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Features Zurich, Switzerland 12-11-2021

5 min read

50 years of delivering world-class transformers from Varennes, Canada

Hitachi Energy large power transformer plant located in Varennes

2021 is a special year for the Hitachi Energy large power transformer plant located in Varennes (Quebec) as we celebrate 50 years of serving the industry. The Varennes plant has grown from about 100 people in 1971 to 300 amazing employees today. 

Covering an area of almost 30,000 square meters (over 300,000 square feet), the Varennes factory designs, engineers, and manufactures some of the world’s most reliable power transformers for North America and other parts of the world. The transformer’s power capacity ranges from 25 to 1200 MVA and their operating voltage reaches as high as 800 kV, which are among the largest in the world.

To date, the factory has produced more than 2,250 power transformers and nearly 400 shunt reactors, helping to provide and regulate electricity flowing from one city to another. These transformers transmit power from generating stations to thousands of homes and businesses that depend on the supply of reliable electricity.

Today and in years to come, the Varennes plant delivers on Hitachi Energy’s purpose of ‘Advancing a sustainable energy future for all’. Including providing our customers in Canada and North America with rupture resistant TXpand transformers, as well as low noise and low loss designs; protecting both people and the environment.

50 trees for 50 years

To celebrate this milestone and our company’s dedication to Sustainability, the Varennes team announced the planting of 50 trees on our factory grounds as legacy for future generations. The first tree was planted to recognize retired employee Danielle Beauregard, who had more than 40 years of service and greatly contributed to Varennes’ involvement in the local community. 

In the presence of Varennes’ Mayor and facility team, Danielle had the honor of throwing the first shovel of dirt and unwrapping the commemorative plaque. Recognizing the importance of our employees, 49 other Varennes team members, like Danielle, will be recognized during the year with a planting of a tree in their name.

Superior quality built on decades of experience and innovation

The Varennes factory takes pride in designing and engineering of a vast range of superior-quality transformers, including large power step-up transformers for power plants, auto-transformers with very high voltage, shunt reactors, transformers for static compensators and transformers for high voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission systems.

“It’s through solid processes and the intense passion for serving our customers that has allowed us to be a leader over the last 50 years.” said Steve McKinney, Senior VP and Head of the Transformer Business in North America for Hitachi Energy. “The team has accumulated decades of experience, setting the standards of excellence in North America and throughout the world.”

Varennes produces some of the largest transformers in the world

Highlights of Varennes’ major developments:

  • 1971 – Official opening of plant on October 4, 1971.
  • 1997 – Largest transformer ever short-circuit tested, a 775 MVA, 230 kV, 3-phase GSU (generator step-up) transformer for Canadian utility.
  • 2002 – Completion of the largest transformer built to date; 800 MVA, 345 kV and sent to the US market.
  • 2004 – Largest single-phase Auto transformer with tertiary ever built by the company; 750 MVA, 746 kV sent to the US market.
  • 2006 – Delivery of over 1,000 transformers to the industry!
  • 2010 – World’s first transformer designed with flexible tank walls for increased safety in the unlikely event of a failure.
  • 2013 – Largest 3-phase HVDC unit from the company designed with axial split windings; 242 MVA, 345/26.36/26.36 kV with LTC sent to the US market.
  • 2013 – Largest 3-phase Auto transformer ever short-circuit tested: 450 MVA, 315/120/12.5 kV unit.
  • 2014 – Varennes factory manufactures its highest single-phase MVA-per-limb unit ever built by the company; 475 MVA, 500/25 kV destined for a nuclear generating station.
  • 2017 – Varennes plant successfully tests its highest DC voltage HVDC transformer at 1,020 kV during a 2-minute timeframe.
  • 2017 – First to design, build, test and deliver a hardened transformer using newly developed technology – a ballistic protection solution for power transformers.
  • In 2017, Varennes builds its first Variable Shunt Reactor.
  • Always on the cutting edge of technology, the Varennes R&D team created:
    • Insulation system for power transformers in the 800kV range. 
    • Initiated a tank rupture risk mitigation through flexible tank design.
    • Developed a dynamic clamping pressing system for the North American market.
    • Developed a three-dimensional magnetic field simulation tool for widespread release throughout the company’s global transformer group.
  • In October 2021, the factory achieved 50 years of experience in large power transformer manufacturing.

Valuable research and development (R&D) efforts have been achieved over the plant’s history. Ongoing collaboration between the engineers in Varennes and engineers employed by the various Hitachi Energy facilities throughout the world ensures that our customers remain on the cutting edge of technology.

“Varennes’ success is a direct result from its talented and dedicated employees. We’re proud to have numerous team members who have been with us for more than 20 years with a number of recent retirees with over 40 years of service,” said Chadi Tannous, Varennes Factory Manager, Hitachi Energy. “Accordingly, we work hard to recruit employees across all disciplines that have attained a high level of knowledge and expertise in their given field. What this means for the customer is experience on every job that rivals any in the industry.”