Lake Area Technical Institute (LATI) in Watertown is making good use of an old system operations map board that was donated to the school by East River Electric in 2018. LATI’s Energy Operations program teaches students about electricity, power plants, and processing plant operations to build the next generation of power plant operators and other workers needed in the power industry and beyond. They use the old system operations map to teach students how the entire power system works, from generation, to transmission, distribution and ultimately to the end consumer.

When East River Electric remodeled its System Operations area in Madison, the cooperative replaced the aging tile system map with a large series of video screens. When deciding what to do with the old tile map board, East River staff at the time reached out to LATI to see if they could put the map to use. They jumped at the opportunity.

LATI has set up a workstation area that includes a large airplane turbine in front of the tile map board to show students how turbines work. The map then guides the students through the different types of generation units and how the power they create is transmitted to end consumers. LATI has about 30 students per year go through the program and have a nearly 100 percent placement rate for students that complete the Energy Operations program.

Roger Solum, now an adjunct instructor, was the lead Energy Technology Instructor at the time the map was donated. Brady Brockel has taken over for Roger who retired recently but continues to teach some classes at the school. The two recently gave a tour of the LATI Energy Operations facilities and programming to members of the South Dakota Wind Energy Association board of directors as part of SDWEA’s annual meeting in April.

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