French public utility EDF and Schneider Electric have joined forces to develop and promote the electrification of rural areas in Africa
This is a major challenge, because there are currently more than 2 billion persons living in rural areas in the world without electric power. For the African Union of Electrical Power Generation, Transmission and Distribution Companies (UPDEA), supplying electric power is therefore an area of development as well as a source of high costs.
Schneider Electric has thus developed a so-called "two-phase" technique which is adapted to the context of supplying electricity to rural areas and supports strict cost-effective, just-enough capacity.
The solution developed includes:
- Medium voltage (MV) three-phase networks with undistributed neutral
- MV two-phase tap links extending as close as possible to areas of low-voltage consumption
It makes it possible to:
- simplify MV networks for their two-phase portion (gains in terms of bearers, settings, insulators and conductors);
- calibrate just-enough the single-phase transformers;
- significantly reduce the lengths of LV networks by bringing the MV networks as close as possible to the areas of consumption;
- to use the same operating methods as for three-phase networks.
Investment costs can be reduced by around 30% in comparison with networks that implement 100% three-phase MV technology. The setting up of this type of power grid is currently being studied in Morocco and in the Ivory Coast.