An innovative renewable energy scheme using the River Tyne to help heat council-owned buildings in Jarrow, South Tyneside, has received the green light from the town council.
The district heating system, which claims to be the first of its kind in the country, would work by harnessing low-grade heat from the river and exporting it to 11 buildings ranging from high-rise flats and schools to sheltered accommodation.
The multi-million-pound energy network would combine a river source heat pump, a combined heat and power (CHP) back-up system, a 1MW solar farm and a private wire electrical network with storage battery.
The project is expected to slash annual carbon dioxide emissions by an estimated 1,475 tonnes and save around half a million pounds a year.
The project has attracted a £3.5 million European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) grant for its innovative approach.
Ed Malcolm, Lead Member for Resources and Innovation, said: “It makes sense to approve the early purchase of the water source heat pump and to enable the council to meet the timescales to benefit from the Renewable Heat Incentive.
“As it stands it will save around half a million pounds a year. If we meet the deadlines for the subsidy it could save up to £150,000 a year more over 20 years – that’s three million pounds.”