Seth Ndayishimye. Foto: Marcus Prest.
Seth Ndayishimye is part of a core group that administers power plant construction projects covering everything from design, delivery, construction and start up. Since the circumstances in which Wärtsilä builds power stations vary greatly, the logistics of each project are challenging.
Wärtsilä Power Plants in Vaasa, Finland, builds power stations all over the world. Products which are particularly interesting for countries in Africa and Asia include Wärtsilä power plant engines which can be run on heavy oil, light oil and gas with a short switch-over time. The energy source can be varied according to what is available.
The engines may also be switched off and on at short notice; thus they can be kept in stand-by mode and only run during peaks in electricity consumption. This flexibility enables larger infrastructure entities to optimise its energy production according to both season and time of day.
“Wärtsilä’s power plant customers can be divided into three categories: governments; independent power producers – that is, enterprises that order the power plants from Wärtsilä and sell the electricity produced to governments; and companies that build power plants for their own consumption – for example, within the mining industry. Cities and large-scale industries install Wärtsilä power plants when they cannot rely on the energy supply from the national grids,” says Seth Ndayishimye, Project Controller at Wärtsilä Power Plants. He has two degrees: a Master of Technology in Engineering and a Master of Economics, both from Åbo Akademi University.
“Mining companies in areas with an unstable energy supply buy our 10–20 megawatt power plants. They might use them solely for their own needs, but they can also sell energy to the national grid if they don’t need all the power they produce.”
In connection to the flexible power plants Wärtsilä has also launched a concept called Smart Power Generation. It is based on mapping the client’s – a city’s or even a country’s – infrastructure, energy supply and energy needs across all the hours of the day and all the days of the year, in order to create a dynamic network of energy sources and power plants that can be started up when necessary and when it is most profitable to use the specific energy source.
Energy networks which have an extensive system of environmentally-friendly energy generation, such as wind and solar power parks, are sensitive to changes in the climate. Stand-by power plants that can be switched on more or less without delay enable a more efficient utilisation of available green energy, as it is possible to quickly respond to sudden changes in the weather conditions. Similarly, these power plants can be used to compensate for sudden changes in energy demand in cases of cold spells or heatwaves.
Supplementary power plants that can be quickly switched on also make it easier to adapt to the process cycles of energy-intensive industries.
“We’re currently running pilot projects in Denmark and Holland, both countries which produce a large part of their energy by solar, wind and water power. We take all producers and consumers into consideration to make an overall plan.”
In his work as a project controller, Seth Ndayishimye is part of a core group in Vaasa that administers power plant projects. The first phase of a project – finding a client and negotiating a contract – is handled by the marketing department. After that, Ndayishimye and the rest of the core group take over.
“All work pertaining to the construction of a power plant is coordinated in Vaasa, according to the model ‘Initiate, Plan, Execute, Monitor and Evaluate, and Close’. The plans and component orders are done according to the design. After that, components and modules are put together to be transported to the final destination, either by sea, land or plane, or a combination of these depending on what is most reasonable.”
The design always aims at a structure where the individual components can be combined into modules which are as large as possible. The building site must be surveyed and prepared.
“We must, for example, know how the foundations are constructed and what reinforcements need to be added before the modules can be installed.”
The modules are then transported to the building site where a team of engineers and construction workers wait to start the construction. Engineers, builders and experts might all come from different countries and represent different cultures. When the power plant is completed, test runs are conducted and the station is connected to an electricity grid. Once the power plant is producing electricity, Wärtsilä evaluates its performance together with the client – as both want to ensure that the power plant conforms to the contract and that all details work as they should.
“We have supervisors for each technical area at the building site, who continually report to their contact within the core group at the office in Vaasa. If problems appear or if some phases are behind schedule, we immediately allocate extra resources to catch up.”
Seth Ndayishimye came to Finland from Rwanda in 1995. He completed his secondary school in Närpes, Finland, in 1995–98, graduated with a Master’s degree in Industrial Information Technology from Åbo Akademi University in 2006 and completed an additional Master’s degree in Industrial Management at Åbo Akademi University in 2014. He is fluent in Swedish, Finnish, English, French, Rwandan and Swahili.
“When I came to Finland I saw only opportunities. I took far more courses in secondary school than required, and did so also within my first Master’s degree. I used the extra studies as courses for my second Master’s degree. You just go to the library and read. Everything is available.”
Seth Ndayishimye is 37 years old and lives in Vaasa.