Summer project report
The topic for this year’s summer project was an assessment of the impacts of increased penetration of renewable energy in the Zambian power system. The national utility ZESCO was our main client, with the Zambian Department of Energy and the German development bank KfW were also important stakeholders.
The summer started with two weeks of introduction seminars and lectures about relevant topics with Multiconsult experts, as well as a kick-off meeting with the client in Zambia via Zoom. We quickly realized that both the scope and the short time frame of the project would become challenging. However, all members of the student team agreed that the topic was extremely interesting. Few students are lucky enough to work with projects that have the potential to positively impact a whole nation, and we felt humbled by the responsibility given to us.
After the kick-off, the next step was to extract data to be used in our analyzes. We had several Zoom-meetings with ZESCO staff, and an extensive email correspondence with key persons in Zambia. Even though we worked from two different continents, the cooperation with the client went well, and we received the most crucial data.
Together with our mentors in Multiconsult, we started doing analysis of the data provided. We learned a lot about how hydropower can operate together with solar power to balance demand in a power system, and the potential technical, economical and environmental consequences from such operations.
In mid-July, we had the pleasure of taking a couple of weeks of vacation before the second half of the project. The last three weeks at work proved to be intensive, with both final analysis and report writing. Everything culminated in a written report, and a final presentation of the most important results to the client via Zoom.
The main conclusion of the project was that the challenges following a large-scale implementation of variable renewable energy in Zambia are manageable compared to the potential benefits, and that solar in combination with hydropower and reservoirs can have a significant value for Zambia.
In addition to learning a lot about the topic, we have also gained valuable experience from working in a project and how to manage scope, client expectations, deadlines and working in a multidisciplinary team. We have been given a lot of independence, but we have been supported by the mentors all along the way. It is very cool that we as students have had access to the experts to ask whatever questions we wanted to.
MUST has also organized different fun social activities during the whole summer, so we got to meet other summer students and employees from other departments and units in Multiconsult.
We want to thank all our mentors and project leaders for making this summer unforgettable! Even though we could not travel to Zambia, we had a great time working with the summer project.