Nearly 1,000 children in Norfolk and Suffolk have been inspired by the wonder of wind power in a series of hands-on science workshops.
Over the last two weeks, ScottishPower Renewables has been investing in the region’s schoolchildren with Mad Science workshops and careers talks to promote a career in science and engineering.
ScottishPower Renewables is committed to inspiring the future generation of engineers and scientists to work in the offshore wind industry and these workshops form part of its East Anglia ONE Skills Strategy. The developer has commenced onshore pre-construction work for its East Anglia ONE offshore windfarm. This 102 turbine windfarm, approximately 30 miles off the coast of Suffolk, is planned to meet the electricity demands of up to the equivalent of 500,000 homes* and should be fully operational during 2020.
Mad Science, which provides hands-on, educational experiences for children, visited twelve primary and secondary schools across the region, giving assemblies and workshops packed with ‘windy’ science experiments, such as testing the optimum number of blades and blade angles on a turbine.
Pupils learnt about the difference between renewable and non-renewable energy, and the effects of high and low air pressure. The workshops took place at schools including Elm Tree Primary, East Point Academy and Gunton Primary in Lowestoft, St Mary and St Peter Catholic Primary, Gorleston, North Denes Primary, Great Yarmouth, and Blundeston Primary.
Careers talks were also given by ScottishPower Renewables’ personnel, including an electrical engineer and environment manager, at East Norfolk Sixth Form College, Lowestoft College and Thorpe St Andrew School to raise awareness of the range of opportunities within the offshore wind sector.
Becky Hall, a work-related learning coach at East Norfolk Sixth Form College, said: “This was a very valuable careers talk, providing students with knowledge about upcoming opportunities which made them question and think about future choices. It was really inspiring.”
Charlie Jordan, project director for East Anglia ONE, said: “East Anglia ONE is the first of four offshore projects we are planning off the coast of Suffolk and we’re keen to develop a skilled, local work force that can access the jobs these projects will bring to the region. Inspiring children to consider a career in science or engineering and supporting young adults through career decisions is an important part of our skills strategy and commitment to East Anglia.”
Helium Helen, Mad Scientist at Mad Science, said: “I was thrilled to see the children’s enthusiasm and captivation by the topic. Whilst a few children already had knowledge on the subject, most attended the workshops and assemblies with little understanding of renewable and non-renewable energy. However, they left genuinely inspired by the investigations and with a clear vision of the importance of alternative energy sources. The feedback from school staff across the board has been terrific.”
For those attending the Suffolk Show this year, ScottishPower Renewables will have a trade stand where people can find out more about the East Anglia ONE project and see Mad Science undertaking experiments and offshore wind activities.
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* Calculated taking the number of megawatts (714) multiplied by the number of hours in one year (8,766), multiplied by the average load factor for offshore wind for 2014 (most up to date figure available) (34.88 %, published by the Digest of United Kingdom Energy Statistics), divided by the average annual household energy consumption
Notes to editors:
School visits across Norfolk and Suffolk in numbers:
- 2 weeks
- 44 workshops
- 11 assemblies
- 3 careers talks
- Over 50 hours
- 15 schools and colleges
- Over 1,000 young minds inspired
The other schools visited by Mad Science and engineers across East Anglia include;
Copdock Primary, Bentley Primary, Bramford Church of England Primary, Bucklesham Primary, St Mary’s Church of England Primary and Gusford Primary.
About East Anglia ONE:
East Anglia ONE will see 102 wind turbines installed in the southern North Sea, approx. 26 miles off the coast. The overall investment will be in the region of £2.5 billion, and the project is planned to meet the annual electricity demands of the equivalent of 500,000 homes. Construction is planned to commence in 2017, with the first turbines installed by 2019, and hopes that the project will be fully operational during 2020.
East Anglia ONE Offshore Windfarm project is likely to include:
- Offshore wind turbines and foundations (102 wind turbines to provide an installed capacity of 714 megawatts).
- An offshore substation to collect the electricity from the turbines and transform it to a form suitable for transfer to shore.
- Two offshore export cables, each around 85 km in length, to transfer the electricity to shore.
- A landfall site with onshore transition pits to connect the offshore and onshore cables.
- Six onshore underground cables, each of around 37 km in length, to transfer the electricity from landfall to an onshore converter station.
- An onshore substation adjacent to the existing substation at Bramford, Suffolk, to connect the offshore windfarm to the National Grid.