Geothermal energy will be drawn from mines in the former Hebburn Colliery to heat council-owned buildings in the town.
Jane Imrie

Coal mines to be transformed into multi-million pound renewable energy system

Abandoned coal mines in South Tyneside are set to become an integral part of a new multi-million pound renewable energy project.

Geothermal energy will be drawn from mines in the former Hebburn Colliery to heat council-owned buildings in the town as part of a £7m scheme developed in collaboration with the Coal Authority and Durham University.

The project will see water extracted from the flooded mines by drilling vertical boreholes 300-400m underground, before being compressed to a much higher temperature and then distributed to the heat network.

The project, which has secured preliminary approval for £3.5m funding from the European Regional Development Fund, is set to take a step forward next week with the expected appointment of a main scheme designer by South Tyneside Council.

Cllr Joan Atkinson, lead member for area management and community safety, commented: “This is a highly innovative scheme, which will be one of the first council minewater district heating systems in the UK.

“It is expected to deliver a reduction of 319 tonnes of carbon emissions a year, which will make it a key component in our drive to make the council carbon neutral by 2030.

“This is an exciting project which will make a significant contribution to our ambition for carbon neutrality and a greener, more sustainable borough.”

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