The project team behind the North Sea Link interconnector has launched a new Energy Education Centre to inspire and strengthen school pupils’ interest in energy, construction and STEM subjects.
The educational facility was officially opened in Cambois, South East Northumberland by North Sea Link, a joint venture between National Grid and Norwegian system operator, Statnett. The Centre will enable children from across the county to find out how interconnectors make energy cleaner and learn about the opportunities that a career in engineering could bring.
Stretching for over 720 kilometres between Cambois in the UK and Kvilldal in Norway, the North Sea Link is set to become the world’s longest subsea electricity interconnector. The 1.4-gigawatt electricity interconnector will allow fast and flexible power sharing between the British and Norwegian power grids, allowing the UK to bring in enough clean energy to power up to 2.4 million homes.
Located on the interconnector project’s converter site in Cambois, the Centre will be open for pre-organised visits from the area’s 172 schools, as well as local community groups.
Visitors will be able to learn more about the interconnector and the technology involved whilst exploring the site through virtual reality headsets and from a purpose-built viewing gallery. Featuring interactive elements such as power-generating pedal bikes and video show reels, the centre allows visitors a unique insight into how electricity is generated and why clean energy is so important to our planet’s future.
North Sea Link Senior Project Manager, Steve Coxon and his team are hoping to welcome more than 2,000 pupils through the doors over the coming years.
He said: “While the region’s heritage may lie in coal mining, the future is looking green. With several on and offshore wind farms, two dedicated biomass power stations and now, the world’s largest subsea interconnector, the North East is gaining a global reputation as a leading area in renewable energy.
“Interconnectors are the perfect tool to facilitate the growth in renewables and we hope that launching our new Energy Education Centre will inspire the next generation to learn more about this kind of technology and the role interconnectors such as North Sea Link play in delivering a greener, cleaner future for the UK.”
Principal Contractor for the converter build, ABB, has also played a vital role in establishing the centre and will work in partnership with North Sea Link to run the facility.
Ola Ekstrom, North Sea Link Project Director of ABB’s Grid Integration Business Line, commented:
“The Energy Education Centre provides a fun and interactive way of bringing to life the theory that young people learn in the classroom about renewable energy.
“Supporting this initiative will help to inspire the engineers of the future and prepare tomorrow’s workforce by demonstrating the essential role that technology plays in shaping the future of sustainable energy.
“The North Sea Link interconnector is a terrific example of how modern HVDC (high-voltage direct current) interconnections can increase the security of power supplies, enhance the use of renewables and support energy trading cross-borders.”