As the world’s fossil fuel reserves become ever more depleted, it has not escaped our attention that the world faces an impending energy crisis. Unsurprisingly, public awareness of the need to find new sustainable energy sources has risen significantly over the last few years.
So, when we heard on the morning news that a South East London primary school has started generating its own electricity, we were quite excited. Anyone who has been forced to spend any time in the presence of young children cannot fail to be aware of the vast amount of energy that they possess. Energy, which frankly is not normally harnessed in any useful or productive manner.
On hearing the headline, we imagined a playground filled with an array of dozens of outsized hamster-wheels, all connected to an uber-generator. Fuelled by sugary, additive-rich snacks, and spurred on by fear of the bogeyman living in the roof-space, we reckon that ‘kiddie-power’ could generate enough electricity to power the entire district (as well as solving the supposed ‘child obesity problem’).
Unfortunately though, it seems that the school’s power generation plans are somewhat less ambitious in reality. Instead of generating power directly from the ankle-biters themselves, the school is merely rigging up a few poxy solar panels – spurning the gigawatts of natural power at their disposal.
And the result? Apparently the solar panels, worth £23,000, are capable of generating enough electricity to run 77 lights. Head teacher Anthony Peltier is obviously quite excited by this modest achievement:
The problems we face with climate change have been widely reported in the press. But there's no point in just talking about it. We have to take action now. I am extremely proud of what has been achieved. This is a huge asset for the local community and I hope it sets a precedent that will motivate other communities across the world to take up the challenge.
We can’t help thinking that Mr Peltier is somewhat over-hyping this achievement, unless the 77 lights that the solar panels are powering happen to be stadium floodlights, or lighthouses. Maybe the £23,000 would have been better spent on 46 kiddie-sized hamster-wheels…