Vattenfall launches Scottish offshore wind education project
Swedish energy firm Vattenfall has joined forces with a Scottish science centre to launch a programme aimed at educating the population about offshore wind energy.
A series of public events and outreach activities have been developed by Aberdeen Science Centre (ASC) and Vattenfall, the firm which has pledged £300m to build Scotland’s largest offshore wind farm.
The project will run until September 2018 and will be rolled out to schools alongside interactive workshops, with Vattenfall set to host events at major festivals including Techfest and the Energetica Festival.
Adam Ezzamel, Vattenfall project director for the Aberdeenshire wind farm, known as the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC), said: “With offshore wind becoming a growing source of energy, the EOWDC places the North-east of Scotland at the heart of the development of clean, green energy.
“We want people in the region to learn about the technology behind the scheme and given ASC’s place as a pioneering site of science discovery, linking up with the centre is the perfect fit to help educate children, teachers and the wider community about wind energy generation and cutting-edge technology.
“We hope it will also encourage people to consider working in the wind energy industry which offers a vibrant and global platform for carving our long-term careers across a diverse range of professions.”
Engaging local communities
The programme has started at ASC with the launch of a two-month, energy-focused exhibition which includes turbine demonstrations, workshops and other associated activities.
Renewable energy sessions will also be offered at schools to give teachers the confidence to explore the science behind offshore wind in the classroom. Schoolchildren will have the opportunity to experience hands-on workshops and visits from experts on offshore wind.
ASC chief executive Liz Hodge said: “We are incredibly excited to begin our special focus on renewable energy. The EOWDC will surely make a huge difference to our surrounding areas, and we’re keen to engage our local communities, schools, and people in what this kind of energy means for us as a population.
“We also hope to engage people in the project, allow them to think about career options in renewables and more generally expand knowledge when it comes to energy.”
The scheme will help to provide Scottish low-carbon projects with increasing levels of public support, which according to the latest research, is already significantly high. A new ComRes Poll released last week shows that the overwhelming majority of Orkney residents back the developments of renewable energy projects in the local region.
The survey, commissioned by the Orkney Renewable Energy Forum (OREF), noted that almost nine in 10 residents support renewables growth on the islands.
The news comes after the Government reversed its stance last November on a long-term agreement to deliver investment in low-carbon technologies in Orkney, preventing these projects from competing in upcoming Contracts for Difference (CfD) rounds.
Orkney and Shetland MP Alistair Carmichael said: “Communities across Orkney are united in calling for these projects to be delivered – and I am working hard with colleagues from all parties to ensure this is recognised in Whitehall. The UK Government has a responsibility to ensure that all parts of the UK, including the Scottish Islands, play to their natural strengths.
“Allowing these wind projects to compete does not just benefit the islands. More broadly, it will support the wider domestic supply chain, whilst ensuring the upcoming auctions deliver the best possible value. This should be an important objective for the Government, given it has said that it will minimise energy costs for hardworking business and households across the UK.”
Research commissioned by the Scottish Government found that a cluster of Scottish islands including the Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland could receive a £725m economic boost if they were converted into renewable outposts.
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