Date of Award

Winter 2011

Project Type


Program or Major

Electrical Engineering

Degree Name

Master of Science

First Advisor

Michael J Carter


Global climate model simulations, when scaled to the Northeast U.S. region, indicate that New England will by 2100 experience many more days each summer of daily maximum temperatures in excess of 90°F. Given the strong correlation between summer heat waves and electric power demand, the stresses placed on the components of the electric grid by prolonged, elevated power demand is of obvious concern.

In this thesis a standard thermal model for large transformers is coupled with a temperature-dependent electric power demand model to predict the frequency of transformer thermal overload events during the months of June, July, and August through the year 2099. The coupled demand/thermal model was driven by a projected daily maximum temperature time series extracted from the original datasets of the 2007 Northeast Climate Impacts Assessment of the Union of Concerned Scientists. The results of the calculations show that transformers loaded at 70% or less of their nameplate rating will not experience any significant increase in the frequency of thermal overload events even if New England's climate becomes substantially warmer. However, transformers loaded at 80% or more of their nameplate rating will experience an increasing frequency of thermal overload events in each of the summer months as time progresses to 2100. Ideas are presented for mitigating the increased likelihood of transformer thermal overload events.