The inaugural KidWind Offshore Wind Academy was hosted at Massachusetts Maritime Academy from July 24-29th, 2022. Students arrived on campus on a hot, sticky Sunday afternoon and worked and played hard until Friday afternoon learning about offshore wind and the multitude of jobs and career pathways available in the Blue Economy. This program is funded through the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center's Expanding Access to Opportunity in Offshore Wind Workforce program.
Participants included 20 students and two high school science teachers from across the Commonwealth. Students stayed in the dorms, ate in the mess hall and learned about wind energy principles and trust- building skills while working with teammates on their KidWind projects. According to one participant, “This program strongly enriched my knowledge of climate change, career pathways, and wind energy. I recommend it to anyone who is curious about the sciences behind renewable energy, specifically wind power, and their place within the field.”
Starting with basic safety of using utility knives and hot glue, students quickly moved on to how to use multimeters and engineer ideas from a vision to an actual floating turbine. Wrangling with glue guns, PVC, balsa wood, fishing line and corks, student teams created wind turbines that generated electricity and, in many cases, also floated. Initial testing of the flotation platforms in the outdoor tank equipped with four big fans was particularly exciting as platforms tipped over, blades flew off, things that needed to be modified and retested became clear. This is all part of the Engineering Design process and it was a lot of work, but the participants did an amazing job.