In Mexico, the renovated nacelle of a wind turbine has become the main attraction at the heart of a project that aims to introduce young people to renewable energy in the hope of opening up new job opportunities for them.
A disused wind turbine nacelle – the pod that contains the main components required to move the turbine – has been turned into a mobile training center for Mexican students who want to become engineers specializing in renewable energy to learn about wind power technology.
It is the main attraction in the Didactic Nacelle project created by Enel Green Power at the Stipa Nayáa power plant in Oaxaca. This extremely windy state in south-eastern Mexico is a real “reservoir” of wind and currently produces 62% of all the wind power generated in Mexico.
The effects of the Sustainable Plant model
The Sustainable Plant model has redefined EGP’s operational approach to plants with the aim of making them increasingly sustainable. Since it was first launched, it has had an increasingly positive impact on the Enel Group’s activities and has made a significant contribution to the implementation of its strategy in terms of sustainability.
The initiative has facilitated the sharing of best practices between countries, resulting in cross-sector communication about experiences and ideas, including those that support training and education. This is exactly the case with the Didactic Nacelle. Originally destroyed by fire, the nacelle has now been completely restored: its housing was cleaned up and painted, and some of its main components were replaced in collaboration with suppliers and partners who give obsolete machinery a new lease on life (gearboxes, transformers, generators, etc.).
An example of the circular economy
The Mexico Operation & Maintenance Team has managed to give this part of the turbine, which would otherwise have been classified as scrap, a second use. They have also turned it into an example of the circular economy, which reuses and transforms materials into resources rather than waste.
The nacelle has become an important tool in passing on knowledge and training to young people in a country where science education is urgently needed and in an area in which students run the risk of not being given basic knowledge and skills.
Boosting young people’s science skills
Data from the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) reveals that, of all its member countries, young Mexicans have the greatest interest in working in science: almost half of all high school students are interested in pursuing jobs that require education in the sciences.
At the same time, Mexico performs worst out of all the OECD countries in science learning: a fact that is reflected in the professional world, where there is a gap between what young job seekers have to offer and the requirements of businesses that need skills involving a certain amount of specialization, particularly in the area of technology. In the state of Oaxaca in particular, the education system is inadequate, with large swathes of people on the margins of society who struggle to access to quality education.
Enel Green Power’s Didactic Nacelle is a way of encouraging young people to improve their education and increase their chances of getting a job.