07-Sep-2023 |



Getting to know the electrical grid

1.    Electricity Generations:

Electricity is an essential component of modern life, powering homes, factories, businesses, and urban infrastructure nationwide.
So, what resources are used to generate electricity, and how is it delivered to consumers?



Electricity is typically generated at power plants. There are various types of power plants, including fossil fuel-based (coal, natural gas, and oil), nuclear, renewable energy (wind power, hydroelectric, solar, biomass, and geothermal). Each type of power plant uses different methods to produce electricity. For example, fossil fuel plant burn fuel to generate steam, which drives turbines connected to generators. Renewable energy sources like wind use turbines to convert natural energy into electricity.



2.    High Voltage Transmission Lines

After electricity is generated, it undergoes a process called voltage transformation using step-up transformers. These transformers increase the voltage from the initial level, typically around 7kV, to higher voltages such as 115kV, 230kV, or 500kV (varied on different countries). This step-up in voltage is crucial for efficient transmission of electricity over long distances. High Voltage Transmission Lines, often observed as tall poles stretching across mountains and fields, are used for this purpose. By transmitting electricity at high voltages, power losses during transmission are minimized, ensuring more efficient and reliable delivery of electricity to distant locations.



3.    Medium Voltage Distribution Lines

Subsequently, substations are established to lower the high voltage received from the transmission lines to an appropriate voltage level for distribution. In Cambodia, common voltage levels for distribution are 22kV and 35kV. The electricity is then distributed through a network of distribution lines. These lines carry electricity at medium voltage and are typically supported by utility poles, which are visible throughout the country's landscape. However, in urban areas, underground power lines are utilized to distribute electricity, ensuring a clean and aesthetically pleasing cityscape.



4.    Low Voltage Distribution Lines

To make electricity usable for consumers, step-down transformers are installed near their locations. These transformers decrease the medium voltage to a low voltage for household or industrial use. In Cambodia, the standard low voltage commonly used range from 220V to 380V, depending on the specific requirements of the consumers' needs.



5.    Demand Response:

It is evident that the electricity we utilize in our daily lives goes through various stages, including generation, transmission, distribution, and consumption. The global demand for electricity is continuously rising to meet the needs of people worldwide. However, this increasing demand for electricity has led to a higher reliance on fossil fuels, which has detrimental effects on the planet's climate. To address this issue, there is a global shift towards generating electricity from renewable sources such as wind, solar, and hydropower, biomass, and geothermal. These natural sources of electricity offer a more sustainable and environmentally friendly alternative to fossil fuels.


6.    Matters of Utilities:

The distribution of electricity to consumers is often accompanied by various challenges and issues. These problems can arise from natural disasters, such as thunderstorms, as well as human-related incidents, including accidents involving high-speed vehicles colliding with electrical poles, tree-related incidents where trees are cut or fall onto electrical lines, and equipment failures leading to power supply disruptions.
These issues pose significant concerns for utility companies as they result in unstable electricity supply. The consequences of such instability extend to consumers, the revenue of energy providers, and ultimately, the overall development of the country.



Learn more about the fundamentals of electrical grid:


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