Manager of the operation control center
Julie Marthinussen is the manager of the control center in Småkraft. She has broad knowledge of the technical aspects and operation of our power plants and has been working here for six years.
Hydropower is something Julie has always been passionate about, but in addition to that, she has higher education in pedagogy and specialization in English and economics. At the control center in Bergen, she has a very diverse workday, with many inquiries and the operation of the power plants. No days are alike, which she enjoys. The workplace is busy, varied, and characterized by good collaboration. In her free time, Julie likes to be in the nature, especially with a tent or hammock. In the winter, she often goes skiing. She also enjoys traveling, going to concerts, and spending time with friends and family.
The control center monitors and controls most of Småkraft’s power plants. Julie is responsible for overall operations, which includes managing the power plants, handling issues, and making adjustments when necessary.
– Remote control gives us an overview and access to almost everything from the office. We have installed cameras at most intakes and in the various stations, which allows us to monitor water levels, inflow, and the different parts of the power station. – This way, we can ensure that they operate as they should, she says. Remote control of the control panels provides us with an overview and the ability to control operations and regulation, troubleshoot, and keep track of alarms and sensors. If there are major technical problems, Julie notifies the responsible operators who have technical responsibility for the power plants and broad expertise in troubleshooting. Julie explains that the contact the field inspectors have with the control center depends largely on the location of the power plant and the season. – In the autumn, there is more contact, especially on the West Coast. There are heavy rainfall events here, she laughs. For example, it may be necessary to clear the grating since it often gets clogged with leaves and branches. Inspectors also respond if other things need to be fixed locally.
A typical day for Julie involves a lot of problem-solving and requires calmness. She starts her day around eight o’clock and goes home around four o’clock. At 11:29, the production figures are locked in for the power broker, so around this time, her phone starts ringing more often. These are numbers that indicate the production for the next day, which is a challenging calculation to make. If work is to be done on the power plants, it is also essential to notify them.
– I often have to solve problems on the spot, often at a high pace. This can seem overwhelming at first, especially during floods in the autumn. In such situations, it is particularly important to take things one step at a time, she says. As a student, she worked on weekends, holidays, and when others in the office had left for the day.
Julie has been leading the control center since its inception and has set up procedures and routines for how the control center should function optimally. Previously, monitoring was done individually by each operator. They were responsible for a group of power plants but also had to perform inspections on them. Now, this is consolidated under one system. She explains that there is more to keep track of, including regularly reporting production to the power broker and coordinating work on the power grid and power plants. With this comes more responsibility, which she enjoys. – Things start to become quite automatic after so many years here. I usually know which power plants that belong to the different operators and field inspectors, she says. With 221 small power plants, this is quite impressive.
Julie’s future plans involve further developing the control center. This includes optimization to ensure that the power plants operate as efficiently as possible. She enjoys being a part of the operations department and hopes to contribute more ideas and suggestions that can help improve the operation of Småkraft’s facilities.
– I think it’s great to be able to work with such knowledgeable people. The workplace provides me with new learning every single day, and I really appreciate that, she concludes.