Funding secured for new energy exhibition

16 September 2015

Glasgow Science Centre has secured £1.5m funding to deliver one of the most ambitious exhibitions ever mounted in the UK on the topic of energy use.

The Powering The Future exhibition will shine a spotlight on one of the biggest challenges facing modern society – the future of our energy supply.

Opening on Thursday 10 December, Powering the Future will help develop understanding and raise awareness of the science underpinning the critical issues related to future energy supply. Through a series of over 60 thought provoking interactive exhibits, the Centre will ask visitors how we can meet increasing energy demand reliably, at an acceptable economic and environmental cost.

Exhibition content has been carefully considered to ensure a fun and engaging experience accessible for people of all ages. From feeling the force of wind in a hurricane booth, building a Lego hydroelectric power station, piloting an underwater ROV and generating power in a dance-off, visitors will learn about ways we can harness energy and recognise the benefits and limits of different sources. From how energy is generated to how it is transformed, stored and transmitted, visitors will discover what happens behind their power switch.

Glasgow Science Centre gathered support from across the energy industry, united by a shared desire to engage with the public in the energy debate. Exhibition partners include the Scottish Government, oil and gas industry skills organisation OPITO, Scottish Enterprise, SSE, Engineering Physical Science Research Council, National Grid, EDF Energy, Skills Development Scotland, Scottish Power Energy Network and Doosan Babcock. This is the first time that all sectors of the energy industry, policy makers and government agencies have come together to present unbiased and apolitical information to highlight the challenges we face with future energy supply.

Dr Stephen Breslin, chief executive of Glasgow Science Centre said:
“The constant, steady availability of energy underpins our modern lives. To deliver a secure, affordable and cleaner energy future, society must engage with and understand the issues related to future energy supply. We also need to develop a skilled workforce that will play a pivotal role in finding solutions to these issues.

“Powering the Future will help the public recognise the challenges we face with energy supply and the need for an energy mix. It will present information based on scientific evidence allowing visitors to develop their own informed opinion on our energy future.

“The issue of power generation and use affects everyone and everyone has a role to play in creating a more sustainable society. Powering the Future will provide people with the tools to learn more about the industry, while inspiring a new wave of young people to consider their potential role in ensuring future generations have sustainable power sources.”

Commenting on the announcement, Fergus Ewing, Minister for Energy, Enterprise and Tourism, said:
“This is a vitally important asset in engaging the public in the energy debate - how we will continue to meet our growing energy needs in a secure, affordable and clean way. Powering the Future will provide the facts to help the public understand the means by which Scotland can achieve a successful transition to a low carbon economy.

“One area of the exhibition that I am excited about allows visitors to experience what it is like to be the “Energy Minister for the day” where they can learn about energy sources and mixes that will contribute to our future renewable energy and climate change targets.”

Powering the Future will inspire the next generation to become part of the industry by highlighting the innovation and engineering excellence that is happening in the energy sector. Almost 70,000 schoolchildren visit Glasgow Science Centre annually and the exhibition will be a focal point of the Centre’s education programme and act as a powerful engagement tool to help inform young people of the wide range and rewarding careers available within the sector both at home and abroad.

OPITO UK managing director John McDonald said:
“Inspiring the next generation and nurturing an interest in the energy sector is critical if we are to create a sustainable pipeline of talent for years to come. Whilst a global powerhouse, the oil and gas industry is still misunderstood by many young people who are unaware of how far-reaching, innovative and rewarding it is.

“Powering the Future will play a role in helping to open the eyes and minds of young people across Scotland, giving them a deeper understanding of the important role the energy sector plays and the diverse range of careers it encompasses. We hope in supporting this initiative it will open the sector up to a whole new audience and encourage them to consider a future in the energy industry.”

Dr Breslin added:
“Estimates suggest that Scotland produces about 12 per cent of the UK’s power generation. How this is done, what the current mix is and how we will meet our ever increasing need for power is not only an issue for people today, but one in which we need to engage the minds of those who could work in the sector in the future.”

“On average, pupils are less likely at present to choose STEM subjects and careers. The Centre’s ambition to bring STEM to life and demonstrate the many real and varied careers that are available in these industries is echoed throughout this exhibition. It provides a valuable opportunity for the sector to engage directly with young people, employers, schools and colleges to ensure they have the choices and opportunities to fulfil their career potential.”

It is estimated that over 1.8 million people will visit the exhibition during its five-year life span. Glasgow Science Centre will continue its fundraising efforts so it can create more experiences, programmes and online resources to engage as many people as possible with the future energy debate.

Other partners had the following comments:

Michelle Hynd, SSE director of corporate infrastructure and development said:
“We’re delighted to be supporting such an important exhibit at the Glasgow Science Centre. Not only SSE, but the energy industry as a whole recognises the value of recruiting future talent. We are confident that the £4m investment we recently announced in our new visitor centre over Pitlochry Dam and the Glasgow Science Centre’s Powering the Future exhibit will help inspire future generations.”

Steve Holliday, chief executive National Grid said;
“I firmly believe our continued success as a company - and as a society – depends on the bright, inquisitive minds of the engineers, scientists and technicians of tomorrow. This is why we’re proud to team up with the Glasgow Science Centre to show the next generation that we have great expectations! Powering the Future brings to life the critical challenges related to future energy supply, and how, through shattering stereotypes, we can unlock hidden talent to transform our industry and our world.”

Glasgow Science Centre has secured £1.5m funding to deliver one of the most ambitious exhibitions ever mounted in the UK on the topic of energy use.

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