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Multi-million pound energy scheme given green light

South Tyneside Council has today (Jan 20) announced the go-ahead for cutting-edge renewable energy plans set to save more than half a million pounds a year.

The proposed scheme would also slash carbon emissions, with an estimated 1,475 tonnes saved per year.

Plans include harnessing low-grade heat from the River Tyne and export it to 11 council-owned buildings in the area through a series of ducts and pipes, including high-rise flats, schools and sheltered accommodation schemes.

The multi-million-pound scheme has attracted a £3.5m ERDF (European Regional Development Fund) grant for its approach and has been deemed viable following a feasibility study.

Planning permission will be needed to secure the progress of the UK-first project, which includes a river source heat pump, a combined heat and power (CHP) back-up system, a 1 MW solar farm, and a private wire electrical network with storage battery.

The council declared a climate emergency earlier this year and pledged to take all necessary steps to make South Tyneside Council become carbon neutral by 2030.

Cllr Joan Atkinson, lead member for Area Management and Community Safety, said:

"This project is highly innovative and unique in that it combines all three of these renewable technologies, ensuring minimal use of fossil fuels.

"It should also run close to carbon neutral for much of the summer by using electricity generated by the solar farm to run the heat pump. Any surplus electricity would be used in council buildings.

"The district heating system would heat 11 buildings around the town, including three of our residential tower blocks and two schools.

"As well as saving hundreds of thousands of pounds in fuel costs per year, the scheme would cut our overall carbon emissions by 12.5 per cent per year.

"This would make it a key component in our drive to become carbon neutral by 2030."

Photo: Cllr Atkinson and Construction and Technical Services Manager Mohsen Kohannejad at the proposed location - South Tyneside Council 


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