Community Articles

Blue Coat School - Renewable Energy Project
Blue Coat CE Primary School, Wotton under Edge, is making plans to install 10 kW of renewable energy generation in the form of solar PV panels and a small wind turbine.

For some time the Governing Body has had the aspiration to develop a renewable energy project at the School. The aim is to have a clear physical example of renewable technology, offering strong educational and community benefits as well as reducing the school’s carbon footprint and electricity bills. The children, staff and PTA are very excited at the prospect of having their own wind turbine and solar power. 

Sally Greaves, acting Head Teacher, says: “This exciting project will directly benefit the school and the community. It will teach our children so much about the steps we can take to reduce our dependence on oil and gas, save energy and safeguard the planet for future generations of children.” 

Whilst the School has some capital set aside for such a scheme there is currently a very favourable funding climate, especially for community and public buildings. Grants are available from the Government (under the Low Carbon Building Program Phase 2), Big Lottery (Community Sustainable Energy Programme) and from “green funds” run by the energy suppliers EDF Energy, E.ON and Scottish Power. As a result there is a real prospect of 100% grant funding for the project. 

Blue Coat School could readily benefit from two types of renewable energy installation. The roofs at the back of the school are SW facing, are un-shaded, and are not visible to any nearby residents and therefore ideal for Solar Photo-Voltaic panels. 

The school playing field is on a SW facing hill on the edge of the town boundary, thus having no immediate neighbours, and benefits from prevailing SW winds. There is a line of mature (15m high) trees along the school's southern boundary ending at the field. A small Wind Turbine no higher than the trees would be proposed, aligned with but slightly separated from this tree-line, taking advantage of the SW winds and the increase in wind speed caused by the rising slope. 

Large digital displays in the school would show the total power generated and CO2 savings. In addition the school are planning a web-based monitoring system so that children, staff, other schools and interested members of the public would be able to assess the benefits and performance of the renewable energy systems. 

In the light of the current funding climate the Governors have decided to seek planning permission for both technologies. A pre-planning Public Consultation Meeting will be held on 10th February 2009 at 7:00 pm in the Blue Coat School Hall to discuss these proposals, and all are welcome. 


Alex Allliston
01453 842849

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