Hydro Power Plant Controller

South Africa’s energy system is dominated by large-scale coal operations. Global and local pressure is however prompting a move towards cleaner power production to sustain the country’s economic and domestic needs. Hydropower, energy generated from moving water, is being explored as a viable alternative to burning fossil fuels. South Africa currently has a mix of small hydroelectricity stations that contributes 2.2% electrical power to the national grid with the potential to produce more

Hydro power plant controllers provide technical support and services in the installation, operation and maintenance of hydropower plant processes, systems, facilities and equipment. They start up and power down electrical generation systems, monitor and adjust equipment to ensure optimal performance. They also keep records of ongoing power plant operations to identify processes that can be improved.

Hydro power plant controllers work in small teams with other plant personnel and supervisors and work between electrical control rooms and the power plant floor. They can be required to work long hours and wear protective clothing.

Skills

A technical understanding of electricity generation equipment and processes is required by hydropower plant controllers, coupled with:

  • Ability to read and interpret electrical readings and metres
  • Problem-solving and troubleshooting skills
  • Keen attention to detail and safety conscious
  • Good written and verbal communication

Tasks

Operate and control hydro power systems and equipment

Monitor equipment and troubleshoot when challenges arise

Clean and maintain equipment to prevent failure and deterioration

Complete station records, logs and reports

Studies

Diploma, Advanced Diploma, M.Tech in Electrical Engineering specialising in Process Control at CPUT, MUT, VUT and WSU

Hydro power plant controllers could benefit from a National Certificate in Hydro Power Plant Process Control Operations at National Qualifications Framework Level 2 to 4, accredited by Energy and Water Sector Education and Training Authority. However, most training takes place on the job with mentoring by an experienced mentor.

Employers

Hydro power generation plants.

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