct like the ECM.
I was one of the first International Hedge Fund Managers. I had even warned Congress back in 1985 that they should merge the CFTC and SEC because complying with one meant you went to prison with the other. They forced funds management offshore. We are all connected. You cannot have gold rise to $10,000 and the dollar turns to dust and nothing else happens. The world economy is like a set of dominoes. If you get the first one right, all the rest will follow.
These people who try to forecast one market can NEVER be correct for the wildcard always comes externally. Right now, the Ukraine war is impacting the global economy and markets. You could not asses the impact by simply watching the Fed. If it were not for (1) the stupid lockdowns of COVID disrupting the supply chain, then (2) this proxy war against Russia and imposing the absurd sanctions on them when they are a key supplier around the world in many areas, then inflation would not have risen and the Fed would not be raising interest rates. Those in power simply only look in front of their nose. Every action has a ripple effect that impacts long-term events. We cannot escape that. I have designed Socrates to survive me. It is not my opinion and when I do express my opinion I state the difference. Even my interpretation of an array can be wrong, not the array.
Everything is connected. We cannot escape that. Without Socrates monitoring everything around the world and writing its own reports on over 1,000 instruments globally, there is nobody who can possibly compete with a personal opinion. The world is far too complex for an individual to see everything from a personal gut feeling.
Because I had focused on currencies from the collapse of Bretton Woods and was called into the first bank failure in 1973 because of a 7% move in currencies, my company attracted clients from around the world. I had to see the world through everyone’s eyes – not just the dollar. In July 1985, I took the back cover of the Economist for 3 weeks announcing the end of deflation/peak in the dollar, and the reemergence of inflation, which led to the Japanese Bubble in 1989. Interest Rates peaked the very day at 1981.35. The end of that wave was 1985.65 the month of July. It was the beginning of a Private Wave which will end 2037.25.
We published charts back in Barron’s during the early 1980s showing gold in dollars compared to a basket of currencies. We ended up with the largest institutions in the world because our reports went out on telex and the communication costs per market were $225 per day. Only the biggest institutions could afford our services. Then came fax, and then email which has expanded our reach to everyone these days. But make no mistake about this. People may criticize me and others are desperate to try to prevent people from using us. It is either because they cannot compete and pretend this is my opinion rather than a computer, or they want to manipulate the markets and we just get in their way.
I was in conversation with people I know in Europe. It is like the entire world has flipped upside down. This Climate Change Agenda is something far more sinister than anyone in mainstream media is willing to print for it has really little to do with saving the planet. If you are pro-War with Russia, which is all the mainstream media and politicians, then you are now “progressive” and/or “liberal” and if you are against the war then you are a right-wing extremist. It is just fashionable to now desire World War III. Never in my wildest imagination when I stood up at our 2011 World Economic Conference in Philadelphia and put up our forecast that our model on war would turn up in 2014, did I ever expect war to become fashionable.
I remember the ’60s when there were protests against Vietnam. No way that those protesters were labeled as “right-wing extremists” and the pro-war were “liberals” as is the case today. I will admit, that at first, I was pro-war believing that Communism was a great threat. I grew up during the ’50s when we would have drills and we were told to hide under our desks in case of a nuclear attack. Those drills in grade school had an impact on me. It really made you think that the Communists wanted to kill everyone. I remember the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis and walking with my friends when I was just 12 years old talking about geopolitics. It was an era of mental conditioning and we seem to be going through a similar process with Climate Change and War.
NETFLIX and AMAZON are both refusing to air anything that is anti-war calling them right-wing extremists. We seem to be dealing with a complete inversion of the thinking process that I noticed in reading all the newspapers to write the Greatest Bull Market in History back in 1986. Before 1929, rising interest rates were bullish for the stock market for it showed there was still a demand for money. After 1929 and the dawn of socialism, suddenly rising interest rates became bearish because the Federal Reserve wanted us to stop buying and save our cash.
Here is a photo of Prohibition agents standing with a still and mason jars used to distill hard liquor in the Washington, D.C. area on November 11th, 1922. This was a similar movement where women blamed liquor for drunk and/or lazy husbands. Nationwide Prohibition lasted from 1920 until 1933. The Eighteenth Amendment—which illegalized the manufacture, transportation, and sale of alcohol—was passed by the U.S. Congress in 1917. In 1919 the amendment was ratified by three-quarters of the nation’s states required to make it constitutional. It lasted for 13 years.
