Rotherham schools get creative with renewable energy

Published Tuesday, 15th July 2014
Penny Hill wind farm
Schoolchildren at Penny Hill wind farm

Pupils from across schools in Rotherham have been getting creative to help design a piece of artwork to be displayed on each of the six turbines at Penny Hill wind farm.

Pupils were also invited to submit ideas for suitable names for the turbines. At a special ceremony - held at Penny Hill on 20 June - both the excellent artwork and original names were unveiled on the base of the turbines in front of enthusiastic pupils, teachers and local community members.

The competition was organised in partnership with the Council and developers Banks Renewables, following a similar successful opportunity at Marr Wind Farm in Doncaster.

Six schools in and around the Ulley area submitted over 300 name suggestions and 100 pieces of artwork. Only six winners could be chosen and it was difficult to choose between many of the names and artwork designs.

The six artwork winners were:

  • Ellie Cowley (Treeton Primary School)
  • Leah Mitchell (Thurcroft Academy)
  • Emma Feetham (Aston Fence Junior and Infant School)
  • Lauren Gammons (Whiston Worrygoose Primary)
  • Haiqua Ali (Aughton Primary)
  • Emily Wood (Aughton Primary)

Their work is now displayed on the base of the six turbines at the Penny Hill site, located west of the M1 and M18 junction.

The Banks judging panel also picked the following names for the six turbines:

  • Zeus (Aughton Primary School)
  • Zephyr (Aston Fence Primary School)
  • Thor (Whiston Worrygoose Primary School)
  • Mistral (Aston Fence Junior and Infant School)
  • Cardea (Treeton Primary School)
  • The White Queen (Thurcroft Infant School)

All of the children and teachers were able to take a tour of the Penny Hill site and learn all about the wind farm, from how it was built, to how electricity is generated by the turbines and how it is transported into our homes, schools and businesses through the National Grid.

Brad Johnson, Carbon Reduction Officer at the Council, said: "There has been an excellent response to this competition and we’d like to express our thanks to Banks Group for offering us this opportunity.

"This project has given the schools and their pupils the opportunity to learn and engage with renewable energy, in particular onshore wind energy. It’s incredibly important that our young people learn the true financial and environmental cost of our power and energy. In addition, they are learning about the societal issues we face when considering the security of our supply. Many of our pupils learn about energy in class but very few will get the opportunity to see a wind farm up close and personal and learn how it all works. Penny Hill is now a key landmark that welcomes people to South Yorkshire, and in particular Rotherham, and we wanted to give our pupils the chance to be creative with it."

Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Families, Cllr Paul Lakin, added: "This is, by any standards, a terrific competition and I am delighted to see so many people becoming more aware of environmental issues. Young people are our future and they need to be increasingly aware of the importance of energy conservation. My congratulations to the winners but also everybody who took part."

Lewis Stokes, Development Relations Coordinator at The Banks Group, said: "The response we had to our competition was fantastic, and narrowing down all the entries to just the six winners was an incredibly hard job for the judging panel.

"There was a lot of excitement about seeing the winning designs and names in place - we think they all look fantastic, and they will be there for everyone to see for many years to come.

"As well as putting their artistic ideas forward, the children taking part in this project had the chance to learn more about a range of environmental topics, and we hope what they heard on the day about the energy and community funding generated by the Penny Hill wind farm will be useful to them in the future."

Penny Hill wind farm was officially opened in 2013 and generates enough electricity to power approximately 20,000 homes. The wind farm comes attached with a benefits fund, which will offer £750,000 to local communities in Aston, Thurcroft, Treeton, Ulley and Whiston over the wind farm's 20-year lifespan for community projects that make a real difference.