Plans being drawn up for Net Zero Energy Centre

Work is underway to design a Net Zero building in South Tyneside which will be used to showcase the regions expertise in low carbon energy.

The £2.8m Northern Renewable Energy Centre of Excellence (NRECE) would allow residents to access training and skills provision around designing, implementing and operating energy networks as well as helping workers to reskill into green industries.

South Tyneside Council successfully bid for funding from the North East Local Enterprise Partnership’s Project Development Accelerator Fund, and is now developing designs and a business case as well as carrying out site investigation works.

The project would be part of the Holborn Renewable Energy Network in South Shields and would have a 7km-long green eco walk linking it to the borough’s district heating schemes at Hebburn and Jarrow.

The 2,368 sq ft glass walled building would provide a venue for educational visits and skills training and research, and could create 40 permanent jobs.

Cllr Tracey Dixon, leader of South Tyneside Council, said: “South Tyneside is ideally placed to develop this incredibly exciting project. We have three highly-innovative renewable energy schemes underway in the Borough, one of which is the first of its kind in the country.

“This centre would reinforce the region’s position at the forefront of pioneering minewater and river source technologies.”

The project is being developed in collaboration with South Tyneside College, Durham and Northumbria Universities and the UK Coal Authority.

The Holborn Renewable Energy Network will use a combination of technologies, harnessing heat from abandoned flooded mines, as well as from the River Tyne and is expected to save 2,436 tonnes of carbon a year.

Helen Golightly, chief executive at the North East Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “Our region is leading some of the most innovative and pioneering projects to advance new low and no carbon energy solutions.

“South Tyneside is already at the forefront of the green industrial revolution in the UK, and the creation of the Northern Renewable Energy Centre of Excellence in the borough would highlight the skills, expertise and talent available here in the North East.”