Enel Green Power North America is committed to supporting new technologies in schools in the USA and sharing knowledge about renewables with high school students and teachers via educational initiatives, training workshops and scholarships.
In Oklahoma, USA, where Enel Green Power North America (EGP-NA) has eight wind projects in operation and two under construction, wind energy is abundant and an integral part of the economy.
“EGP’s business does not end with plant construction and clean energy production. In Oklahoma, we bring wind energy and its most advanced technologies to schools, for both students and teachers.”
In recent years, Oklahoma’s school districts have seen reductions in their budgets.
One consequence has been a reduction in resources to adequately fund professional development for educators, especially on topics like sustainability and renewable energy.
One way we sought to address this growing need in the classroom was to support the introduction of new technologies for both students and teachers. This included a partnership with some of the local school systems to support their One-to-One technology program that provides laptops to students. Through its partnership, we enabled the school to purchase laptops and Chrome Books to help drive innovation in the classroom, transforming the way students and teachers access and absorb information.
Outside of the classroom we sponsored educational initiatives, held training workshops, turned our wind farms into outdoor classrooms and funded scholarships for the state’s high school students and teachers.
Teachers Study Renewables
We partnered with educational organisations like REcharge Labs, KidWind, and Spiritwind Kidz Ranch, which teach sustainability and renewables to schoolchildren and promote professional development workshops for hundreds of educators all over the state of Oklahoma.
During the four EGP sponsored training workshops held from February to April at schools throughout Oklahoma, 3rd-12th grade educators gained the knowledge, tools, and hands-on training needed to successfully incorporate renewable energy STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) concepts into their classroom curriculum.
The workshops included wind power lessons, where the educators were able to build their own sail cars and wind turbines, learn about blade design and how the energy of the wind is transformed into usable mechanical energy.
“Spiritwind Kidz Ranch, along with with KidWind and RECharge Labs, is proud to bring STEM based wind energy workshops to educators and students across Oklahoma.”
– Kathy Jackson, Founder of SpiritWind Kidz Ranch and also an instructor of KidWind and REcharge Labs
EGP-NA teams of technicians and specialists have also taken groups of students and educators on tours of EGP-NA’s wind farms in Oklahoma.
Seeing the massive turbines up-close got students and educators excited, appreciating their beauty, usefulness and the future careers linked to renewable energy.
The Wind Turbine Contest
Thanks to the support of EGP-NA, RECharge Labs, SpiritWind Kidz Ranch and KidWind, students from Oklahoma were given the opportunity to participate in the KidWind Challenge for the first time this year. It was the state’s first challenge in designing and building small wind turbines.
Held on April 29, 2017, at the University of Oklahoma, in Norman, OK, the KidWind Challenge saw students from 4th to 12th grade build turbines, test them in wind tunnels, and participate in instant challenges.
“The events organized by KidWind are an incredible way to teach younger generations about the importance and reality of producing and consuming renewable energy. EGP-NA is constantly looking for ways to reinvest in the communities where we operate, and we are proud to be a part of this educational local event.”
– Marcus Krembs, Director of Sustainability at Enel Green Power North America.
In addition to building and testing wind turbines, students were also given the chance to participate in interactive lab tours and discussions about renewable energy, its impact on Oklahoma and the careers in these emerging fields.
The winning teams of the challenge in Oklahoma then participated in the National KidWind Challenge, held during the AWEA Windpower 2017 in Anaheim, CA. It was the first time Oklahoma sent teams to the event, and one of the teams came in second place.