The official launch event, which took place on 15 January, forms part of a wider £20m low carbon scheme within the city. The facility, on the Newcastle Helix site, will use a 5km network of underground pipes to supply heating and cooling to 10 buildings and up to 450 homes on site.
Using heat and power created through low carbon energy solutions, including natural gas fired CHP (Combined Heat and Power), the centre also generates chilled water and cooling facilities and electricity to neighbouring buildings.
It’s hoped the centre will be the first of many energy projects resulting from the Regenerate Newcastle Partnership; a joint venture between ENGIE and Newcastle City Council, to develop and operate district energy schemes within the city over a 40-year term.
Nicola Lovett, CEO of ENGIE UK and Ireland, says: “We are delighted to be marking the completion of the new Helix Energy Centre, the first of what we hope will be many innovative low carbon energy projects delivered by our long-term partnership with Newcastle City Council.
“With local authorities playing an increasingly key role in the drive to reduce the UK’s carbon emissions, ENGIE is committed to using its expertise to support Newcastle with its climate goals and on its journey to becoming a zero-carbon city by 2030.”
Leader of Newcastle City Council, Cllr Nick Forbes, adds: “The opening of the District Energy Centre is a significant boost to our climate change credentials and will provide affordable and sustainable heating to residents and cutting-edge businesses, which are bringing high quality jobs to the city.”
The centre has been made possible with funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Government’s Local Growth Deal through the North East Local Enterprise Partnership.
In other news, ENGIE has also joined the new £475 million Midland Metropolitan Hospital project in Smethwick in the West Midlands.
Work on the hospital, which will be run by Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust, will now re-commence following a two year delays due to the collapse of Carillion. The project is set to be completed by Balfour Beatty.
Mark Harris, divisional managing director for ENGIE UK & Ireland, says that the firm is pleased to be working alongside the trust to bring the new site online over the next two years, before becoming a strategic partner at the hospital.
“ENGIE has long-term experience in successfully providing facilities management services to a wide range of healthcare establishments across the UK, including primary care facilities and major acute hospitals,” he adds. “We look forward to working closely with the trust and serving the local community.”
Trust chief executive Toby Lewis adds: “ENGIE is a major energy provider with a focus on sustainability. We know that our future will move towards a zero-carbon position and we want to be at the forefront of that movement. ENGIE provide facility management services in over 30 hospitals across the NHS and we look forward to working successfully together.”