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Major grant will connect Gateshead homes to mine water energy scheme

Exterior, Quarryfield road

Gateshead Council has been awarded a grant of almost £6m to double the size of its heat network in Gateshead Town Centre.  

The Heat Networks Investment Project grant of £5.9m will enable the council-owned Gateshead Energy Company to install 5.5km of new heating pipes to the east of Gateshead Town Centre. This will supply a further 12 Gigawatt hours of heat to up to 1,250 new private homes, a care home, Gateshead International Stadium and other Council-owned buildings in Felling. 

The funding will also help to install a 6MW water source heat pump, which will extract heat from the water in underground mine workings some 150m beneath Gateshead town centre. The Council is working closely with experts from the Coal Authority who manage all the disused mine workings under Gateshead to ensure the success of the project. 

The new homes to be connected to the proposed new District Energy Scheme extension are within the Exemplar Neighbourhood, Gateshead's largest new-build housing development site. This includes the former Freight Depot site of 300 homes next to the Felling bypass which is currently being assessed by Gateshead Council's planning department. 

Gateshead Energy Company, which is wholly owned by Gateshead Council, operates the Gateshead District Energy Scheme which already supplies hundreds of homes and businesses in Gateshead town centre with low cost, low carbon heat and power.  

Councillor John McElroy, Gateshead Council Cabinet member with responsibility for energy, says: "The council has always seen the development of low-carbon energy as key to meeting our climate change goals, but also in generating lower-cost energy for residents and organisations in Gateshead. This grant allows us to take this one step further.  

"This new proposal uses a source of energy that is already under our feet but which is virtually unused. Thanks to the continued development of heat pump technology, we are at last able to properly exploit this abundant untapped heat source and use it to warm thousands of homes and businesses in Gateshead.  

"We have been looking at this proposal for some considerable time, so the award of this grant is timely and its means we can now begin to bring it to fruition."  

He added: "There must be hundreds of miles of abandoned mine workings beneath Gateshead and many of them are flooded providing access to a sustainable source of heat, so there is huge scope for more initiatives like this.   

"It is particularly satisfying that we can exploit the forgotten remains of an old industry - and a heavily polluting one at that - to create clean green energy."  

Read more about Climate Change in Gateshead

District energy centre aerial view
The District Energy Centre, Quarryfield Road
Gateshead Energy Company provides homes, businesses and other organisations in Gateshead town centre with low cost, low carbon heat and power via an underground network of heat pipes and high voltage 'private-wire' electricity cables.   

Electricity is generated at a major gas-fired Combined Heat and Power (CHP) centre near Gateshead Quays, but most of the waste heat created during the generation process is also captured and then used to heat buildings connected to the network. The process is roughly twice as efficient as a conventional power station.  

The proposed mine water heat pump will enable the Gateshead Energy Company to reduce its reliance on combined heat and power, further reducing the council's carbon footprint.  

As well as hundreds of homes in Gateshead's town centre, major buildings such as Gateshead Civic Centre, Gateshead College, Sage Gateshead and BALTIC also receive heat and power via the network.  

Exterior, Quarryfield road
19 May 2020

Gateshead Council has been awarded a grant of almost £6m to double the size of its heat network in Gateshead Town Centre.  

The Heat Networks Investment Project grant of £5.9m will enable the council-owned Gateshead Energy Company to install 5.5km of new heating pipes to the east of Gateshead Town Centre. This will supply a further 12 Gigawatt hours of heat to up to 1,250 new private homes, a care home, Gateshead International Stadium and other Council-owned buildings in Felling. 

The funding will also help to install a 6MW water source heat pump, which will extract heat from the water in underground mine workings some 150m beneath Gateshead town centre. The Council is working closely with experts from the Coal Authority who manage all the disused mine workings under Gateshead to ensure the success of the project. 

The new homes to be connected to the proposed new District Energy Scheme extension are within the Exemplar Neighbourhood, Gateshead's largest new-build housing development site. This includes the former Freight Depot site of 300 homes next to the Felling bypass which is currently being assessed by Gateshead Council's planning department. 

Gateshead Energy Company, which is wholly owned by Gateshead Council, operates the Gateshead District Energy Scheme which already supplies hundreds of homes and businesses in Gateshead town centre with low cost, low carbon heat and power.  

Councillor John McElroy, Gateshead Council Cabinet member with responsibility for energy, says: "The council has always seen the development of low-carbon energy as key to meeting our climate change goals, but also in generating lower-cost energy for residents and organisations in Gateshead. This grant allows us to take this one step further.  

"This new proposal uses a source of energy that is already under our feet but which is virtually unused. Thanks to the continued development of heat pump technology, we are at last able to properly exploit this abundant untapped heat source and use it to warm thousands of homes and businesses in Gateshead.  

"We have been looking at this proposal for some considerable time, so the award of this grant is timely and its means we can now begin to bring it to fruition."  

He added: "There must be hundreds of miles of abandoned mine workings beneath Gateshead and many of them are flooded providing access to a sustainable source of heat, so there is huge scope for more initiatives like this.   

"It is particularly satisfying that we can exploit the forgotten remains of an old industry - and a heavily polluting one at that - to create clean green energy."  

Read more about Climate Change in Gateshead

District energy centre aerial view
The District Energy Centre, Quarryfield Road
Gateshead Energy Company provides homes, businesses and other organisations in Gateshead town centre with low cost, low carbon heat and power via an underground network of heat pipes and high voltage 'private-wire' electricity cables.   

Electricity is generated at a major gas-fired Combined Heat and Power (CHP) centre near Gateshead Quays, but most of the waste heat created during the generation process is also captured and then used to heat buildings connected to the network. The process is roughly twice as efficient as a conventional power station.  

The proposed mine water heat pump will enable the Gateshead Energy Company to reduce its reliance on combined heat and power, further reducing the council's carbon footprint.  

As well as hundreds of homes in Gateshead's town centre, major buildings such as Gateshead Civic Centre, Gateshead College, Sage Gateshead and BALTIC also receive heat and power via the network.  

More Gateshead news

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