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.
Councillor Joan Atkinson, lead member for area management and community safety, commented on the project: “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.”