New district energy centre launched in north east

A ground-breaking district energy centre, launched in Gateshead, is set to cut energy bills and carbon emissions for homes and businesses.

The first of its kind and scale in the north east, the Centre houses a small but highly-efficient power station which will generate and supply low-carbon energy for thousands of homes and businesses through a new underground network of high voltage ‘private-wire’ electricity cables.

The development is capable of capturing up to 85 per cent of the waste heat created during the energy generation process, which will then be fed directly to public buildings, businesses and people’s homes. It is hoped that the energy centre and network will be able to meet all the energy needs of future developments planned for Gateshead town centre.

Leader of Gateshead Council, Martin Gannon, believes that the centre is an important project which will give the area “a real cutting edge.” Jesse Norman MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Industry and Energy, who recently visited the facility, believes that the project is a great example of the kind of local initiatives the Government’s new Industrial Strategy is looking to support.

Gateshead District Energy Centre uses a pair of 2MW gas-powered combined heat and power (CHP) plants to generate enough electricity to power 5,000 homes, with the waste heat from the engines being recovered to provide hot water for heating.

The project has been funded by Gateshead Council, without use of grants or subsidies, and is expected to be fully self-financing, with construction and operating costs recouped over the life of the project by energy sales both locally and to the National Grid.

The council recently partnered the scheme with demand-response company Flexitricity in a £1m 15-year deal to supply electricity to the National Grid during peaks and troughs in national electricity demand.

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