IEC leverages disruptive technology to boost electricity access


To this end, the IEC is working towards the inaugural low voltage direct current (LVDC) conference on Sustainable Electricity Access, in Nairobi, Kenya, on 22 and 23 May 2017, in partnership with the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS).

“Combined with some form of energy storage, LVDC has the potential to bring millions of people out of the dark. The IEC is driving the development of LVDC, making this technology safe and broadly accessible. Holding this conference in Africa will provide a real understanding of electricity access needs to IEC experts and stakeholders. We invite participation of all those concerned with the Sustainable Developments Goals, especially Goal 7: Ensure access to affordable, reliable,
sustainable and modern energy for all,” said Frans Vreeswijk, general secretary and CEO of the IEC in a release.

“I urge all stakeholders to register and attend the conference which will be a thought leadership platform to effectively engage with policymakers and regulators.
This event will help us to gain the technological and economic information needed to evolve LVDC standards and drive the technology’s commercialization,” said
Charles Ongwae, managing director at the Kenya Bureau of Standards.

LVDC – distruptive technology

Low voltage direct current (LVDC) is described as a ‘disruptive technology‘ by the IEC, that “fundamentally changes and accelerates energy access.”

[quote] The organisation says that “over the last twenty years several mega-trends have created a groundswell of demand for LVDC, driven by the need to mitigate the effects of climate change.”

According to, “Without realizing it, today we live in a ‘direct current’ world, with most of our electronic devices already being able to use current that is produced by renewable sources directly, without conversion. As a result, LVDC is seeing a growth in uses like data centres, e-mobility and related infrastructure, urban homes and buildings for lighting and other applications, public distribution, DC micro-grids, and storage etc.”

It notes that it is these very trends that continue to challenge the traditional model of electricity distribution via alternating current (AC), adding that many of the technical issues that blocked the development of DC are no longer an obstacle. A diverse group of global experts in the IEC are reportedly preparing the technical foundation needed for the broad roll-out of LVDC.

Vimal Mahendru, chair of the IEC Systems Committee (SyC) on LVDC, and IEC Ambassador said, “For areas where grid connection is too expensive, LVDC is the only economic way to provide electricity access to everyone: it is clean, safe and affordable. The applications for LVDC are wide, varied and apply in every
country in the world. This conference is your opportunity to input your local needs and requirements; to hear about economic benefits linked to LVDC; and to
contribute to the development of key performance and risk assessment indicators to allow regulators and systems administrators to benchmark LVDC solutions.”