SSEN delivers Transition to Net Zero drop-down day

Can you come up with a way of delivering electricity to a growing population that works towards Net Zero? In one working day?

Eliane Algaard from SSEN

That was the problem put to Year 12 when members of energy provider SSEN (Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks) came in to deliver a drop-down day that tested our youngsters in a range of skill sets and helped them gain a greater understanding of Net Zero and the part they could play through careers in a low carbon energy industry.

Not only did they need to come up with a solution to a problem that is taxing some of the world’s biggest brains, but they had to use teamwork, critical thinking, research, numeracy, computing, communication and presentation skills to deliver their ideas to a panel of judges.

Working in groups, the students pooled their knowledge of physics and engineering to consider the following questions – What do you understand of Net Zero? What are the cause of global heating? What solutions are there to combat the increase in global temperatures? How does this impact an electricity network? What would you do to help achieve Net Zero?

Aware that their solutions would be questioned, students worked extra hard on their theories, pulling them apart and rebuilding until they were confident enough to present them to their peers and SSE visitors.

The range of ideas generated was powerful, electrifying, dynamic (all puns intended!)… Our bright sparks came up with a wide range of solutions, from harnessing nuclear power safely, to capturing wasted energy, and trading excess energy, which really impressed our visitors and made it really hard to pick a winner.

Unable to choose between two very different ideas, SSE decided on two winning teams, who have now been invited to deliver their presentations to the SSEN DEC (Distribution Executive Committee). This is fantastic opportunity for them to hone their work-ready skills and will be an impressive addition to their CVs.

Well done to team Faris, Mikael, Johaan, Partha, Edward and Muthaira  who came up with a two-pronged approach – a Blockchain-based energy trading platform where customers can trade excess energy, alongside nuclear energy production via small modular reactors.

Team Thomas, Euan, Ella and Grzegorz (left) came up with the idea for an App that encourages customers to lower their energy consumption by providing detailed energy use information and incentives to cut back.

Eliane Algaard, Director of Customer Operations at SSEN, had this to say: “We were really impressed with all of the solutions presented, particularly as they were so varied. All teams answered the question and took different pathways to address the problem.

“Our winners were chosen as both recognised the problem that going Net Zero takes time and enormous amounts of money. Their solutions show flexibility – by using data and AI we can buy time and gradually change people’s behaviour.”

UTC Reading’s Assistant Head Teacher, Stephanie Mitchell added: “It was fantastic to have so many SSE volunteers onsite working with our Year 12 students. Days like this really help to bridge the gap between industry and education and are the reason that UTC’s exist. Not only did the students learn a lot about the transition to Net Zero, they learnt essential employability skills for their futures. A big thank you to SSEN for supporting our students.”

Eliane Algaard concluded: “This Transition to Net Zero day has provided an excellent opportunity for students to gain practical experience, enhance their employability skills, and develop a better understanding of the types of careers they can work; roles that will help us all meet our net zero goals through an electricity infrastructure fit for the future.

“It’s been a joy to work with these young people – to see the passion they have for making change and bringing innovative ideas for the development of our Net Zero network to life through their excellent presentations. I believe this kind of event is instrumental in preparing students for careers in industries, such as SSEN, that are actively working towards achieving Net Zero.”

We’re so proud of our Year 12s, who conducted (!!) themselves in a professional and respectful way and came up with some truly inspirational ideas. We can’t wait to let these young engineers and big thinkers loose on the world to shape the future!

Thank you to the team for SSEN who delivered an electrifying drop-down day!

Our Partners