Renville-Sibley’s CEO DeeAnne Norris had the privilege to travel with a group of students in (or graduated from) the Master of Science in Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy (STEP) program granted by the University of Minnesota (U of M) Humphrey School of Public Affairs. Most students have undergrad degrees in science or engineering and are heading toward careers in the energy sector.
Renville-Sibley and the U of M partnered with other universities, the Western Area Power Administration, a geologist, and several cooperatives at the distribution and G&T levels in MN, SD, and ND to coordinate a week-long educational tour for the students. The power of our cooperative membership helped us create a rewarding and successful tour for these students.
Both Renville-Sibley and the U of M feel it is imperative for the students to understand the difference between the energy environment in rural and urban areas, between IOUs and cooperatives, and how cooperatives represent their member-consumers. We also felt it was beneficial for them to learn more about generation with fossil fuels (reclamation, air quality requirements, carbon capture, etc) and the advancements electric cooperatives have made in energy storage, renewable energy, load management, metering, beneficial electrification, etc.
A class was added to this program this year on electric cooperatives. This was their final field trip. The students are working on blog posts. Click the link below to see what has been posted so far, including their visits with other cooperatives in MN earlier in the semester.
Here's a short video clip about the tour below: