As the world’s leaders try to agree a future strategy at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21) this week in Paris, in Glasgow the science centre has brought together major players of the energy industry to give the public an apolitical and unbiased exhibition to help highlight society’s role in how we will power future energy needs.
Powering The Future, the most ambitious exhibition of its kind in the UK, focuses on the science and technology used to supply energy in the UK and highlights key issues that society is likely to face in the not too distant future. The £1.5million project has been designed to stimulate public debate and engagement with the key issues around the energy ‘trilemma’ – security, affordability, and environment sustainability.
Education through interaction
Through a series of 60 exhibits the public will be invited to consider how we can meet our ever growing demands on the energy sector using a hands-on approach that takes a ‘behind the scenes’ look at where energy comes from. By feeling the force of wind in a hurricane booth, piloting an underwater ROV, generating power in a dance-off, to using an interactive map plotting live wind patterns across the planet, visitors will learn about the range of ways we can harness energy and recognise the benefits and limits of the different sources.
To develop the exhibition, scientists from Glasgow Science Centre gathered support from across the energy sector, united by a shared desire to engage the public in the energy debate. Experts from partners included the Scottish Government, oil and gas industry skills organisation OPITO, Scottish Enterprise, SSE, Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, National Grid, EDF Energy, Skills Development Scotland, Scottish Power Energy Network and Doosan Babcock.
Dr Stephen Breslin, chief executive of the Glasgow Science Centre, said: “It is exciting that Powering the Future has had cross-industry support and that the public will now have access to an exhibition which will help them form their opinions, and hopefully encourage them to take the next step into a career in the energy industry.”
“Reinforcing the importance of the role that young people have to play in addressing and taking on the challenges we face in energy supply cannot be over emphasised.”
John McDonald, Managing Director of OPITO, added: “Inspiring young people to develop an interest in the energy sector is critical if we are to create a pipeline of talent for years to come. The Powering The Future exhibition will open up the oil and gas industry to a whole new audience and give young people a deeper understanding of the diverse range of roles the sector encompasses.
“The oil and gas industry is a major contributor to the UK economy, so it is vital that we help inform, inspire and educate future generations about the career opportunities it presents.”
Andrew Hunt, CEO of Doosan Babcock, said: “As the energy mix becomes increasingly diverse and the shift to low-carbon and decentralised sources of energy gathers pace, it is important for us to translate the complexities of energy engineering and technology in a way that is tangible and interesting to the public. Powering the Future provides a great platform for this, helping us engage communities with the pioneering progress of the energy sector and inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers.”