Steffen creates renewable values

Operation manager

Steffen works to minimize the downtime of our power plants and ensure that they operate efficiently and safely. The contact with landowners and inspectors is crucial here, as they are the eyes and ears of the power plants. He describes them as highly solution-oriented and effective.

Since February 2021, Steffen has been working as an operations manager at Småkraft. With his background in hydropower and large-scale power plants, including 6 years at GE Renewable, he has a broad experience in the industry. At Småkraft, Steffen is responsible for approximately 30 power plants. Mainly, his task is to ensure that these power plants generate electricity when there is sufficient water available. He works to minimize downtime for the power plants and ensure that they operate efficiently and safely. When Steffen is not traveling for inspections, he enjoys doing many things. He has two young children, and he spends much of his free time being present for them. Both he and his family enjoy being outdoors, especially skiing in the winter. He says, “I don’t always have time for mountain trips when I’m on inspections, so I gladly make up for it with my family in my free time.”

Steffen describes his job at Småkraft as flexible and pleasant. He emphasizes the importance of having good landowners and local supervisors who act as eyes and ears at the power plants. He finds them to be very solution oriented. In addition, having good industry partners is crucial. This is very important to him.

As an operations manager, Steffen’s job also includes planning, maintenance, and upgrades at the most appropriate times to ensure that the power plants are ready for spring and autumn floods. Steffen will contribute to minimizing accidents, malfunctions, and ensuring that the power plants operate within their permits. Communication plays a major role in his job. He needs good communication with both supervisors, partners and colleagues, since much of the work revolves around coordination and planning. It is important to have skilled people around him so that they can build strong partnerships and rely on suppliers. He points out that in the event of an accident, this is crucial to be able to repair it as quickly as possible when there is sufficient water for production.

Steffen mentions several positive aspects of his job, but what really matters to him is that he feels he is doing meaningful work. He contributes to increased use of renewable energy in Norway. He finds it gratifying that the small-scale hydropower industry involves a wide range of tasks, from fish surveys to generator failures to hiring summer help for painting. The diversity of tasks appeals to him. Steffen enjoys the opportunity to manage his own day and plan it. He emphasizes that the most important thing is to get as much done as possible in the time available so that the power plants can produce as much as possible in a safe manner. There is rarely a workday without something happening at one of the power plants that he must address on-site.

A typical workday for Steffen varies greatly depending on the season. During winter, he focuses on project planning and carries out minor upgrades and repairs. However, in spring, production becomes hectic, so it is crucial that everything is well-planned for the busy periods. This allows for prioritizing any faults that arise. Steffen mentions an example that happened a few days before our conversation in the summer, where a ventilation fan at one of the power plants stopped working. At that time, he was not near the power plant, but through a phone conversation with the supervisor, they were able to solve the problem. He explains, “When it’s nearly thirty degrees outside and the machine is running, it gets very hot inside the engine room, so this needed to be fixed.”

Steffen describes the landowners at the power plants as very diverse. They can be professional companies or local landowners working as electricians, farmers, ambulance drivers, and more. “These people range in age from 20 to 70 years old”, he says. He sees this as a positive aspect of the job as he gets to travel a lot and experience parts of the country he might not have visited otherwise. He also gets to meet people there, hear different dialects, and experience different cultures, which he really enjoys.

Steffen summarizes Småkraft as a company where few people perform many different tasks. There is a broad internal expertise within the company, and he describes it as a very good employer. He points out that although the office job can be less social, he gets social interaction through fieldwork when he meets landowners, talks to partners and colleagues. He certainly doesn’t feel lonely at work since much of the work involves phone conversations.

He emphasizes that the job is flexible and enjoyable. “It is crucial to have skilled people around, and I am grateful for the competent supervisors and landowners who act as eyes and ears at the power plants. Without their efforts, the job could not be done in the same way”, he concludes before driving to the Follsjå power plant.

Julie Marthinussen

Manager of the operation control center
Småkraft AS

Petter Indrøy

Monitoring power production
Småkraft AS
Åshild Bråten

Åshild Bråten

Project coordinator
Småkraft AS
Knut Bøhn is one of several landowners in the Reinli power plant.

Knut Bøhn

Land owner
Reinli kraftverk
Awin Ibrahim

Awin Ibrahim

Monitoring power production
Småkraft AS

Tina Rasmussen

Financial Manager of the power plant
Småkraft AS
Jan Rasdal

Jan Rasdal

Land owner
Rasdalen kraftverk