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Viking Energy Network – South Tyneside Council

The Viking Energy Network is a proposed cutting-edge renewable energy scheme. It will extract heat from the River Tyne and export it to nine council-owned buildings in Jarrow, South Tyneside.

Benefits include:

  • cut carbon emissions by an estimated 1,035 tons per year 
  • save around half a million pounds in fuel costs per year

The multi-million-pound scheme will be the first of its kind in the UK. The project has attracted a £3.5m ERDF (European Regional Development Fund) grant for its innovative approach.

An energy centre will be built at Jarrow Staithes on the south bank of the River Tyne. This is a council-owned brownfield site.  This will extract heat from the river and export it to nine council-owned buildings in Jarrow. 

A water source heat pump will: 

  1. extract heat from the water
  2. compress it to increase the temperature
  3. then convert it into useful energy in the form of hot water, a network of insulated pipes will distribute the hot water to the various buildings.

A 1 megawatt solar farm (solar panels) will generate most of the electricity to power the heat pump. Any excess electricity from the solar farm will be used in council buildings.

The scheme should run close to carbon neutral for most of the summer.

A combined heat and power (CHP) back-up system will be used at times when the solar panels don’t generate enough electricity. The system will use heat that is created during the electricity generation process. This heat would otherwise be wasted.

Renewable technologies

The energy network will use three renewable technologies and keep use of fossil fuels to a minimum.

It would be the first to combine: 

  • a river source heat pump
  • a combined heat and power (CHP) back-up system
  • a 1 megawatt solar farm, and
  • a private wire electrical network with storage battery

South Tyneside Council has awarded the contract to construct the Viking Energy Network at Jarrow to Collide Engineering Systems Ltd. The scheme has now been fully designed and a planning application has been submitted.

The plans will compliment the council’s drive to slash carbon emissions following a climate emergency declaration, including being carbon neutral by 2030.

We encourage our partners and supporters to share their examples of good practice in tackling the climate emergency, reversing ecological collapse and delivering a just transition. NEECCo does not undertake to quality assure these case studies, and inclusion of a case study on this website does not imply endorsement of the project by NEECCo or by its partners.

Some case studies will feature organisations who are involved in fossil fuel industries, or who are open to challenge on other aspects of their performance in relation to our objectives. NEECCo recognises that if we are to reach our ambitious objectives, all organisations and individuals within the north east will need to adapt their behaviour and actions. We want our case studies to encourage this process. Our commitment to achieving a just transition from a carbon-based economy to a green economy requires us to encourage positive steps wherever they are to be found. 

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