Monday, September 24, 2012

Renewable Energy Teaching Tools: Sprout and KidWind

We need to acquaint the workforce of tomorrow with Renewable sources of energy. Renewables are a crucial part of our future but we will need to educate a vast supply of human resources to research, build and install the necessary facilities and infrastructure. As reviewed in a Renewable Energy World (REW) article, there are a couple of new tools that will help to develop the skilled workforce of tomorrow.

A new teaching tool called Sprout is just the kind of tool needed to get people interested in renewable energy. Sprout is outfitted with solar panels, a wind turbine and a weather station. Sprout calculates and combines data for wind speed/direction, solar elevation/irradiance, voltage, watts/m2 available and other statistics. Sprout also offers integrated lesson plans for all levels that allow students to use renewables in math, science and more. Sprout is located in North Carolina.

KidWind is another tool designed to show students how wind energy systems are built. KidWind offers hands-on “challenges” throughout the US, a full wind energy curriculum, and even includes lessons about solar energy, generators, and energy efficiency. As part of the program students spend three months building a wind turbines, which are then entered into local competitions, which are promoted on the KidWind website. This program teaches the mechanics of building a wind turbine, the dynamics of wind, and a wide assortment of issues related to energy and power.

Both Sprout and KidWind comply with the STEM (Savings Through Energy Management) program. This nationally recognized workshop is generally conducted in five lessons, one per week, and educates students about energy costs and career skills.

If America is to be competitive in the field of renewable energy it will have to have a skilled workforce capable of building and maintaining the vast networks of clean energy projects that are anticipated.These two tools are examples of the kind of creativity required to get kids interested in the twenty-first century energy economy.

© 2012, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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