As Vattenfall proposals for the Norfolk Vanguard and Norfolk Boreas Offshore Wind Farms began to take shape, we sought the input of local people and groups to help refine our plans. Thinking inclusively, we also seek to encourage the involvement of those often less likely to provide feedback in wind energy consultation processes. A key goal for us is to involve young people - whose lives will most benefit from effective action on climate change, and whose futures are linked to innovation that will deliver fossil-fuel free living within a generation.
We believe access to information, and opportunities to participate in two-way dialogue, asking questions and exploring answers together is fundamental, and with young eople especially, i engagement could fulfil a more expansive role and perform an educational or skills development function too. Ultimately, we hoped that we could reach an increased number of people with high quality information and inspire them with enough confidence to provide informed feedback.
As part of this thinking, Vattenfall and 3DW agreed to collaborate on development of a new 3D Virtual Reality offshore wind farm design programme. The aim of this programme/challenge was to give students an engaging, balanced and educationally valuable insight into the complexities of offshore wind farm design and to offer context to the vast amounts of information presented as part of offshore wind engagement and consultation activities.
The final programme was delivered over 2 weeks, to 8 schools and colleges across the project area and involved around 180 participating students.
The main objective of the programme was for the students to design an environmentally, technically and financially feasible offshore wind farm. The design scenario was a simplified simulation, however many realistic constraints emerged and this allowed students to think through approaches and solutions they would themselves implement, whilst appreciating the real choices that developers need to make.
Through undertaking the programme students:
a) Worked as a project team and developed employability skills like leadership, collaboration and problem solving
b) Gained an understanding of the very diverse jobs/career opportunities and the different roles and responsibilities within the offshore wind industry
c) Gained an understanding of the many constraints, challenges and choices that must be considered in order to design a viable offshore wind farm and learned about the fieldwork, research and consultation which shapes these decisions
d) Gained an understanding of how technology is used in this innovative, fast evolving sector and appreciated the importance of the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects for employment within the renewables and offshore wind industry
A summary report of the outcomes and findings from this programme can be found by clicking here and if you have further questions please don’t hesitate to contact LLO for Norfolk projects Sue Falch-Lovesey.