Electrical engineering students received an enlightening insight into the workings of one of England’s largest hydroelectric power stations as they visited Kielder hydroelectric power station, which is located north of the village of Bellingham in the manmade lake of Kielder Water in Northumberland. The educational visit, led by operator RWE Innogy UK, allowed students to get up close and learn how clean energy is being generated.

Renewable energy technologies make up 7% of the UK’s electricity and the country is working towards the 2020 clean energy policies meaning the renewable energy market is a sector of ultimate growth.  The industry will demand a skilled workforce with vested experience in clean engineering technologies. TyneMet Engineering teacher, Lee Lowdon, said: “The Kielder Hydro Station helps students see operations first hand, bringing to life the subject area and helping to expand comprehension of electrical engineering within a clean energy context, pulling together what the students have learnt. Our engineering students may one day work in renewable technologies and visits to sites such as Kielder Hydro are an integral part of delivering a curriculum that meets industry requirements.”

TyneMet is the first college in North of England to receive Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) Assured accreditation; the very subjects needed for work in the renewable industry.

Level 2 in Electrical Engineering student, Stuart Brown, said: “I was really astonished and impressed with the size of Kielder Hydro, it was fascinating - from the size of the operation to the scale of the machinery and it was very good experience to see how things actually happen at the station. Renewable energy is a really interesting topic and a sector I’d like to work in one day.”

The Kielder Hydro Station started operating in 1982 and is powered by two turbines, which are capable of producing just over 6 MW of green energy in total. The Hydro Station annually generates enough energy to power the equivalent domestic needs of approximately 4,500 average UK households.

David Bevan from RWE Innogy UK, said: “It was great to see the students so enthused by the power station and hands on learning of STEM subjects. It is crucial for us in the renewable energy industry to encourage students to study these subjects as they will be delivering on our clean energy needs in the future.”