Zevenhuizen, Groningen, The Netherlands

Grid upgrade means new transformer and noise barrier in Zevenhuizen

We are all familiar with new sources of energy, such as solar panels and wind power. We see them all over the place, and everyone uses them directly or indirectly. However, what is not widely known is that these new sources of energy can also cause an irregular load on the power grid. The large-scale use of various alternative sources of electricity, and their increasingly heavy-duty nature, has also grown enormously in recent years. And that causes overloading of the power grid. Our client Enexis is one of the grid operators in the Netherlands and is involved in maintaining and upgrading these grids on a daily basis.

  • Enexis
  • Energy
  • 2023

Transformer and noise barrier

With reports of voltage dips and complaints in Zevenhuizen (Groningen), the transformer was in need of replacement. The new and remotely adjustable transformer means voltage levels are controlled more effectively now. This allows Enexis to regulate the power of the transformer during daytime feed-in from solar panels. At other times, especially at night, the power required is different again, with transformer adjustments causing varying sound levels. At times like these, it is important that the low-frequency noise from the transformer does not cause noise pollution to surrounding homes. And specifically for this solution, Merford was approached to design and install a new noise barrier. They opted for a screen composed of modular SKS panels, consisting of sendzimir-galvanised steel sheets filled with high-quality acoustic padding and finished with a perforated plate. All manufactured in Merford’s own production facility in Gorinchem, of course. In terms of safety, the noise barrier is fitted with a Merford M41 emergency exit featuring an anti-panic mortice lock.

Tight yet flexible schedule

The delivery of the new transformer and installation of the new noise barrier followed a tight yet flexible schedule. This kept the so-called transformer downtime to a minimum, which was, of course, a major plus for all connected users in the area. No defrosting freezers, and no irritation from disrupted Wi-Fi or essential electrical connections. Mounting the noise barrier on the existing concrete foundation including anchoring proved more difficult on site than expected. Both Enexis and Merford demonstrated their expertise here, complementing each other well in this successful collaboration.

Silent transformers

There is major demand throughout the Netherlands for building new residential areas and connecting industrial customers. For Enexis and the other grid operators, the energy transition is a complex and challenging task. Scaling up existing sites is one solution and results in larger and heavier transformers. So a lot of effort is going into developing and creating silent transformers and effective solutions to noise pollution. But alongside all these upgrades, it is also important to keep an eye on maintenance. Just as everything has a certain lifespan, the same applies to the power grid, both below and above ground. So there is plenty of work to do for both Enexis and Merford, with one key pillar being compliance with all safety and noise requirements.