At DTE, we have the goal of providing clean, reliable, and affordable energy for all Michiganders. Developing wind and solar parks throughout the state is a key component of that goal – but it can’t happen without the support of future generations. That’s why our renewable energy employees are actively involved with local schools and events for students of all ages, teaching them about the importance of renewable energy and the various jobs available in the energy industry. 

Sanilac County Project RED 

Jeff Haines, site manager, Renewable Energy Development, presenting to a 4th grade class

In September, our renewable energy employees presented at Sanilac County’s Project RED, an annual event where the county’s 4th graders have the opportunity to learn from organizations across Michigan.

We taught the students about the benefits of clean energy and how DTE is developing large-scale wind and solar projects in their state. The kids received goody bags and viewed clips from our virtual field trip, an incredible resource that shows unique viewpoints of DTE’s wind and solar parks – including the view from the top of a wind turbine! 

“I want to say thank you to all the DTE employees who worked with us this year,” said Darcy Lipskey, Sanilac County Farm Bureau President and Minden Township Clerk. “We had so many positive comments coming from DTE’s group, and the kids loved the goodie bags. We hope to partner with you all again next year!” 

Careers in Energy Week at Beacon Park 

Sonny Solar and Windy Turbine posing at the DTE and MIAT School of Technology booth

Our renewable energy team also participated in the Careers in Energy Week (CIEW) event at Beacon Park last month. DTE’s first in-person CIEW event since 2019, we hosted a career exploration day for 200 Detroit, Hamtramck, Ecorse, River Rouge, Oakland County, and Monroe County students. 

The students got to learn about careers in renewable energy while hearing from MIAT School of Technology educators about their training programs for wind and solar technicians. We also had our renewable energy mascots, Sonny Solar and Windy Turbine, walking around the event for high-fives, photos, and fun! 

“It’s always great to see kids interested in renewable energy, and this time, it was particularly cool to have them interacting with actual educators and getting a closer look at what it takes for this kind of career,” said Marcus Adams, senior solar technician. “This year’s Careers in Energy Week was a huge success, and we’re looking forward to more events like this in the future!” 

MSU student tour of Meridian Wind 

DTE wind technicians talking with MSU students about their job

A few weeks ago, an advanced clean energy class from Michigan State University toured our Meridian Wind Park, set to come online in the next few months. The students and professor heard from our Gratiot Renewable Energy Center (GREC) employees about the wind park development process, how a wind turbine functions, how we monitor our wind parks 24/7, and more.  

“It was exciting to show such an advanced class around Meridian Wind,” said Marcus Schriner, supervisor, Renewable Energy Operations. “You could tell they truly enjoyed the tour and having the opportunity to learn about clean energy outside of the classroom. You get way more out of seeing a wind turbine up close and hearing from real technicians and on-site personnel than you do from any textbook.” 

As we continue developing wind and solar projects throughout the state of Michigan and working towards DTE’s net zero goals, we’re also excited to continue working with local students. No matter what age they are, everyone has something to learn about renewable energy and how this industry will play a vital role in Michigan’s future.