Sunday, 16 August 2015

The real price of the windmill blades

Hi dear reader, I’m gonna tell you an incredible story of this incredible India.

I went there, arrived the 1st of April in Dharamsala, 22 years old young French engineer called Rémi, totally unexperimented about developing countries and strong of three years of managing in a famous brand French company. In my mind, I would have been easy.

Huh yeah, actually, no.

The first night, I was really wondering what the hell I’m doing here? I was supposed to manage a renewable energy project there, but there were no hierarchical structure, no boss, no managers and I didn’t have a clue about the opportunities of renewable energy.

And now, dear reader, three months passed away so fast, like a lightning.

It has been the strongest professional experience of my young carrier. After a short period of induction, I totally dove in Indian culture. I was really like a fish in the sea, grow a moustache, bring a Shiva’s necklace all the time and transform to a real Indian guy –Namasté Namasté ! -.

I’ve decided to build a small wind mill for household. The goal was to provide electricity to a standard house. I designed it, calculated all the stuffs (wind resource, wind strength, rotation speed, blades shape, alternator rewinding, etc.), planning and budget. All was perfect.

Huh yeah, actually, no.

In India, dear reader, nothing comes as you planned. When it came to the building steps, I had to travel thousands of kilometers. I went to Gaggal, Horshiapur, Chandigarh, Bikaner, Jaisalmer, Delhi, Rajkot, Amehdabad, and so on. I met people, professionals of small wind mill, professionals of huge wind mill, mechanics, electricians, ”Jugaad” (handymen), CEO's and technicians. My design wasn’t perfect at all dude!

One thing you have to keep in mind, dear reader, is that working in India needs flexibility.

To get the blades, I went to Rajkot. 24 hours of travel to meet a guy, who was supposed to help me (maybe? First we go, and then we will see! – Indian style). Hopefully it was successful, I learned a lot and got blades, perfect blades, and WAHOU I was so glad!! So then, 24 hours of travel to go back to Bikaner by train, no seat, a night train incredibly crowded, 6 hours of standing in the corridor facing the smelly toilets. Man, this is the real price of the wind mill blades.

This is just an example, but managing a project in India looks like that. T.I.I: This Is India, and it’s wonderful.

Now, the wind mill is fully assembled, with electric parts, mechanic parts, pole, blades, transmission chain, etc. It will be installed in Khuri Village, near Jaisalmer in Rajasthan (an incredibly beautiful city in the middle of the desert, 50°C during summer, easy).

To conclude, I would just say that it was such a rich experience! To manage a renewable energy project in India, dear reader, you don’t need to be an engineer, a manager or whatever, you need to be you, trust yourself and persevere, and everything will be alright.

I’m lucky to had this opportunity to challenge my skills, I’m lucky that EduCARE trust me like that, and I think I wouldn’t have this opportunity in western companies.

Reading this blog will not give you a full description, neither a real picture of this experience; so go there, dear reader, and you will understand, you will learn or unlearn, but you will grow up.

Maja aa gaya !

Rémi Matray - France
Alternative Energy project manager, Jaisalmer

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