The Caledonia wind farm supports the new STEM prize for schools and colleges

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Developers of a new wind farm in Moray Firth have underscored the importance of young people choosing science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers by supporting a new award for schools and colleges.

The Caledonia offshore wind farm is supporting the educational charity Scottish Schools Education Research Center (SSERC) in awarding a Young STEM Leader Program award at Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework Level 7 – which equates to Advanced Higher.

The program is a core element of the Scottish Government’s STEM strategy.

The 2 GW Caledonia project is being developed by Ocean Winds in the Moray Firth east of the Beatrice, Moray West and Moray East sites and could include up to 150 turbines.

More than 12,000 young people are already taking part in the program in 800 centres.

The partnership between Ocean Winds and SSERC has resulted in Caledonia and similar projects supporting STEM education through initiatives such as SusSTEMability, First Lego League and the TechFest STEM Next essay contest.

Mark Baxter, Project Lead at Caledonia, said: “Having partnered with SSERC for STEM support over the past year, we are delighted to follow their advice to facilitate the development and delivery of this highly anticipated expansion of the highly regarded Young STEM to support the Leader program.

“We hope that the students who benefit from this program will be inspired by the rapidly expanding renewable energy opportunities in Scotland and internationally.”

A map showing the proposed development site for the Caledonia wind farm. Image: Ocean winds

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Alastair MacGregor, CEO of SSERC, said: “This represents a unique opportunity for SSERC to maintain existing relationships with employers and build on the success of our existing offerings.

“We hope the award will encourage more young people in college to consider becoming a Young STEM Leader.”

This award will enable young STEM leaders in upper secondary school, colleges and apprenticeship programs to undertake an evidence-based project spanning an academic year and spanning 50-60 hours of study. They are expected to work with STEM employers and institutions to ensure their project is reliable, accurate, and meaningful as a research topic.

The award will be launched as a pilot program beginning in September 2023, with a full national rollout in June 2024.

Headquartered in Madrid, Ocean Winds is the result of a 50:50 joint venture between EDP Renewables and Engie.

Ian Adams, Jennifer Stavert and Andrew Hamilton at an advisory event for Caledonia offshore wind farms in Wick in November. Image: Alan Hendry

Caledonia held a public consultation event in Wick in November. Other meetings were held in Fraserburgh and Buckie.

At the Wick meeting, a Caledonia spokesman said: “The Moray Firth is Scotland’s home for offshore wind. We came to Scotland in 2010 to develop offshore wind and our first project was the Moray Firth.

“Caledonia is expected to come online in 2030. This means we have brought with us a project pipeline of consistent supply chain and industry development opportunities for a full 20 years. That’s going to be an opportunity for 20 years.”

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