School's electricity bills down 86% thanks to green energy

25 July 2008 / by Rachel Mason
A primary school in Cornwall has reduced its electricity bill 86 per cent thanks to a new wind turbine on its playing fields.

Gorran School, in Gorran, near St Austell, has installed a 50ft wind turbine on its grounds to make the most of its windy position on the Cornish headland.

The turbine produces 3.5kW of power, which is enough to meet all of the 100-pupil school's electricity needs and even helps heat the outdoor swimming pool.

Power that is not needed at the school – when the turbine is turning during evenings, weekends and summer holidays – is sold back to the National Grid at 10p a unit.

Gorran School was given a grant of £55,000 - £30,000 from EDF Energy, £17,000 from the Low Carbon Buildings Programme, £7,500 from Cornwall Area of Outstanding Beauty Unit and £500 from Eco-schools to install the turbine, and now around 30 other schools in Cornwall are looking to follow suit.

The school's headteacher, Matthew Oakley, told The Times: "Last month we reduced our electricity bill by 86 per cent," but explained that the lesson the turbine is teaching to the children about the importance of green energy is just valuable as the savings made.

"Just as important is the message that this is giving to our pupils about how important it is to be able to generate green energy as this is the world they are going to be living in," he said.

This is not the first school that EDF has helped to become green. In May, the energy company, along with the Low Carbon Buildings Programme, funded 51 solar panels at Ilfracombe C of E Junior School.

Peter Hofman, EDF Energy’s Director Sustainable Future, said: “Young people have their whole lives ahead of them as energy consumers and children are learning how small changes make a big difference to the environment."

Talking about the solar project at Ilfracombe Junior School and other green initiatives, he said: "It is a practical way to teach children about the challenges of climate change and make renewable energy part of their everyday experience.”

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