Ørsted, the global leader in offshore wind, has announced a £100,000 regional investment as a founding partner in the Eureka! Mersey project to develop a world-class science and discovery centre in the Wirral.
At a crucial time for regional investment, the new partnership aims to continue the regeneration of the Wirral waterfront and address a potential “skills gap” by boosting engagement in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) subjects.
The visitor attraction, situated just two minutes’ walk from Ørsted’s King’s Wharf Operations & Maintenance base, will address themes closely aligned with the Liverpool City region’s Local Industrial Strategy, such as Low Carbon and Innovation. It also strongly aligns with the region’s “Build Back Better” principles to economic recovery aimed at reshaping the local economy and society in a way that’s greener and more inclusive.
By making STEM subjects exciting and accessible, Ørsted & Eureka! hope to boost aspiration in science-based careers, such as offshore wind. To ensure the highest impact among the target audience (six to 14-year-olds), the centre’s content is being designed in close collaboration with local schools and industry.
Over the past two years, Ørsted has worked closely with the Eureka team and pupils at The Mosslands School, Wallasey to co-create wind-energy themed content.
Turbine Technicians will tell the story of how skilled technicians ensure that Ørsted’s offshore wind turbines keep working well. The immersive and interactive experience will focus on how technicians repair turbines, involving choosing the right person and right equipment for the task.
‘On-shore’ children will be challenged to detect and diagnose faults using a diagram of the turbines and then to choose the equipment needed for the job, whilst keeping a check on the weather conditions. Through a digital AV experience, they will journey across to the Turbine and engage with mechanical challenges to fix the diagnosed issues. Their reward for a job well done will be a beautiful view out to sea to catch the sunset.
Duncan Clark, Head of Region UK at Ørsted, said, “Offshore wind has already become a key figure on the Wirral waterfront and the region has established a well-deserved reputation as a centre of excellence for clean energy. We’re very proud to have been operating in the North West for more than 10 years and it’s our aim to create a lasting positive impact.
“Especially now, projects with real purpose, such as Eureka Mersey, are part of what the region needs. By boosting engagement with STEM subjects and aspiration in science-based careers, we can open up the world of future possibilities to future generations of scientists & engineers across the region.”
Leigh-Anne Stradeski, Eureka! Chief Executive, said, “We are absolutely delighted that Ørsted has become a corporate Founding Partner of Eureka! Mersey. They have been supportive from the very outset of our project, participating actively in our co-creation process which engages children and young people with industry partners to help shape the content that will characterise the Eureka! Mersey experience. This generous financial support brings us even closer to our total project target of £11.75M. Equally important, it means we will be able to work with the Ørsted team in the coming years to spark interest and enthusiasm in STEM subjects and careers to support the growth and development of the Liverpool City Region and more broadly, a sustainable future for all of us.”
Councillor Tony Jones, Wirral Council Cabinet Member Regeneration and Growth said, “It’s great to see an important local employer such as Ørsted playing such a key role in supporting what I know will be a fantastic attraction. When it opens Eureka Mersey will bring visitors to Wirral but most importantly it will help inspire young people’s interest in STEM subjects which will be vital for our region’s economy in the years ahead. This partnership between Eureka! Mersey and Ørsted will support the council’s wide-ranging response to our environment and climate emergency declaration last year.”
The science and discovery centre, which is expected to open in 2022, is being developed by Eureka! in partnership with Merseytravel, the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority and Wirral Council.
Ørsted’s multi-million pound facility at Kings Wharf opened in 2017, and employs 45 full-time staff, overseeing operations of two offshore wind farms, Burbo Bank and Burbo Bank Extension, off the Wirral coast.
During the construction of Kings Wharf, the area in front of the facility was also restored, including new benches and granite paving, as part of Ørsted’s commitments to the local community.