Sustainable Heating Networks Take Off
November 1, 2022
Air Source & Ground Source Heat Pumps for Heating & Hot Water, District Heating
More than 1,000 homes in Gateshead could be powered partially by solar and heat pumps by the year 2030. Several government grants amounting to millions of pounds will ensure the success of the project. Also included in the sustainable heating plans are two schools and a number of public buildings. A six-megawatt mine water heat pump at the Shearlings Road depot, is close to completion by the Gateshead Energy Company [GEC] thanks to a £5.9m grant.
Three boreholes have also been created by the company in the Baltic Quarter in order to extract 140 litres of mine water. This can then be heated and converted into sustainable energy, reducing the area’s reliance on fossil fuels like gas by 20%. This figure could increase to 50% as more customers connect to heat networks like Gateshead Quays.
In addition, government grants of £3m have enabled the construction of two solar parks, one near to the Baltic and the other close to the Gateshead stadium. These are also approaching completion, and when combined and operational will generate 3.6 megawatts for use by public buildings.
After their success in these projects, GEC are hoping to expand their reach and extend these networks. They are looking at the Old Ford and Nest House estates which have 550 houses and two schools. A new proposed estate named Chandless will consist of 485 homes which could also be connected to the new energy network.
Unfortunately, as with many building projects, the current problems within the economy have had an effect on construction activity. Many schemes have had to be paused awaiting markets to settle and construction inflation to cease. Once this occurs the viability of the scheme can be reviewed, and heat networks could become a major factor in low rise social housing. Many believe that district heating represents an extremely effective path towards carbon neutral living.