- 29 July 2019
Over the past few weeks, BJCE Australia has hosted Bradfordville and Wollondilly Public Schools at their Gullen Range Wind and Solar Farm at Bannister.
The excursions were organised by RDA Southern Inland, as part of the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths) Industry School Partnership (SISP) Program, funded by the Department of Education.
Representing a range of STEM jobs in the renewable industry, the Gullen Range team welcomed Years 5 and 6 students to the wind farm. This is not the first time the students have had the opportunity to meet the wind farm team. Gullen Range has also dropped by both schools twice in recent months to discuss renewable energy, build anemometers (instruments that measure wind speed) and assist the students with brainstorming their STEM project design ideas. The project aims to challenge the students to develop a product or device that enhances the use of renewable energy.
“The excursions are a great way to complement and build on the STEM studies in the classroom and enable the students to experience an operating wind farm first-hand and ask lots more questions”, said Isabel Nelson, Community Engagement Officer at BJCE Australia.
During their visit, the students got up close to a wind turbine and watched the Gullen Range team demonstrate how changing the angle of the rotor blades can stop and start the wind turbine.
The tour also included a visit to the Operations and Maintenance building, where the students found out about the farm’s electronic monitoring system and met some of the 14 local staff. It was explained to the students that monitoring the weather is an essential part of any wind farm and maintenance activities are usually planned to occur when the wind speeds are low in order to make the most of generating electricity when the wind is stronger.
Students were also shown the substation, which is where all the power generated from the wind and solar farm is passed onto the electricity grid.
“The students loved being shown around the site and were impressed by the size of the wind turbines. The team at Gullen Range Wind Farm encouraged the students to study maths at school, pursue engineering and come and work in an industry like theirs. We certainly hope visits like this encourage students to consider a career in a STEM industry”, said Camilla Staff, Project Officer at RDA Southern Inland.
SISP is a program that links industry with local schools to focus the narrative on how STEM skills and knowledge can solve real-world problems. Wollondilly and Bradfordville Public Schools are also involved in the SISP Program, as well as a number of schools in the Upper Lachlan.