Ryan White from the Department for the Economy reflects on the opening of the GeoEnergy Discovery Centre
An important focus of the GeoEnergy NI project is to help inform the public about the potential for geothermal energy in Northern Ireland. We are incredibly proud to support people on this journey of discovery about the huge potential for geothermal energy here through the launch of our interactive mobile visitor centre.
The GeoEnergy Discovery Centre will initially be located beside the Mo Mowlam Play Park on the Stormont Estate, Belfast. It was officially unveiled in early October at the annual ‘Science and Stormont’ event organised by the Royal Society of Chemistry, in cooperation with the local professional science, technology, engineering and maths community. At this event, we gave delegates a sneak peek of the centre and the range of interactive technologies on offer such as Virtual Reality (VR) software. Thank you to everyone who took the time to stop by!
Putting the centre to its ultimate test, we also invited along a host of honest critics to assess the experience – local primary school children! We were delighted to welcome pupils from eco-schools Holy Trinity, Belfast and Dundonald Primary School as VIPs to the launch event. Along with the VR headset experience, the students got to handle rocks from below the Earth’s surface, take part in geological experiments and complete activity books.
When asked by the BBC NI News team to say a few words about what they learnt, Millie from Dundonald Primary School said “geothermal comes from inside the Earth but is good for the Earth”, whilst Jayden from Holy Trinity summed up the project’s end goal saying “GeoEnergy will help take water from underground to heat our homes and buildings.” We couldn’t have said it better ourselves!
The centre itself, from the wall graphics and design to video content and exhibit items, is designed to help schools, families, businesses and community groups discover the power of geothermal energy. Now opened to the public including and for school and group bookings, the centre is staffed by a team of knowledgeable Geothermal Ambassadors. Visitors can expect to come away appreciating the huge potential of geothermal as a sustainable energy source to heat and cool homes and buildings as well as supporting our industrial and farming sectors.
While it was great to have a successful launch day, we’re only just heating up! Over the autumn months, we look forward to welcoming pre-booked groups to the centre as well as visitors during our public open sessions. Next year the plan is to take the centre to key events and locations across Northern Ireland, so watch this space and keep up to date by following our social media channels!
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