Repower: towards a future filled with energyREAD MORE
Angelo Rusvai is an engineer at Repower, where he is responsible for planning and commissioning high-voltage systems. In this interview, he gives us insight into his meaningful everyday work and explains where tomorrow’s electricity will come from.
No matter where he finds himself at any given time, Angelo Rusvai’s life is all about energy. He trained as a linesman near Dresden and went on to study electrical engineering in Mannheim, specialising in power engineering. Angelo arrived in Küblis after working for ABB and the power station of the city of Zurich. He has been working in Küblis as an engineer for Repower for more than a year.
Our first question: How does the energy supply work in Switzerland?
Angelo Rusvai: In a nutshell, energy is produced in power plants. But most of them are not located close to the consumers. This is why we need to transmit energy. In order to be able to transport the energy with as little energy loss as possible, the electricity is transformed to high voltage and transmitted until it reaches the regional distribution centres. Once the electricity has reached the consumers, the energy has to be transformed to lower voltages, that is, to medium and, finally, to low voltage. The low voltage then gives us the electricity that comes out of the wall outlet. As you can see, electricity travels down an intricate path until it arrives at our home. At Repower, we operate power plants and high-voltage systems, distribute electricity and market it. This is how we ensure that people are supplied with energy.
And what does an engineer do at an energy company?
AR: There are many positions for an electrical engineer in an energy company. The traditional image of an engineer who sits in a quiet room and develops crazy formulas is not a true reflection of reality. My work involves a much broader and more varied range of tasks. I oversee all the stages of a project – from drawing up the loan application to the final commissioning of the plant, the relevant procurement of the parts, as well as the calculations and testing of all the components. This applies to our own installations as well as those of SBB and Swissgrid. Finally, as engineers, we are also the people to contact in the event of technical defects. And I could go on and list many other tasks as well.
In other words, you never get bored.
AR: No. In fact, I have to get quite creative when it comes to pre-conceptual studies. I am currently working on a project that requires me to figure out how to position a switching station in a room with limited space. In this kind of situation, I work out different scenarios and then consult with experts, such as civil engineers or building technicians, to find out whether what I propose will work in practice.
Is there such a thing as a typical day as an engineer at Repower?
AR: Not really. My days and weeks vary depending on the phases of the projects I work on. During the planning phase, I am at my computer in the office. During the commissioning phase, I am at the plants and check the components that have been installed. It can happen that I am on the road across the whole canton of Graubünden for half of the week. Today, I also have to go from Küblis to Robbia, near Poschiavo, to a construction site.
Would you say that your work is meaningful?
AR: Yes, of course! Figuratively speaking, we use our electricity to produce the oxygen that keeps our organism alive. Especially now, when society is confronted with energy market challenges, there is a growing awareness of the importance of sustainable electricity generated from hydropower.
How do you deal with such challenges?
AR: We already have a lot of hydropower plants that ensure a constant energy supply, and we make sure that the electricity is also affordable in terms of cost. In future, energy generation will become more decentralised with small power plants such as solar plants – like so much else. And electricity will play an even more important role in our society precisely because of e-mobility.
You also get to drive around in your own e-cars. What else makes the Repower team unique?
AR: You could say that Repower represents the diversity of Graubünden. To the south, in Poschiavo, is one of the Italian-speaking parts of Graubünden, in Ilanz and Bever, we cover the Rhaeto-Romanic region, and in Landquart and Küblis, the German-speaking area. Having so many different perspectives under one roof makes the exchange all the more interesting. I also notice that at team events again and again. I am already looking forward to the two-day summer festival next month. But the location of the festival in Graubünden is still a secret.
Angelo has to leave for a construction site in Robbia. The beautiful mountain scenery of the Bernina Pass, which the engineer gets to enjoy along the way, makes the work feel a bit like a holiday.