Contractor appointed for groundbreaking renewable energy scheme to heat South Tyneside Council buildings

A contractor has been appointed to build a groundbreaking renewable energy scheme in South Tyneside which will slash annual carbon emissions by more than a thousand tonnes.

Design images of Jarrow Viking Energy Network
Design images of Jarrow Viking Energy Network

South Tyneside Council has awarded the contract to construct the Viking Energy Network at Jarrow to Colloide Engineering Systems Ltd.

The innovative scheme would work by harnessing low-grade heat from the River Tyne and exporting it to 11 council-owned buildings in Jarrow, including three residential tower blocks, two schools and sheltered housing.

According to the latest estimates, it would also slash annual carbon emissions by an estimated 1,035 tonnes and save around half a million pounds a year.

Cllr Joan Atkinson, lead member for area management and community safety with responsibility for climate change (right) and Mohsen Kohannejad, construction and technical services manager at the site of the forthcoming Viking Energy Network in Jarrow

The council’s ruling cabinet recently appointed Colloide following a competitive tender process.

Detailed designs have been drawn up for the system, which combines a river source heat pump, a combined heat and power back-up system, a 1 MW solar farm and a private wire electrical network with storage battery.

An energy centre serving the network will be built on an existing council-owned brownfield site at Jarrow Staithes on the south bank of the River Tyne.

Councillor Joan Atkinson, lead member for area management and community safety, with responsibility for climate change, welcomed progress on the scheme.

Design images of Jarrow Viking Energy Network

“The appointment of a contractor is an exciting milestone,” she said.

“We are delighted to welcome Colloide on board and look forward to working together on this highly innovative project.

“This district heating system will be the first of its kind in the country and we’re keen to drive it forward.

“The scheme has now been fully designed and a planning application has been submitted.”

Stacey Drennan, Colloide’s business development and bid manager, added: “We are delighted to be working alongside South Tyneside Council on this cutting-edge renewable energy scheme.

“As a company with a vision to improve our environment through sustainable engineering solutions, our involvement in this project is a welcome addition to our portfolio of innovative, low carbon projects.”

The project has already attracted a £3.5 million European Regional Development Fund grant and has been deemed viable following a feasibility study.

The plans will compliment the council’s drive to slash carbon emissions following a climate emergency declaration, including being carbon neutral by 2030.

Cllr Atkinson said the scheme would be a “key component” in achieving this goal.

She went on to say: “This project is unique in that it combines the three 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.”

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