During this 13-year period, Prohibition spawned the rise in candy as well as soft drinks. Coca-Cola was popular and was often sold at Soda Fountains that were common in drug stores. In fact, even in the 1950s, the Pharmacy on Main Street in the town I grew up in still had a soda fountain, and recall going after school and having a milkshake.
Indeed, Patent Medicines were all taxed. Some companies printed their own tax stamps. Even Coca-Cola was initially created as a medicine. It seems logical that Pharmacies end up creating soda fountains. Even during the early 1960s, you would go to the local Pharmacy for a milkshake.
There were the “WETS” who staged a major protest on June 14, 1919, at the U.S. Capitol to support an appeal for the exemption of beer and wine from Prohibition. They did not listen to the WETS any more than they are listening to cries for peace – not war today. When our computer projected that war would start in 2014 and had pinpointed Ukraine, looking ahead post-2024, the world will be engulfed in war. There seems to be nobody interested in peace. They are now cheering for World War III. Hiding under the kitchen table or your desk in school is not going to work in a nuclear war.
COMMENT: As an ex-soldier, whilst reading your posts regarding the Right to bear arms, Nitrogen fertilizer, and Diesel fuel I suddenly got a brain warp to the past. In Rhodesia with sanctions on us, we developed a bomb using Nitrogen fertilizer, blue soap, and diesaline. It was similar to napalm. When the change came to Zimbabwe all our weapons were taken away from us and locked up. We also had to reapply for licenses for any private weapons. This shows that when you have an informed and prepared public the government is at a disadvantage. The current attack on fertilizer, auto fuels, and guns shows just how scared the WEF and their one world order are desperate to control these three commodities. WHY? CB
REPLY: I think you bring up a very good point that is often overlooked. Nitrogen fertilizer can be used to make bombs. They are doing their best to try to outlaw all guns. It seems they want more crazy people shooting up schools and then they demand the end to guns every time. There is no question that those in power KNOW the monetary system is collapsing. They have put forth Guaranteed Basic Income (GBI), NOT because they care about the people, they ONLY care about retaining power over the people. The EU has wiped out most pension funds with negative interest rates since 2014 and decrees that they must have government bonds between 70% and 90%. Scandinavia is outside of the EU.
The GBI is to prevent millions of people from storming the Parliament with pitchforks when they wake up and their pensions are gone. Eliminating guns and even Nitrogen fertilizers are part of the effort to disarm the people. What is taking place in the Netherlands and this insane demand to end Nitrogen fertilizers under the pretense of Climate Change is more suited for a B-Rated SciFi movie with green lizard aliens coming to eat all humanity. They are using Climate Change for Political Change.
If you dare suggest peace, you suddenly are painted as a Putin Supporter. The West simply wants war and this is really about Climate Change. Even the propaganda pretending this is all Putin and if somehow he was removed, the world would be better is utter nonsense. We may see the reality of that come April/May 2023. The West is perfectly fine with sacrificing the Ukrainian people for their agenda. They are just collateral damage that they are willing to sacrifice until the last Ukrainian dies.
There are people who know Russia as I do. The press will not air their views or question the narrative they have been instructed to push because it goes against their desired agenda. Former Commander of US Army General Ben Hodges admitted that Putin’s successor will be “much worse.” Hodges said. “We see the North Caucasus and (Chechen leader Ramzan) Kadyrov, who is anticipating Russia’s possible collapse and is trying to protect himself somehow. I absolutely don’t call for regime change in Russia – this is the choice for the Russian people to make, but we must understand that whoever comes after Putin will be much worse.”
What the Western news is presenting is worse than propaganda – it is a deliberate lie. The West is really waging war for Climate Change. This is why not a single Western leader is calling for any peace or negotiation. My mentor in geopolitical analysis has been Henry Kissinger. Henry has publicly stated that EVERY president has always invited him to the White House but not Biden.
On the other side of the world, the US has been supplying military equipment to Taiwan since 1979 under the Taiwan Relations Act. Before Biden, the US has agreed to acknowledge the One China policy that states Taiwan is under Chinese rule. “A direct confrontation should be avoided and Taiwan cannot be the core of the negotiations because it is between China and the United States,” Kissinger stated, going as far as to say neutrality is crucial to “overall peace.”
