Click here for photos.
The flame of scientific curiosity was kindled once more in Gladstone today as students embraced the opportunity to supercharge their problem-solving skills at a workshop delivered by the Queensland Minerals and Energy Academy (QMEA), the esteemed education arm of the Queensland Resources Council (QRC).
The ‘Powering our Future’ workshop, held at Central Queensland University Marina Campus, unfolded as a fascinating journey into the world of energy generation, supply and demand, through support from ConocoPhillips Australia, as downstream operator of Australia Pacific LNG (APLNG).
Reflecting on the workshop’s impact, QRC Director of Skills, Education and Diversity, Ms Katrina-Lee Jones said the unique experience, which was intricately linked with the Australian Curriculum, allowed more than 50 inquisitive Grade 8 students from Toolooa, Gladstone, Calliope, and Tannum Sands state high schools, and Chanel College to tap into real-time data from the National Energy Market (NEM).
“It’s a timely opportunity as energy dynamics are rapidly evolving in Queensland and across the nation,” Ms Jones said.
“Students were tasked with creating their own Energy Contracts for 2050, delving into factors such as renewable energy targets and peak demand forecasts, and it was inspiring to witness their enthusiasm and grasp of complex energy concepts.”
Stakeholder Relations Manager at ConocoPhillips Australia, Ms Chantale Lane highlighted the unique aspects of the workshop, noting it encouraged students to analyse the proportion of renewables and grapple with the impacts of base and peak loads on the NEM.
“Students analysed energy consumption across the different states and territories, and completed an engaging quiz, that helped them comprehend the energy market and explore issues surrounding renewable and non-renewable energy sources,” Ms Lane said.
“These activities not only empowered students to understand the complexities of the energy network but it also cultivated their problem-solving skills and inspired them to develop innovative solutions for a future sustainable energy grid.”
Tannum Sands State High School Principal, Mrs Heather Blessington praised the workshop as a transformative learning experience, commenting that the students’ engagement went well beyond that seen in a traditional classroom lesson.
“Students were eagerly immersed in the world of renewable energy, learning how to harness solar power to generate hydrogen and master the art of wind energy production whilst learning technical skills like using multimeters to measure power output are invaluable.” Mrs Blessington said.
“Equally important was the exploration of the complex network of powerlines that connect our homes to the national grid where students gained a holistic understanding of energy distribution and consumption, which will undoubtedly serve them well in a world undergoing decarbonisation.”
As Australia’s largest and most successful industry-led education and schools initiative, the QMEA seeks to broaden student and teacher knowledge of career opportunities in resources.
The academy encourages a talent pipeline of employees into vocational and professional careers, with a focus on female and Indigenous participation. The QMEA currently engages with 98 schools and is a partnership between the QRC and the Queensland Government under its Gateway to Industry Schools program.