Barbara: 'Like a spider in a web'
Barbara did her studies in renewable energy systems in Dresden. There she got interested in the challenge of not only generating energy form renewable sources but also integrating them in the existing power system.
To ensure the stability of the grid, Germany decided to enhance its transmission capacity. TenneT is building more than 2000 km of new high-voltage power lines that connect the north, where most wind energy is generated with the south, where the energy demand is high. One of these lines is the famous SuedLink project. But there are 24 more projects, and they all need to be coordinated. This is what the project management office, the department where Barbara is having her first Trainee assignment, is responsible for. “We congregate all information of the different projects and make sure they benefit from their commonalities and don’t interfere with each other. “ Like a spider in a web, Barbara connects all the data and keeps everyone up to date on all the details.For someone with a predisposition for grid technology and solar energy, at first glance it may seem that data handling is somewhat dry. “At first, I thought that I wouldn’t enjoy this, but now I know better.” In an interdisciplinary environment she works with colleagues from all different fields that are needed to manage the projects: geologists, licensers, grid planners, engineers… as well as the classical project management roles. “I learned a lot about project management. I understood that huge projects need a professional document management as well as resource planning, quality management and above all schedule planning. Because most important is, that the new lines are ready in time to transport the fed in renewable energies.”
Besides extending the grid, there is also a high potential in optimising the existing grid. This is what Barbara’s second assignment will be about. Within the department of System Operations she will build a model of the European grid and use it to test the influence of different operation concepts on the control system. “This assignment will be much more technical than the first one and I am looking forward to it. This is the great thing about the Trainee programme. We have the opportunity to get insights in many different fields and the time to explore. During my first assignment I got to visit construction sites and could join the service groups to experience how work out there in reality is like. Then all of a sudden all that data becomes very tangible.”
TenneT strongly believes in personal development, which is also visible in the trainee-program. “I have a lot of freedom to develop myself, but also to orientate on what I would like to do during the other parts of my traineeship. We work both in Germany and the Netherlands so we can learn from one another, but also get used to the cultural differences. No, the differences aren’t that big, but you do notice that the Dutch find it much easier to open up and the line between work-life and private-life is a lot thinner than in Germany. It’s good that these trainings are with Dutch and German trainees. This way you get to know yourself as well as the others a lot better and it makes it easier to work together in the future.”
"I have a lot of freedom to develop myself"