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Rural Schools Switched on to Renewables

9 January, 2008

Sinn Féin Rural Development Minster Michelle Gildernew MP MLA has launched Phase Two of the Switched on Schools initiative, at Moat Primary School, Lisnaskea.

Over £1.3million will be invested in the installation of solar panels and small wind devices in 35 rural schools. Sixteen rural schools benefited from Phase One of the project which was completed in September 2007. Installation in a further 19 schools, as part of Phase Two, will commence shortly. The initiative also involves the development of an online educational resource, designed to educate the next generation of young people on sustainable energy issues.

Speaking at the launch the Minister said:

"This is a landmark initiative which places renewable energy at the heart of rural schools. Schools are vital in shaping the thinking and behaviour of the next generation and these young people have their whole lives ahead of them as energy consumers. School children will learn about renewable energy and issues such as climate change in their classrooms and will then see how they can contribute to a more sustainable world.

"Educating children to be aware of environmental issues will not only benefit the rural community, but also the world around them. Even little changes made by children can make a big difference to global issues."

The Switched on Schools project is funded by the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) through the Programme for Building Sustainable Prosperity (PBSP), NIE and the Education and Library Boards.


  1. The EU Programme for Building Sustainable Prosperity (PBSP) is an integral part of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development's broad range of support for rural areas within its Rural Development Programme 2001-06.
  2. NIE was awarded £1,000,000 from the Department towards the Schools Renewable Energy Project under Measure 4.9 of the PBSP - Development and Improvement of Infrastructure. Matching funds for this £1,333,333 project are being provided by NIE (£128,333) and the Education and Library Boards £205,000.
  3. DARD's Rural Strategy for 2007-2013 can be viewed at the DARD website:
  4. The electricity generated will contribute to reducing the running costs of the participant schools and, more importantly, pupils will be able to monitor the contribution their school is making towards the generation of electricity from renewable sources, such as wind and light.
  5. Schools that participated in Switched on Schools Phase one:

Delamont House Down District Council

Moira PS Lisburn City Council
Parkview SS Lisburn City Council
Saintfield HS Down District Council
St Comcille's HS Down District Council
St Mary's PS Ards Borough Council

Aughnacloy PS Dungannon & South Tyrone Borough Council
Ballytrea PS Cookstown District Council
Blessed Patrick O'Loughlin PS Dungannon & South Tyrone Borough Council
Donacloney PS Craigavon Borough Council
St Mochua's PS Armagh Borough Council

Castlederg HS Strabane District Council
Cooley PS Omagh District Council
Moat PS Fermanagh District Council
St Comcille's PS Derry City Council
St Patrick's HS Limavady Borough Council

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