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Up in the air

Hugh Henry, the Education Minister, has launched a schools' education programme about wind farms, at Stanley Primary in Ardrossan. The interactive educational programme has been devised by the renewables company Airtricity and includes a CD-Rom and a pupils' workbook, featuring cartoon character "Tommy Turbine".

"We want the best for Scotland's future," said Mr Henry. That means educating future generations about energy, the environment and the way that renewable technology fits into that picture."

The programme is focused on primary schools, especially P5-7. It covers climate change and the environment, how electricity is produced and used, and the importance of renewables, especially wind power.

Alan Baker, Airtricity's chief executive in Scotland, said: "The CD and workbook can be used by pupils and teachers as part of classwork and will complement planned visits by schools to our wind farms."

The programme, including the wind farm visits, will be available initially to schools in North Ayrshire and Stirling Council areas where Airtricity has operating wind farms at Ardrossan and Braes of Doune. Later this year it will be offered to schools in Dumfries and Galloway where Airtricity is currently building wind farms at Minsca near Lockerbie and Dalswinton.

Duncan McLaren, the chief executive of Friends of the Earth Scotland, said:

"We'd often raise an eyebrow about business tie-ups with the education sector. However, Airtricity has to date a good track record as a responsible developer of renewables.

"It is important that young people become interested in the world around them, and that includes finding out where we get our energy from. Perhaps this programme will help stimulate the next generation of engineers and scientists required to enable Scotland to become a world leader in renewable energy."

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