In pledging to defend Taiwan from any Chinese attack, the president has made war with China much more likely. He has openly reverse policy with China since the days of Nixon. The Climate Change people in his administration driven by the insane Progressive Green Movement, has done everything possible to create World War III with no regard for humanity because the planet takes top priority. I suppose a bunch of nukes flying around is good for the planet if it removes more of we – the new plague of vermin.
I previously reported that my sources inside the ICC would move to charge Putin with war crimes. No head of state has EVER been charged for the actions of those on the battlefield. Russia is not a member of the ICC, and neither is the United States for that matter. This has merely guaranteed that we are heading into World War III. Putin will not attend the G20, for now, he certainly cannot when the West would use the event to stage an arrest of Putin. They have burned all the bridges for negotiation for peace. This leaves the only resolution is all-out war.
Then the United Nations also ensured that we have no choice but to enter World War III. This is the agenda. The United Nations General Assembly has now adopted a resolution calling for Russia to pay war reparations for its invasion of Ukraine. This is to include the billions of dollars in damage and destruction, as well as reparations for the loss of life. This, too, GUARANTEES there will be no resolution, and this entire event was staged to force Putin to move in to protect the Donbas when Ukraine and the West have torn up both the Belgrade and Minsk Agreements because they want to destroy Russia for climate change.
Russia is the largest energy producer. Some 50% of its GDP is all energy. The US blew up the pipeline deliberately to cut off the sale of energy to Europe. What the US did was an act of war. Of course, nobody in the West and certainly not the ICC or the United Nations would EVER rule against the United States. The West is on this climate change mission, and they are desperately trying to destroy Russia using Ukraine as an excuse.
This UN resolution states plainly that the Russian Federation “must bear the legal consequences of all its internationally wrongful acts, including making reparation for injury, including any damage, caused by such acts.” It boldly goes even further, stating that it will establish “an international mechanism for reparation for damage, loss or injury.”
This is the very same action that was taken against Germany following World War I. They imposed draconian reparation payments that impoverished the German people and caused hyperinflation when the government seized 10% of all private wealth to try to make those payments in December 1922 and laid the very foundation for Hitler’s rise.
It was John Maynard Keynes who warned that the reparations against Germany would create disaster. In his “The Economic Consequences of the Peace,” published in December 1919, Keynes predicted that the stiff war reparations and other harsh terms imposed on Germany by the treaty would lead to the financial collapse of the country. That indeed unleashed the hyperinflation in 1923 and led to the German people turning to Hitler, as Keynes warned, because it would have serious economic and political repercussions on Europe as a whole. That set the stage for World War II, and once again, these people are repeating the very mistakes that unleashed World War II all for climate change.
The sheer stupidity of what is taking place among our world leaders is unthinkable. They WANT war to cover up the collapse of Western debt and the entire monetary system, for they can no longer borrow endlessly. That is precisely what Yellen has said by admitting that she wants to buy back long-term debt and swap it with short-term all because there is a growing debt crisis with NO BID on the long-term as we just saw in the British market.
If you cannot negotiate peace — there is ONLY one solution — all-out war. Ukrainian people are fools. The West has been using them as cannon fodder, and they welcome the death of every Ukrainian to justify their war against Russia. They will wage this proxy war against Russia until the last Ukrainian dies. It is a shame that people believe the propaganda all to “Cry Havoc and let slip the dogs of war.”
This is all about climate change. Imposing these types of sanctions is total insanity. It led to the rise of Hitler, and this only confirms my deepest concern that the removal of Putin will lead to the real hardliners seizing power, and the only reparations solution will be to wipe out Ukraine off the face of the map.
There will be no other solution. They have all now confirmed that they do not seek peace. Russia has stated many times it would negotiate and simply demanded what had been agreed upon in the Minsk Agreement. The Donbas has never been part of Ukraine. Their refusal to allow Russians in the Donbas to vote on their own sovereignty and even outlawing their language and religion is not a fight for democracy, as Zelensky claims — this is a proxy war against Russia. Zelensky has committed his country to a hopeless war, and he will flee at the end, given sanctuary and a private jet for being a good boy and betraying his own people.
