The four students are getting their teeth into the project “Pre-feasibility study on the Usueni Hydroelectric Project (HEP) in Tana River, Central Kenya”, which involves analysing a potential hydroelectric power station on the Tana River in central Kenya.
“At Multiconsult we believe in giving the students who work for us over the summer real challenges. In so far as possible they work on specific projects, with a particular emphasis on interdisciplinary work”, says Hanne Skattum, who is responsible for recruitment at Multiconsult.
All of the summer jobs are organised through Must – Multiconsult for students – a concept introduced by the company in 2011. A clear structure was established for all activities aimed at students, including an organisation led by some of the company’s younger employees, working in close cooperation with senior management, HR and the Communications department. The Must projects in the Energy segment have taken place in countries including Tanzania, Zambia and Nepal. The Arctic, Structural Engineering and Transportation segments also run their own projects.
On site in Africa
The students started by doing preliminary investigations in mid-June. At the start of July they travelled to Multiconsult’s office in Nairobi to meet the two customers for this project and other local stakeholders, before continuing to the project location where they will perform field studies and collect data. Later they will also present an extensive report with their conclusions.
The planned site for the new power station is an agricultural area between two villages. With a 10 MW nameplate capacity, it will create brand new opportunities for the local population. Multiconsult has previously worked on various existing power stations on the Tana River, and a few years ago another consulting engineering firm wrote a preliminary report on this project, so there is some data to go on. However, it will need to be revised and quality assured. In addition, lots of additional information must be collected to make it possible to give more reliable recommendations.
“One of the most exciting aspects of this project will be meeting the local people and seeing how they live and what they think about the project. A power station will provide big benefits, but it may also have environmental and social implications”, says Sofie Marie Steinkjer, who is a fifth-year student doing Civil and Environmental Engineering at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU).
The data that the students have to work with is really important to Vegard M. Bjerkli, who has completed the third year of his Master’s course in Mechanical Engineering at NTNU.
“There is lots of hydrological data, but it comes from other locations in the area and needs to be adjusted. And for the geological and soil conditions, the maps are poor. We will need to do some geological fieldwork, which will be both exciting and a challenge”, says Bjerkli.
The two other students are Anna Fredrikke Østby, who has finished the first year of her Master’s degree in Renewable Energy at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) and Julie G. Gørbitz, who has completed the fourth year of her degree in Energy and Environmental Engineering at NTNU.
About Must Energy Hydropower
This is the seventh time since 2011 that Multiconsult is organising the Must Energy Hydropower summer programme. The aim of the programme is to give students of renewable energy the opportunity to test their skills on a real hydropower project. The programme has been a great success right from the start, with high numbers of applicants each year.
“The number of applicants confirms that Multiconsult has succeeded in creating a summer programme that is both interesting and scientifically relevant to students of renewable energy. This means that we attract lots of applicants and can take our pick from some of the best students out there. We hope that taking part in the summer programme motivates the students to pursue a career in renewable energy,” says Christian Almestad, who is responsible for this year’s project.