Students get an energy education

A group of students from St. Michael Albertville High School’s principles of engineering course toured Great River Energy’s Maple Grove office and Elk River Peaking Station to learn more about the energy industry.

The students began the day with a tour of the cooperative’s solar facilities led by Generation Engineer Jessie Kiddoo.

Students observe a drone demo conducted by Great River Energy employees Jay Driver and Kyle Leier.

“The students always blow me away with their inquisitive questions and this year was no exception,” Kiddoo said. “They were excited to learn about the electric utility industry, especially renewable generation.”

Students then participated in a drone demonstration conducted by Jay Driver, transmission leader, technical services, and Kyle Leier, generation strategist. Bill Gallagher, generation portfolio project manager, educated the students about the wind turbine at Great River Energy’s Maple Grove office. He described its history, the co-op’s experience operating the turbine and shared facts such as turbine blade tip speed.

Following the tours, students listened to Kiddoo, Leier and Michelle MacMillan, transmission land rights technician, discuss careers in their fields.

“The students and staff had a lot of great questions about right of way and a strong desire to learn more about the profession and legal aspects of easements,” MacMillan said.

Students then traveled to the Elk River Peaking Station where they were given a tour by Tim Toborg, peaking plant operator technician foreperson.

“We really appreciate Great River Energy’s willingness to host this event. The students look forward to it very much and are fascinated with the technology of energy generation,” said Kris Rue, who teaches the course. “It’s a fantastic way for them to see how classroom concepts are implemented in the real world.”