Schools across Aberdeen city and shire are putting their STEM knowledge to the test in a virtual renewable energy challenge as part of TechFest’s STEM in the Installation initiative.

The annual project, which has been developed in conjunction with industry professionals and sponsor CNOOC International, has gone digital for the first time due to the pandemic.

The project focuses on transitioning to reduce carbon emissions as much as possible, as part of a global movement towards net zero.

Using CNOOC International’s Buzzard platform as inspiration, pupils from Banchory Academy, Cults Academy, Kemnay Academy and Robert Gordon’s College have been challenged to reduce the amount of gas import required to provide electricity.

Each team has drafted a proposal to install and connect an offshore wind farm to the facility with the aim of generating power for the installation.

The pupils must meet the requirements of an industry brief and consider factors such as budget and health and safety.

Following several months of work, the teams will present their idea through video presentations to an assessment panel and the winners will be announced on Friday (December 4).

Sarah Chew, managing director of TechFest, said: “The STEM in the Installation project offers pupils an insight into the project management, engineering and design elements involved in the energy sector, at an industry standard.

“As we attempt, on a global scale, to use more renewable energy, this version of STEM in the Installation is a brilliant opportunity to raise awareness of green energy sources and how this is better for the environment.

“This year the format has changed slightly with the challenge taking place digitally, however the guidance, support and feedback will remain as in-depth as previous years.”

Fiona Heinonen, CSR analyst at CNOOC International and one of the senior judges in the competition, said: “We’re delighted to support this STEM in the Installation project. It’s a great way for the next generation to get involved and find out more about the future of our industry as we move towards net zero.”

Each year, TechFest runs Aberdeen and North-east Scotland’s annual festival of STEM. This year the event went digital for the first time in 27 years, reaching audiences on a global scale.

For more information on TechFest’s work, visit

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