Cool planet visitor centre for Islandmagee?

An artisit's impression of the courtyard of the proposed Cool Planet Experience exhibition at Gaelectric's proposed CAES facility in Islandmagee. INLT-49-703-con
An artisit's impression of the courtyard of the proposed Cool Planet Experience exhibition at Gaelectric's proposed CAES facility in Islandmagee. INLT-49-703-con

Gaelectric hopes to create a visitors’ centre hosting Ireland’s first climate change visitor experience as part of its proposed Islandmagee CAES facility.

Details of the ‘Cool Planet Experience’ exhibition were revealed as part of the further environmental information and amended application description which the company recently submitted to planners.

The visitors’ centre would be part of the company’s £300million CAES proposal to store energy in the form of compressed air in underground salt caverns, which would then be released when demand for power is high.

Environmentalists have raised concerns over the proposed impact of pumping brine, the plant’s waste by-product, on marine life.

Gaelectric has received permission from Crowley Carbon to host the “Cool Planet Experience,” described as “a permanent dynamic exhibition to engage the public and schools on the impact of climate change now and in the future.”

It adds: “Visitors will be faced with the huge challenges facing society – extreme weather patterns, food and water sustainability and impacts on human health.

“They will experience the new solutions and technologies that are being developed and will get to play their own part in looking at solutions and their personal carbon footprint and contributing to the conversation on climate change.”

The interactive exhibits, which would feature futuristic gadgets such as hololens headsets and animated projections, would be broken into eight themed zones.

As visitors enter, they would be greeted with an audiovisiual room showing lush vegetation, which would be replaced by chainsaws felling trees and uncomfortable heat followed by superstorms, heatwaves and eventual darkness.

Visitors would then hear voices and see images of people “amidst the wreckage of their lives.”

Other themed zones include ‘the disaster scenario’ on climate change and carbon emissions, and “the science of climate change” featuring futuristic media TV reports on a dystopian future.

Gaelectric’s proposal says that the experience would also highlight what could be done to stem climate change, with sections such as the “Forest of Hope,” which uses a Hololens headset to “take visitors on a virtual journey to the future, highlighting cool tech and innovation that will make it second nature to save the planet.”

In the last zone, visitors would be asked to “take control of their carbon footprint” and, after selecting lifestyle changes which would reduce their carbon emissions, would be presented with a “virtual pledge certificate showing their cumulative carbon footprint reduction percentage.”