The West has indeed unleashed the Dogs of War. Cry Havoc, for our pretend elected politicians prefer war to honest economic reform where they would have to admit that borrowing year after year with no intention of ever paying anything back has come to an end. They were willing to sacrifice the lives of so many people all to retain power.
Russia fired a number of missiles at Ukraine taking down power grids and hitting Lviv which is just 50 miles from Poland. It appears that two of those missiles fell short and landed in Poland. Latvia’s deputy prime minister, Artis Pabriks, said Moscow had fired missiles that landed in Poland and Putin sent Warsaw his condolences. Meanwhile, the US Pentagon has said it could not confirm that Russian missiles had crossed into Poland.
The question is will NATO use this as the excuse they have been waiting for to launch a war against Russia next week or come January, or do they want Ukraine to run out of soldiers to wear down Russia first? The strategy has been to use Ukraine as they did in Afghanistan to fund locals to wage a war to defeat Russia by attrition. We created the Taliban and all the arms we provided in that proxy war then led to them turning against Americans and also the attack on 9/11 – the unintended consequences of proxy wars.
Despite the fact that McCain was a Republican, he conspired with Hillary against Trump and handed the fake dossier to the FBI because Trump would not fund his dream proxy war to have Ukrainians start the civil war against the Russians in the Donbas he started back in 2014. McCain and Hillary were both Neocons. Despite being in opposite parties, they both always wanted to destroy Russia. No doubt, Hillary is calling everyone urging World War III now using these two missiles that hit Poland proclaiming this is a war on NATO. US Intelligence now confirms that Russian missiles hit Poland. Now Poland has called an emergency meeting about the incident.
These people are desperate for war. They want to create world war III all to hide the collapse of our monetary system and the central banks cannot prop up the bond markets where nobody in their right mind would buy any long-term debt from any of these countries. The game is over! If they cannot keep the funding going for socialism, then it is time for war. As Maggie use to say – we have run out of other people’s money – just like FTX.
We have been hearing a lot of talk about nuclear war as if it were nothing. One aspect that has been missing is what happens to us when our electric grid is turned into dust. I want to talk about just one aspect – transformers. Whether at the power plant, or at the receiving end, large power transformers are essential. We are talking about 100MVA and larger. These things take several years to build, assuming the material supply chains and production facilities are intact and functional. If not, all time frames are significantly extended. Further, our existing power transformers are nearing end of life. Imagine what would happen if a significant amount of electrical infrastructure was damaged. Here is an article to help understand.
Large electric transformers are inconvenient machines. They are large and heavy, which means they usually need to be delivered by sea freight, not air freight, which would be faster. They must be designed by specially trained engineers and assembled by experienced technicians. They require expensive and often rare materials, like copper, specifically milled steel, high-cellulose paper and other hard to come by components. They have extremely exacting technical specifications, which limits production and keeps new producers out of the market. They must be built to exacting standards for safety and reliability, which requires extensive testing and often customized manufacture.
As inconvenient as large transformers are, the power grid as we know it could not function without them, or even without enough of them. According to the Energy Department’s Office of Electricity, over 90 percent of the electricity consumed in the U.S. passes through a large power transformer.
Before a pandemic sent shudders through global supply chains, the U.S. was 82% reliant upon imports to meet its need for large transformers, according to a 2020 study by the Commerce Department. The U.S. power grid’s increasingly talked-about issue with aging equipment also extends to transformers. The average age of installed large transformers in the U.S. is about 40 years, which is at the end of their expected operational life. Older transformers are more likely to fail and need replacement, but a look at these statistics is enough to show that the U.S. was already sitting in a risky spot before supply chains became a common topic in the mainstream.
Today, people in the industry are reporting longer lead times to get needed equipment, including transformers. Jim Templeton, a third-party consultant to POWER Engineers with 40-plus years in the industry and his own consulting firm, JB Templeton Consulting LLC, said an aging power grid and ongoing supply chain issues are mixing in disruptive ways.
“I deal with a number of different clients on the utility side and about a year ago we started to see lead times from transformer manufacturers creep up. Before the pandemic, you could get a large transformer ordered in less than a year. Today that is rare. A relatively large manufacturer in the US was at about 38 months. That used to be 38 weeks if you were to compare,” Templeton said.
The dramatically lengthening lead times for needed parts is throwing utilities’ emergency contingency plans into confusion.
