Implementation Trip – Day 2
Tuesday August 12, 2014
Lots of progress to report! Yesterday the team from PowerGen arrived from Nairobi. Although they had been on the road for about 11 hours, they set out to work upon arrival. We had a team meeting and went over the schedule for the work and a few last-minute changes. The earthwork for the wind turbine towers began immediately, as it will take several days for the concrete to set. While that work is progressing, the control room equipment will be installed. Lastly, the solar panels will be installed. The goal is for the work to be completed by Friday.
The wind turbines are made by PowerGen in Nairobi. The turbines will be placed upon towers that are over 30 feet tall. Because the towers are so tall, they each require guy four sets of guy wires to stabilize them. As of right now, the anchor points for the guy wires have been dug out and cement has been poured.
While all of this is going on, our team has been making progress on other important aspects of the project. The microgrid operation plan calls for two employees: a manger and an assistant. Together, they will be responsible for all aspects of the microgrid’s operation: battery kit charging/recharging, customer services, book keeping, maintenance and repair. The positions attracted many applicants, and the top two were invited to interview for the manager position. Although Henry and Steve assisted in the interviewing process, Symon made the ultimate decision on who to hire. Zebedee Okaka was offered the job and gladly accepted it. The assistant position was filled by Moses Andrew.
We also had a breakthrough in setting up the data logger. The data logger will transmit information about the health of the microgrid to the US (or anywhere or anywhere with internet access). This is will let us monitor how well the system is performing.
Today Kristine started conducting impact assessment interviews of those in the local community. This will help us understand how the microgrid and battery kits affect the lives of the community. Kristine is establishing a baseline which future interviews can be compared to. She is asking questions about how long the children currently study at night, how electricity is perceived, and what people plan on doing with it.
We have had time for some recreation too. Jenna and Andrew took a short boat ride by one of the local fishermen, and we have played lots of soccer and card games with the children.