Communications interns Alyson Gessner (left), Olivia Wink (middle), and Sophie Shulman (right) at the Grand Ridge site.

In June, Invenergy’s 2022 Summer Intern class took a trip to see, up close and in-person, the Grand Ridge Energy Center in LaSalle County, IL. Grand Ridge is one of Invenergy’s longest-standing renewable energy facilities and is home to the company’s first solar project, built in 2012.

The all-day visit included a look inside a wind turbine, a peek at battery storage units, and getting up close to solar panels, while also hearing from technicians about how each component functions and what working at the site is like. After extensive learning about Invenergy’s projects in their first few weeks at the company, the interns were eager to see a site for themselves, as this was the first time many of the interns were able to see these technologies in person.

Three of the twenty-six summer interns, Alyson Gessner, Olivia Wink, and Sophie Shulman were hired onto Invenergy’s Communications team for the summer. For them, this site was an opportunity to learn first-hand about the renewable technology they write about every day. The visit not only provided a practical understanding of how a project works but also a newfound appreciation for the possibilities of sustainable energy. 

Olivia is an upcoming senior at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, studying English and Media. She is interning for Invenergy’s Internal Communications team this summer.

“To be honest, I really didn’t know what I was getting into before interning at Invenergy. While sustainability is something that I’m interested in and have explored on my own, the renewable energy field itself is something I had no prior experience with,” she says. “Being there made everything so much more real and allowed things to click for me. Renewable energy isn’t some distant, dreamy phenomenon, it’s happening right now and will continue to grow. Standing among the wind turbines, I felt a sense of pride to be an intern at Invenergy and to be involved with such a committed and innovative company.”

Sophie studies Marketing and Music at Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and interns for Invenergy’s External Communications team.

“Invenergy has given me the opportunity to experience something I’ve been passionate about for a while now. I’m involved with several wind turbines and rooftop solar projects in Kenosha, but I’ve never had the chance to experience large-scale projects like the ones at Grand Ridge,” she says. “The technology is more fascinating up close than you would expect. The size of the turbines and solar panels when you stand right next to them are awe-inspiring, and there’s something comforting about them all the same. They were so serene and picturesque…it suddenly clicked for me just how incredible it was that energy was being generated right in front of me!”

Alyson is a rising senior at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan studying Environmental Science and Ecology, and interns for Invenergy’s External Communications team.

“For most people, their familiarity with utility-scale renewable energy probably ends with driving past wind farms on the highway. From such a distance, the true scope of these projects is nearly impossible to understand. And how are we supposed to communicate and advance solutions we can’t even picture?” she says. “Visiting Grand Ridge helped me turn those words and facts into an image. Standing beneath a wind turbine and walking between rows of solar panels surrounded by vast green fields, watching the calm rotation of the turbine’s blades or the sun gleaming off the panels, I was struck by the beauty of clean energy and the technology of the future. This is the point; this is what sustainability looks like.” 

The Invenergy 2022 intern class at Grand Ridge Energy Center
The Invenergy 2022 intern class at Grand Ridge Energy Center