National Grid launches schools programme

Haven High Academy Lower School pupil Charlie making model pylons in Boston, Lincs., 13th January, 2020. Photos by JOHN ROBERTSON for National Grid.

National Grid has launched a three-year series of educational workshops for school pupils. The workshops will be directly linked to the National Curriculum and will feature activities relevant to the construction timeline of a subsea electricity cable – currently being built between the UK and Denmark, known locally as the Viking Link interconnector.

From Monday 13th January 2020, the National Grid project team will visit seven primary (key stage 2) and three senior schools (key stage 3) in the Lincolnshire area, over a two-week period and will follow up with the same pupils each year up until 2023.

The three-year programme, delivered twice a year, involves workshops that will support development and interest in STEM subjects and careers to encourage and inspire pupils to become the ‘next generation of engineers.’

Haven High Academy Lower School pupil Harry,(12) & model pylon in Boston, Lincs., 13th January, 2020. Photos by JOHN ROBERTSON for National Grid.

Mike Elmer, Viking Link Project Director for National Grid Ventures said, “It’s fantastic that we are able to engage with schools along the route of the project to deliver STEM workshops based on the programme of works used to build the Interconnector.

“This new subsea cable will enable more effective use of renewable energy, access to sustainable electricity generation, improved security of electricity supply and benefit the socio economy of Denmark and the UK. Construction is expected to be completed by end of 2023, and in that time through our three-year engagement programme, we hope to inspire future generations to become the ‘engineers of tomorrow’ and leave a strong legacy behind.”

In the first year of the programme, pupils will learn about the role of National Grid in providing and maintaining the UK’s high voltage electricity network and the benefits of electricity interconnection between the UK and Europe.

The Viking Link project, is a joint venture between National Grid Ventures, part of National Grid, and the Danish system operator, Energinet. The 1.4 GW high voltage direct current interconnector will be the longest in the world when completed, stretching 765 kilometres from Lincolnshire to Western Denmark.  It will have the capacity to power one and a half million UK homes.

Teamwork-Haven High Academy Lower School pupils & model pylons in Boston, Lincs., 13th January, 2020. Photos by JOHN ROBERTSON for National Grid.

Later in the year, the project team will deliver a second programme to the same set of pupils. This will include a hands-on route planning simulation where pupils will be challenged to find the most cost effective and acceptable route for a section of cable. There will also be a hands-on workshop building structures to span rivers and other obstacles.

In the following years as construction continues, pupils will be taught about the flow of electricity and renewable energy investigating how wind and sun is used to generate electricity.  Furthermore, there will be workshops on how to lay down cables, the role of interconnectors and how investing in transformative engineering and cutting-edge technology will help the country hit its net zero carbon target by 2050.

Viking Link will be National Grid’s sixth interconnector to Europe. The company already has three operational interconnectors to France (IFA), the Netherlands (BritNed) and Belgium (Nemo Link). Two further projects are under construction to France (IFA2, operational 2020) and Norway (North Sea Link, operational 2021).

Following the completion of Viking Link, National Grid will have enough interconnector capacity (7.8 gigawatts) to power 8 million homes. By 2030 90% of electricity imported via National Grid’s interconnectors will be from zero carbon sources.

For more information on the project visit