“The danger I see in this is you don’t know in that 38-month period will you lose another transformer and what will you then need to repair that spot on the grid? Our grid is, I think, fairly old. There’s a lot of aging transformers on the grid. Dealing with my clients, they are trying to come up with how do I respond to an emergency situation,” Templeton said.
Scott Marshall. principal engineer with POWER Engineers, said equipment distributors used to have reservation slots for emergency situations, but now are not able to find used transformers.
“When I was with a utility, we could go to a transformer supplier in an emergency and get what we needed in about six months. That quick replacement we used to be able to get, you might be waiting a year or more. They can’t find those slots for you,” Marshall said. “They may put in a dicey unit just to get the power flowing, knowing that they may have to replace it in one or two years.”
In a video interview with T&D World, Templeton said many utilities get their equipment, including transformers, from an approved supplier list. The tightening of certain supplies led to utilities going off their usual lists and make compromises just to get needed gear.
“[Utilities having trouble finding equipment] now have to open up the doors to a much larger set of potential suppliers, ones they’ve never had a relationship with before just to get what they need. That might not sound horrible, but these relationships have a positive effect on the procurement slide,” Templeton said. “Now people are having to purchase from companies and countries that they never worked with before.”
It is still relatively easy to get a 10 MVA transformer from a supplier utilities know and are used to dealing with, but a 1000 MVA transformer might not be available from a reliable source, Templeton said.
The Energy Department is looking into the drivers of these shortages, and they are complicated and global. According to a “deep dive” supply chain assessment released by the DOE in February 2022, produced as part of an executive order to investigate supply chain disruptions, raw material shortages are to blame for the manufacturing shortfalls of critical power grid equipment like transformers. The report focuses on raw material supplies, such as rare earth metals for energy storage batteries. However, just as much time is spent on grain-oriented electrical steel (GOES), which is a critical component in transformer cores and laminations.
The GOES it takes to build a transformer can make up a quarter of the finished good’s production cost. In a large transformer weighing some 400 tons, GOES is a large part of that weight.
According to a Commerce Department report from October 15, 2020, the U.S. manufacturing bas for GOES is on life support, with only one company, AK Steel, Inc., a unit of Cleveland Cliffs Inc., milling GOES at two factories in Ohio and Pennsylvania. These factories are not profitable, and the CEO has said the company may close the last GOES plants in the U.S., leaving the country entirely dependent on imports, according to the Commerce Department. Most of the GOES in the world comes from China (including Hong Kong), Japan, France, German, India, Poland, the Czech Republic, Russia, Brazil and South Korea.
Also, much of this supply is used internally and not exported, the Commerce Department notes. This is because countries like China and India are in the process of large power grid buildouts.
“In contrast, the U.S. market is mature, and demand for transformers is largely based on upgrades and replacements of aging infrastructure, including efforts to install smart grids to increase energy efficiency. The average transformer in the United States is 38 years old, with 70 percent of U.S. transformers older than 25 years,” according to the Commerce Department report, “The Effects and Imports of Transformer Components on the National Security.”
The Commerce Department said this situation is a threat to both the bulk power grid and national security. Perhaps underscoring the seriousness of the situation, many portions of the report are redacted. The report goes on to identify 16 critical sectors of the economy that could not operate without large transformers, including power plants, hospitals, waste systems, critical manufacturing, transportation systems, large commercial facilities and government facilities including military bases.
Impact on Utilities
Michael Ho, Director of Support Services at Hawaiian Electric, said his utility has seen lead times jump from 16 weeks to 142 weeks for single-phase pad-mounted transformers. Just within the past few months, lead times have more than doubled.
“We have been able to rely upon our current inventory levels to cover short-term demand thus far, and have not had any significant impacts or delays to projects as of yet.
However, while we have a steady stream of orders in place with transformer manufacturers to replenish our inventory, there is a growing concern that we could deplete our stock if demand is higher than forecasted or if the lead times continue to increase,” Ho said. “Without enough transformers in inventory, we will not be able to cover all of the transformers that are needed for projects such as new customer installations, upgrades, maintenance and emergency replacements.”
Ho said Hawaiian Electric and other utilities are urging developers and contractors to plan carefully to minimize impact on end users, communicating their plans and equipment needs to utilities as far ahead as possible to allow for longer order times.
