Valdimir Dela Cruz
Internship Report on The Kansai Electric Power Company, Incorporated 17 February – 7 March 2014
At the end of the winter term, three students from Nobuo Tanaka sensei’s Energy Security class was afforded the opportunity to take an internship at Kansai Electric Powe r Company (KEPCO); and I was one of them.
The internship program, which lasted three weeks, was handled primarily by the International Group but involved the other specialized divisions when it came to knowledge sharing. The company prepared several lectures for us where they discussed the various aspects of their business. We got to learn about the operations of the company as well as the strategic vision in terms of manpower and business planning too. It was interesting to learn about how the company has fared post-Fukushima and how the company is responding to government policies (i.e. shutting down of nuclear power).
We were privileged to get a glimpse of the insider’s perspective with regards to viewing energy security and sustainability issues. This was a good juxtaposition to the usual perspective we assume in class, which is from the viewpoint of end users, policy makers, and academics. We were also able to see how the men and women of the company feel about these issues as working in the industry has given them some expertise on the matter; not to mention these concerns are related to their livelihood.
But for me the highlight of my time there was the opportunity to visit the different kinds of power plants and learn about their operations first-hand from engineers and station managers. We were lucky enough to visit Hatogaya hydroelectric power plant, Mihama nuclear power plant, Sakaiko thermal power plant, and Sakai solar power plant. We also visited their training sites, distribution center, and transmission center. Being able to go out on the field and see their operations first hand really left a strong impression on me.
As part of their evaluation, we each made a report on different energy markets: Germany, Philippines, and Japan. We also made a joint report on the state of Kansai’s energy market and made recommendations on possible business opportunities overseas.
Lastly, I will forever be grateful for the hospitality of the KEPCO staff who were very accommodating to us. Further, they ensured that we experienced not only the business side but also the cultural side of the region by including various side trips in our itinerary such as to see the gassho-zukuri in Shirakawa-go. Outside of work, they also shared the delicious local specialties such as okonomiyaki, takoyaki, negiyaki, hida gyu, and the locally made soba. I am truly thankful for the experience of learning something outside the classroom, and even more grateful for making new friends at KEPCO.