I had the privilege to participate in a week-long internship program at Kansai Electric Power Company (KEPCO), along with one student from GraSPP and four students from other universities. Although short, the program turned out to be a very fruitful one.
The program mainly consists of lecture and site visits, which helped us greatly in preparing for the assignment we have to present on our last day. On our first day, we received series of lecture which provided us with general understanding of KEPCO’s business activities – from their standing as Japan’s second largest electricity utility amid the electricity market reform to their commitment and efforts in expanding their business overseas. The lectures on the following days were more technical, as the staff introduced each of KEPCO’s power businesses and trained us further on project management and project finance.
Due to time constraints, we only visited three power plants. The first one was a solar power plant located on the outskirts of Osaka. While this is not my first time visiting a solar power plant, the visit was still enlightening as this plant is located on a coastal area and has different configurations with the one I visited. We then visited a thermal power plant nearby, where we learned more about the combined cycle technology which is deemed to be highly efficient. The last plant we visited was a hydroelectric power plant in Kyoto. Since one of the generators was under maintenance, we were lucky we got to see parts of the plant that were not usually viewable.
The program ended with a final presentation in front of the executive management from the International Business and Cooperation Division. We were divided into two groups, and each group is assigned to propose an investment strategy recommendation for KEPCO’s overseas business activities. My group came up with a proposal for a solar power plant project in Indonesia’s new capital city. The management gave valuable and constructive feedback and was very welcoming in discussing the topic.
Since I have always been interested in the energy sector, my time at KEPCO helped me gain a broader and more practical perspective of a conventional Japanese electric power company, which I believe is valuable for my future career. I also had the opportunity to connect with other students as well as KEPCO’s staff who gave me valuable insights about the sector, which perfected my internship experience as a fruitful one.