19 December 2018 | Prithvi Pandya
Energy firm Engie has signed a 40-year partnership with Newcastle City Council worth £20 million to develop low-carbon district energy.
Engie will provide design, build, operation and maintenance of district energy schemes as well as contributions to funding and a project development role in partnership with NCC.
The initial district energy scheme to be delivered under the partnership is at the Newcastle Helix urban regeneration scheme. It is a large-scale, city-centre development by Newcastle City Council, Newcastle University and Legal & General.
Using a low-carbon and cost-effective energy solution, applying natural gas-fired CHP (combined heat and power), the energy system will provide all businesses and homes on the landmark scheme with affordable heat via a network of pipes. Additionally, chilled water and a private wire electricity network will provide cooling and electricity to the non-residential customers.
Councillor Ged Bell, Newcastle City Council's cabinet member for employment, said: "This unique venture is an incredibly exciting opportunity that will provide affordable and sustainable heating solutions advantageous to both local businesses and residents.
"It also supports our ambitions to be a green and sustainable city. So, it is very fitting that the first one of these schemes is on Newcastle Helix, one of the largest regeneration sites of its kind in the UK that is leading the way in smart and sustainable technologies".
It has been calculated that over the 40-year contract period, Engie's energy centre will provide a carbon emission saving of 30,650 tonnes.
As well as delivering the energy centre, the firm will also provide the partnership with a 40-year contract covering the comprehensive provision of maintenance, life cycle replacement and metering and billing services. Accordingly, all homes and businesses on the development will benefit from a personalised provider based on their doorstep who is committed to cost-savings and a low carbon footprint.
The site was formerly a Scottish and Newcastle Brewery. It spans 24 acres and is being regenerated to create a major hub for scientific research and technology which, once complete, will create at least 450 homes, half-a-million square feet of university, laboratory and office space - providing 4,000 new jobs in the region.
The energy centre is expected to be operational from August 2019.