Thursday, August 24, 2023


Mackay and Whitsunday Life

Collinsville Students Inspired By Renewable Energy

A group of Collinsville State High School students have just experienced an exciting and educational two-day future-focussed workshop delivered by the education arm of the Queensland Resources Council (QRC).

The event deep dived into renewable energy, offering students insights into the subject and practical tasks to put their new knowledge to the test.

About 60 students from the Year 7 and 8 cohort participated in the action-packed Queensland Minerals and Energy Academy (QMEA) initiative which offered an unparalleled educational experience exploring the fundamentals of renewable energy.

Day one saw the Year 7 students explore how solar energy is used to power hydrogen cars in the ‘Energy: The Inside Story’ workshop.

“Students discovered the fundamentals of using solar energy to power a reversible fuel cell,” explained (QRC) Director of Skills, Education and Diversity, Ms Katrina-Lee.

Year 8 students were then tasked with identifying the optimal configuration of wind turbines for different wind conditions and Collinsville State High School Principal, Anna Reeves, said it was a very informative workshop.

All students were given model-scale wind turbines to construct themselves and invited to explore three different fan blade options by applying critical thinking and trial and error to determine how surface area and angle affects the efficiency of wind turbines.

“This helped them make insightful connections between their science curriculum and real-world applications and introduced them to the critical role renewable energy will play in a sustainable future, and how individuals can shape tangible outcomes,” Mrs Reeves said.  

The event was sponsored by Ark Energy who are the driving force behind an initiative to turn 180,000 acres of grazing property near Collinsville into a multi-purpose site that will create 3,000 megawatts of wind and solar renewable energy.

It is estimated that the project will generate at least $1 billion of economic activity in the region and more than 350 jobs during construction.

As a financial sponsor of the local school’s renewable energy workshop last week, Ark Energy are hopeful to have inspired the next generation of scientists who may one-day benefit even further by enjoying a long career in the sector.

All tasks completed during the event centred around science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM), and Senior Development Manager Ark Energy’s Collinsville Green Energy Hub, Ms Trina Jensen said students enjoyed the interactive sessions.

“Working collaboratively, they looked at energy generation, distribution and planning as they use diced and problem-solving to create their own unique Energy Plan for 2050, based on real-world challenges and opportunities,” Ms Jensen said.  

“It’s a fantastic opportunity for students to use exciting game theory to gain a comprehensive understanding of Queensland and Australia’s energy market, analysing dynamic aspects such renewable energy targets, peak demand forecasts and energy contracts.”

Collinsville State High School students loved the two-day renewable energy workshop. Photo supplied

Students experimented with different blades to see which turbine performed best. Photo supplied

Hands-on experiments allowed students to experience the inner workings of solar panel technology. Photo supplied

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