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Sustainable development reaches new heights
Company News Friday, December 21, 2012: Schneider Electric South Africa (Pty) Ltd.
Schneider Electric and its Foundation surmount the challenge of high-altitude energy management
Managing the energy of any facility can be a challenge. But imagine the facility in question sits above the cloud line, far from any power infrastructure.
That’s the challenge the Schneider Electric™ Foundation presented when it asked Schneider Electric to serve as a major patron of the Refuge du Goûter project in France.
Perched a breathtaking 3,835 metres (12,582 feet) above sea level, overlooking the village of Saint Gervais, the Refuge du Goûter has long been an iconic destination for mountaineers, but one that desperately needed renovation.
Energy-management solutions with altitude
Now a new refuge has been constructed thanks to a bold €6.5 million initiative, remarkable feats of engineering, and state-of-the-art energy management solutions donated by Schneider Electric, The Global Specialist in Energy Management™.
EcoStruxure™ architecture was deployed to monitor and control the production of energy from each source as well as the energy consumption of each application. The energy-generation system comprises solar panels, a Schneider Electric Xantrex™ XW off-grid system, and a cogeneration group that runs on petrol or vegetable oil. The system has been programmed to optimise the performance of the energy sources.
The technical challenges were enormous. The site is subject to dangerous conditions – winds that surpass 300 km/h, very low temperatures, and extreme isolation. In fact, the location is inaccessible for half the year, making remote monitoring and control the only way to ensure that, come spring, personnel don’t get a nasty surprise, arriving at a frozen, powerless refuge.
Low atmospheric pressure posed another challenge, impairing both equipment efficiency and human cognitive function. The first issue was solved by oversizing the power system, while overcoming the second required meticulous planning and rigorous safety procedures.
Committed to sustainable development
By supporting innovative sustainable-development projects, the Schneider Electric Foundation highlights the fact that it’s possible to achieve more with less