Page last updated at 11:38 GMT, Friday, 22 May 2009 12:38 UK

Wind and sun runs school canteen

Turbine at the school
The turbine is at the end of the playing field between the school and the beach

A school is making the most of two natural resources at its seaside location - wind and sun.

Ysgol y Traeth (beach school) at Barmouth in Gwynedd unveils its very own £50,000 wind turbine and solar panel project on Friday.

The combined energies will provide around half of the school's energy needs.

Any electricity left over - such as at the weekend or during holidays - will be fed back into the national grid.

"This innovative project was developed from an idea the children had in the school council," said head teacher Ywain Myfyr.

'Entrepreneurial skills'

"The idea at first was to save electricity in the school, but that then grew into the school producing its own electricity," he said.

The project - and the electricity produced - is used as part of the school curriculum.

Saffron (left) and Louise
I like the project, and I enjoyed working on it
Saffron, 10

"I hope that the children will grow up and maybe do something like this themselves.

"It develops entrepreneurial skills and teaches the children to look after the world they live in," he added.

The teacher in charge of the project, Richard Jones, said the children had thoroughly enjoyed the process of looking at wind turbines.

"If anything we are getting more electricity out of the solar panels, but it is definitely the wind turbine which has made more of an impression," he said.

"It's quite impressive too, at about 9m tall and 3m across," he said.

"I like the project, and I enjoyed working on it (a model of a turbine) as I'm quite artistic and it was really good fun," said Saffron, 10.

Energy panel
A panel in the school foyer shows how much electricity is being produced

Whilst Louise, also 10, said: "I think it's important to save electricity, so there isn't so much of a bill.

"I had quite a shock when I saw the windmill however, as I never thought we'd have a turbine at the school."

Planning permission was not straight forward as there was some objection.

"There is a bit of a mixed reaction (about the turbine) but I don't really notice it now," said one resident, Vanessa Prichard.

"There might be an issue for some people with the noise, but it doesn't bother most of us," she added.

'Our Planet'

Dulas Ltd, from Machynlleth, Powys, installed both the panels and the turbine.

The company has provided hundreds of similar installations around the UK as part of the Low Carbon Partnership.

According to Ian Draisey from Dulas, who has a child at Ysgol y Traeth, the project delivers on three fronts.

Firstly the children are benefiting educationally - and the company has been involved in developing an educational programme called Our Planet to go alongside the project.

They learn about renewable energy and about engineering, whilst the school has the benefit of an income to allow money to be spent on other eco-measures.

"The school children will be inspired by renewable energy and will also gain understanding about engineering, design and the technology," said Mr Draisey.

"This may encourage some to stay and live locally, making significant contributions to their local economies and communities by working at companies like Dulas."

The official opening of the project takes place on Friday between 1330 and 1500 at Ysgol y Traeth, Barmouth.



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