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Today Triple Point Heat Networks Investment Management in partnership with the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has announced the outcome of funding round three of the Heat Networks Investment Project (HNIP). Four projects have been awarded a little under £25 million of funding, bringing the total to 11 successful schemes since the programme launched for applications. The total funded network trench length has now grown to 41.5km.

Among the successful applicants was the Metropolitan Borough of Gateshead Council who plan to use geothermal energy from an operational Mine Water Treatment Scheme to deliver heat to homes and buildings via the Gateshead District Energy Scheme extension.

Meeting the UK’s net zero carbon target requires collective action and will inevitably involve the use of innovative, low carbon solutions combined with well-established renewable technologies. Emissions from heat are the single biggest contributor to UK emissions, with almost 40% of our emissions linked to space, process or hot water heating. Decarbonising this sector is a significant challenge and a range of technology solutions will be needed to lower emissions from our buildings.

Mine energy has the potential to have a zero carbon footprint and with 25% of UK homes and businesses sited on former coalfields it is expected that mine water energy could be a strategically important energy source for future district heating schemes. The water in the mines is heated by geological processes providing a stable, perpetually renewing, zero-carbon heat resource that can be transferred to a pipe network using a heat exchanger and distributed to nearby homes and businesses. The Coal Authority estimates there could be 2.2 million GWh of energy within the mine workings, enough to heat 180 million homes.

Gateshead Council has received £5.9 million of funding for the commercialisation and construction of the first major, strategic eastward expansion of the heat network within the Gateshead District Energy Scheme. This innovative project delivers significant decarbonisation through the installation of a 6MW mine water source heat pump, which extracts the heat stored in abandoned mine workings – this is the first mine water heating project to receive HNIP funding. Mine heat is a renewable energy source that is constantly replenished from the earth’s geothermal processes. As such, the 5 buildings and up to 1,250 new homes to be connected to the Gateshead District Energy Scheme will receive a sustainable supply of affordable low carbon heat.

Coun John McElroy, Gateshead Council Cabinet member with responsibility for energy, said:

“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 it means we can now begin to bring it to fruition.

“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.”  

The Heat Networks Investment Project recognises the strategic worth of technologies and processes that are new, or new to the UK market. The assessment criteria consider the carbon savings associated with the projects over the first 15 years and also analyses the future decarbonisation and expansion potential of the schemes. This ensures that the networks supported by HNIP are futureproofed and deliver low carbon heat to homes, businesses and public sector buildings across England and Wales. The scheme supports innovative solutions such as mine water heating to support the UK’s transition to a net zero economy and build supply chain capacity and expertise.

Ken Hunnisett, Project Director at Triple Point Heat Networks Investment Management said:

Ken Hunnisett, Project Director at Triple Point Heat Networks

“Mine energy would seem to be ideally suited to district heating. At a time when we have great cause to reflect on our domestic resilience, the ability of our coalfields to provide clean, affordable, perpetually renewing heat should be a source of great national pride. The Gateshead network alone will deliver 1,300 tones CO2 savings per year over the first 15 years. Interest in mine water energy as a heat source for district heating networks in England and Wales is strong and growing with other projects committed to using this invaluable natural resource already in our pipeline.

In the days and weeks to come, we anticipate announcing details of the other projects who were successful in Round 3 including information on another exciting HNIP first.

We announced the successful award of funding to 7 projects earlier this year. We were also delighted to confirm the transfer of funds to these projects by the end of the 2019/20 financial year. This is our first funding award announcement this financial year and we are hoping to continue to update the market as awards are made over the coming months.

Applications received today would be considered for funding in the 6th quarterly competition, the half-way point for the Heat Network Investment Project. Grant and loan funding is still available for good quality, deliverable projects but given the time-limited nature of the scheme, I’d urge prospective applicants to approach us as early as possible. Our Business Development Managers and the wider team are available now to help projects throughout their application process.”

Below is a summary of the Gateshead District Energy Scheme.

Funding award: £5,909,000 commercialisation and construction grant

An HNIP grant will fund the commercialisation and construction of the first major, strategic eastward expansion of the heat network within the Gateshead District Energy Scheme. This will enable the scheme to supply lower cost, lower carbon heat to an additional 12 GWh of heat load by 2030 represented by four Council buildings, a care home and, in time, up to 1250 new private homes within the Exemplar Neighbourhood, Gateshead’s largest new-build housing development site. Significant decarbonisation is achieved by the installation of a 6MW mine water source heat pump, to provide geothermal heat into the network, displacing the gas boiler generated heat, as well as reducing the operating hours of the existing 4MW gas CHP engines.

Notes to editors:

For more information about Triple Point Heat Networks Investment Management and to find out how to apply for HNIP funding visit: www.tp-heatnetworks.org.

A high level summary of HNIP https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/heat-networks-investment-project-hnip-scheme-overview

Heat Networks Pipeline: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/885342/Heat_Networks_Project_Pipeline_January_to_March_2020.pdf

For further information about the scheme and to join the HNIP mailing list to receive updates, please contact us:  enquiries@tp-heatnetworks.org.

For all media enquiries, please contact: comms.ecuity@tp-heatnetworks.org.

 

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