“Projects that require non-standard transformers that aren’t frequently used have a higher potential risk since limited inventory is kept on hand for these types of transformers and there will be a significant delay in ordering and receiving new transformers,” Ho said.
Prices, along with lead times, are ballooning as well as the materials and freight costs are increasing.
“We’ve also had to dedicate much more time and cost to managing the situation, including added communication and planning. There’s also the potential of delayed revenue from new services should customer projects get delayed,” Ho said. “we’re working more closely and having more frequent meetings with our distributors to get up-to-date information on the production and delivery of our orders. We’ve also had to reach out to additional manufacturers and distributors as we seek out additional sources of supply for our materials.”
Ho said his utility is looking into repairing or refurbishing used transformers as a way to boost inventory levels and sidestep long lead times.
“We will also need to look at all alternatives for utilizing other substitute (e.g. higher kva) transformers that may be available or redesigning the system on a temporary or permanent basis,” Ho said.
Rebuilding Back Better
Scott Marshall said this might not be a desirable option for many utilities as repairing and refurbishing can be expensive.
“I haven’t had one refurbished for a while and I’m always reluctant to do it,” Marshall said. “If it’s an older unit, say 30 years old, to really refurb it, you spend a lot of money on it. Sometimes as much as 80% as new.”
Transformer components like gauges, bushings and low-tap changers have to be replaced when a unit gets too old. Besides this, many refurbishment facilities may not have the robust testing capabilities they once did, which can lead to more core losses and less efficiency.
Jim Templeton said in his time managing a large transformer manufacturing facility in the U.S., the refurbishment industry was more developed than it is today.
“Scott said it cost 80% of new to send a unit to a place like that, and we averaged about 75% of the new price. But our advantage was lead time. We could turn it around quicker than the OEM guys could turn it out,” Templeton said.
2022 would be an ideal market for a refurbisher. However, in the 2000s, it became cheaper to buy new large transformers and many remanufacturers went out of business as transformers became “throw-away items,” Templeton said.
This touches upon another driver of transformer scarcity in North America. Besides a lack of materials, there is a lack of manufacturing capacity and the skilled engineering workforce to bring production up to where it needs to be.
“I am often asked where I can go to get an engineer,” Templeton said. “My answer usually was Ukraine, which is not easy to get into now. India also has universities with those programs because they have transformer industries and wanted to have workers to go into those factories. The reason why U.S. schools are not teaching these programs is because the manufacturing jobs left.”
Marshall said manufacturers reported to him a scarcity of skilled labor.
“They are having a lot of trouble finding technicians. When Covid hit, the factory environment became more dangerous, so they had people leave who didn’t want to work in that risky environment. As they tried to bring people back on, it can take at least a year to train people,” Marshall said.
Companies often run lot of training programs, but sometimes cannot recoup their investment when people will move companies after getting their training, Marshall said. It is also challenging to get younger workers to relocate to where they are needed to do the job.
“The younger work force, they say, may not want to pay their dues,” Marshall said. “In some places, the cost of living is so high, which also makes finding skilled labor hard.”
The protracted pandemic, supply chain and logistical concerns interrupted transformer manufacturing in 2020 and 2021, said Bill Miller, Senior Vice President, Marketing and Sales for Hitachi Energy’s North American Transformer Business.
“This situation has not improved in 2022 – lead-times continue to be long, and customers continue to place advanced orders to respond to these longer lead times. The situation has actually worsened since the start of the year,” Miller said.
Miller said a confluence of issues are to blame, including regional constraints on core steel and conductor materials; growing transportation expenses as well as delays at ports and railways; and the additional tariff costs that apply to goods imported from foreign countries.
“Labor shortages and global trade difficulties do play a big role. The primary shortfall is simply lack of overall investment in the U.S. (by the industry, broadly) to expand manufacturing capabilities for core materials (steel) needed to produce transformers,” Miller said in an email to T&D World.
About 75% of the cost to make a transformer is tied directly to a commodity whose price is subject to constraints and wild swings in cost: specialized steel, copper and oil. All of these have been climbing in price.
Miller said large players in the transformer sector, like Hitachi, will be able to mitigate some of the effects via economies of scale and by drawing upon the capacity of facilities from other parts of the world.
“On the distribution transformer side, utility companies should collaborate to standardize their requirements and reduce variation in designs. More consistent designs would enable simplified and more efficient supply chains,” Miller said, suggesting a possible solution.
