Private power production and integration opportunities A case study for decentralized energy production in Senegal

University essay from KTH/Elektriska energisystem

Author: Alban Pelletier; [2015]

Keywords: ;


Load shedding events are a major concern today for the Senegalese power grid, which production, transport, distribution and selling are operated by the national power company SENELEC. Even if some improvements have been made these last years through important power plant renovation campaigns, unserved energy still represented 1.5% of the total power demand in 2013. These events are mainly due to two factors: grid failure or work on the one hand (65% of unserved energy in 2013) and production lack or failure on the other hand (35% of unserved energy in 2013). If grid failure problems are being tackled by some rehabilitations and extension of the network, production lack problems will only be solved on the long term by setting up new power plants to face the increasing power demand.

In order to face these power shortages, many customers have installed their own generation sources, mostly diesel generators used in case of emergency, but also more recently photovoltaic panels to both ensure power supply reliability thanks to storing batteries and reduce their electricity bills. These installations represent an important power production still unexploited today by SENELEC.

The goal of this Master Thesis was then to see the potential use that could be made of these generation sources to reduce unserved energy in the short term. Diesel generators could thus be used for voluntary load shedding if properly implemented and photovoltaic installations could be connected to the grid to inject their production surplus. These two solutions were studied both from a technical and economical point of view, and their potential impact on unserved energy reduction was quantified.

The results show that voluntary load shedding could actually reduce the amount of unserved energy due to production lack or failure by 40% to 80%, and that it is economically viable compared with other solutions such as production capacity renting. They also show that it is possible to connect domestic-scale photovoltaic installations to the low voltage grid without any negative impact on its operation in most of the situations met today.

Finally, some recommendations were made, including proposals for voluntary load shedding implementation and the setting up of a dedicated team at Senelec for photovoltaic integration studies.

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