Designs unveiled for ambitious renewable energy centre in South Shields, complete with visitor viewing platform and living roof

These are the impressive designs for a futuristic landmark building providing green energy to buildings in South Tyneside.

Proposals are in for the Northern Renewable Energy Centre of Excellence (NRECE) which, if granted planning permission, would be a flagship venue highlighting the region’s skills and expertise in low carbon energy.

It would form part of the Holborn Renewable Energy Network in South Shields.

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After a successful bid by South Tyneside Council to the North East Local Enterprise Partnership’s Project Development Accelerator Fund, FaulknerBrowns architects have been developing the designs.

Images released by South Tyneside Council showing how the Northern Renewable Energy Centre of Excellence (NRECE) could look.

Council chiefs say 220-sqm triangular building would provide a venue for educational visits, skills training and research, and become a major tourism attraction.

The designs show the building set over two levels, with the lower level housing the energy centre for the heat network and the Centre of Excellence at a higher level.

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Visitors would have direct views from the main double-height atrium into the energy centre and would be able to observe the plant, as well as seeing the boreholes, thermal stores, the river water pump area and PV solar panels from the roof terrace.

The visitor experience would include interactive displays as well as opportunities for teaching and learning, say the team behind the project.

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Images released by South Tyneside Council showing how the Northern Renewable Energy Centre of Excellence (NRECE) could look.

Cllr Margaret Meling, Lead Member for Economic Growth, Skills and Climate Change, said: “These striking images and video show what promises to be an iconic building with a real visual impact.

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“South Tyneside is ideally placed to develop this incredibly exciting project, with three renewable energy schemes underway in the borough, one of which is the first of its kind in the country.

“This centre would reinforce South Tyneside’s position at the forefront of pioneering technologies and underline our commitment to sustainability.

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“It would be a key venue for skills development, particularly STEM skills, right from primary through to higher education, allowing students to observe the energy network working in practice and inspiring them about careers in the green economy.”

Images released by South Tyneside Council showing how the Northern Renewable Energy Centre of Excellence (NRECE) could look.
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The venue, and which forms part of the council’s £20million South Shields bid to the Levelling Up Fund, will also feature a ‘green’ roof planted with vegetation and a flue stack

It would allow residents to access training and skills provision around designing, implementing and operating energy networks and, and in particular, help older workers to reskill into green industries.

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Cllr Tracey Dixon, Leader of South Tyneside Council, said: “This centre is a key component of our three-part Levelling Up bid, which aims to showcase our expertise, boost footfall and visitor numbers and ensure residents have access to the skills and training to provide a clear pipeline for new green jobs.”

Cllr Dixon said it is envisaged the centre would create 47 temporary construction and design roles, in addition to around 40 permanent jobs, including academics, operation and maintenance technicians and front of house staff.

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Images released by South Tyneside Council showing how the Northern Renewable Energy Centre of Excellence (NRECE) could look.

The Holborn Renewable Energy Network will use a combination of technologies, harnessing heat from abandoned flooded mines, as well as from the River Tyne and is expected to save 4,800 tonnes of carbon a year.

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The project is being developed in collaboration with South Tyneside College, Durham, Newcastle and Northumbria Universities and the UK Coal Authority.