In April 2022, the Biden administration introduced programs as part of the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to provide $20 million in rebates to replace old distribution transformers and upgrade electric motors. The transformer program is open to utilities and includes $10 million that will be available until it is spent. The DOE estimates applications will open in the third quarter of 2022.
Miller said transformer remanufacturers are under the same constraints OEMs are, however.
“Given the current market conditions, refurbishment doesn’t save a great deal in terms of either time or money and doesn’t do anything to relieve the overall supply chain constraints we are currently seeing,” Miller said.
Even so, transformer service providers are working in unfamiliar new ways to help address the shortage.
“Recondition manufacturers are working together to help each other with supply gaps. Within the industry, competitors are buying/selling transformers from each other to support the customer base,” said Barbara Beaubien, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Emerald Transformer, which provides a range of transformer services, including remanufacturing.
Emerald Transformer is building a new plant in Waco, Texas to better support its customer base and the state of Texas. Growth in residential construction, in addition to the aging U.S. grid, are powerful drivers affecting the transformer industry, Beaubien said.
“Many more utilities are refurbishing transformers now that hadn’t considered it before they faced the transformer supply shortage with OEMs,” Beaubien said.
After initial tests, transformers are equipped with new gaskets, components and oil with additional testing throughout the rebuild before sanding, priming and painting and a final testing, Beaubien said. New transformers can take as long as two years to be delivered, and most OEMs are quoting 52 weeks plus for padmount transformers. Refurbished transformers can be available in a couple of months in most cases, Beaubien said.
In the Meantime
Templeton said this is a long-term problem with no easy answers, and said utilities need to act accordingly.
“If I was a utility in this position, I’d do everything possible to protect the transformers I have,” Templeton said.
This could include deploying protective relaying, audits of insulation coordination and making sure units are protected from incoming transients and other potential sources of physical damage.
“It appears to me that over the years, the utilities have had more internal pressures brought on them to reduce maintenance costs. PUCs are trying to keep down electric costs, and what I see is utilities are not necessarily given a full complement of dollars to do maintenance,” Templeton said.
This leads to utilities performing condition-based maintenance rather than full maintenance. So a utility may put off vegetation management, then trees fall on lines and transformers explode, thus contributing to a problem affecting the entire industry.
The U.S. power grid, Templeton said, was built differently from the start, using a different engineering philosophy.
“In Europe, they might have two equally sized units sharing the load. So, they split the load in two by running them parallel,” Templeton said. “Our philosophy was we use the asset. It has a nameplate and we use it up to that. In other places around the world, they don’t do that. We will work the livin’ daylights out of our existing units.”
Chief of Defense Eirik Kristoffersen predicts that Norway will be part of the area responsible for mobilizing a joint NATO command center. A final decision will be made during the first half of 2023. NATO currently has a command center in Bussum, Netherlands, which was activated in February as soon as the war began. Kristofferson said that the joint NATO venture is being led by the US Marines – first ones in, last ones out.
Once Sweden and Finland become full NATO members, they will join the joint NATO army. Finland has stated that it wants to be under the control of US forces, which was one of their premises when they decided to join the alliance. The Nordic alliance remains strong, and Norway’s strategic placement will allow it to become the center of operations. With the powerful backing of the world’s most powerful military, NATO’s army will grow. They are preparing.
It is rare for a celebrity to speak out against the agenda. Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters has reached a level of fame where he can question the status quo as his legacy is sealed. Waters called Biden a “war criminal” for encouraging the war in Ukraine. “This war is about the action and reaction of NATO pushing right up to the Russian border, which they promised they wouldn’t do when Gorbachev negotiated the withdrawal of the USSR,” Waters declared. Amazing how a musician understands the situation better than politicians.
CNN attempted to argue with Waters, but he held firm. The reporter attempted and failed to belittle Waters by saying he should see Russia as the enemy as his father died in the last world war. However, that is precisely what Waters and any sensible human are aiming to avoid – another world war. “Don’t forget 23 million Russians died protecting you and me from the Nazis,” Waters said.
He then asked the reporter what he thought America would do if China began to line up on the US border. We all know the answer to that question. Imagine if China placed nuclear weapons in or near Canada and Mexico? The nuclear apocalypse would have already happened.
Many hold the same views as Roger Waters, but they are too afraid to speak up. The average person, who may not tune into political commentary, will listen to celebrities when they speak. The problem becomes the fear of cancelation. It is career suicide to question the current agenda. Pink Floyd cannot be canceled; they’ve been popular for far too many decades. The left “hippies” of the past are nothing like the hipsters today who encourage war and echo the voices of the elite.
QUESTION: Dear Marty Are we indeed witnessing this divide between socialists/Marxists and conservatives/sensible people worldwide not just in the USA? Is this the last worldwide battle against marxism (anti-God)? Look at Brazil. No different. In the protests yesterday several Lula supporters actually ran over Bolsonaristas who were protesting in the street. At least 5 were taken to the hospital and reports of some deaths. They were filmed on people’s phones. It’s horrible what the left will do. Is this the point where we all need to choose a side and step up to be counted? Freedom has to be fought for it seems.
ANSWER: Unfortunately, yes. While the United States is deeply divided and will ultimately break up as will Europe, our politicians have been fanning the flames of division. The controversy that Tucker Carlson created by characterizing Jammie Raskin as saying “Russia is an Orthodox Christian country with traditional social values. And for that reason, it must be destroyed no matter what the cost to us.” Tucker’s interpretation of Raskin’s speech is incorrect. Implied by Raskin was that the Democrats stand for freedom and politicians should not be telling you what to do. He insinuates that Putin rejects those ideas implied because it is an Orthodox Christian Country. Putin has rejected the West’s cancel culture and teaching sexual fluidity to children he called a Crime against Humanity.
Putin has said that the cancel culture, and divisions of people, were once part of Russia and led to its demise. Yes, he stands against homosexuality, and this is part of what is inferred by Raskin that Russia is not as liberal and rejects the principles of Wokeness and the push of the Democrats. Did Raskin outright call for a religious war? No. However, his vitriol is rather absurd pretending that the Democrats stand for democracy and freedom when they are dictating how everyone should live from heating their homes to what they drive. Then, he pretends that America stands for Ukraine while refusing to explain that Zelensky has outlawed Russian to be spoken by Russians in the Donbas and that they are to surrender their religious beliefs as well.
On September 6th, 2014, an official statement was made illustrating the religious battle that was also unfolding. The new Patriarch Filaret, who heads the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyivan Patriarchate, came out and said that Russian President Vladimir Putin has fallen under the spell of Satan and faces eternal damnation to hell unless he repents.
The Western press refuses to report the antics of Zelensky. He has waged a holy war. He has raised the so-called Patriarch of Kyiv and ordered all the Russians in the Donbas that their churches are now to be subsidiaries of Kyiv. He has supplanted the Patriarch of Moscow replacing him with his Kyiv version effectively this is like replacing the Pope with some local bishop. The French did that by seizing the Papacy and moving it from Rome to Avignon. But, hey, Zelensky stands for freedom and democracy while refusing to honor the Mink Agreement that was to allow the Donbas to vote on their independence. So much for democracy.
Why should there be one country under God? It was the Civil War that saw the motto “IN GOD WE TRUST” appears on American Currency in 1864. God is no longer part of the foundation of the United States. Marxism is forbidden by the Ten Commandments. Religion has been under assault in America for quite some time. Some have argued that getting rid of paper money will even kill that motto once and for all.
There is nothing about the United States that adheres to any religious dogma. This idea of “freedom” is really freedom from any religious restraint. This is what has divided the country deeply and the Democrats are looking to win on Abortion. There were extreme abortion supporters who supported even an abortion right after birth. Even the Washington Posthad to question that one. I suppose we can do away with the death penalty and just call it post-birth abortion to make it sound better and legal.
The world is divided. Politicians have caused havoc worldwide. They are only interested in winning at all costs and have been demonizing their opponents and that simply divides the country just as Hillary called everyone who voted for Trump, 50%+ – DEPLORABLES. Let’s face it. Both sides are running campaigns of hate.
The United States is already divided. History confirms that a house divided like this cannot possibly stand. The post-2032 era will be a period where society must come to grips with how to design a nation from scratch. The politicians have fueled the politics of hate. I for one could never see myself even dating someone from the other side politically. It would result in constant arguments and at the end of the day, you just cannot live with someone who would be opposed to all your basic beliefs.