Holborn Renewable Energy Network

Local Gov't • South Tyneside

Holborn Renewable Energy Network (HREN) is aiming to decarbonise South Tyneside Council's buildings by 2030.

  • Holborn Renewable Energy Network (HREN)
  • South Shields.

South Tyneside Council's story

The Holborn Renewable Energy Network (HREN) provides a unique opportunity to adopt the latest, most innovative renewable technologies, tailor-made for South Shields.

South Tyneside Council (STC) and South Tyneside Homes (STH) combined carbon emissions estimate is 11,200 tonnes p.a. The HREN carbon emissions saving 2,436 tonnes p.a. represents an estimated reduction of 22%.

The Heat Network Delivery Unit (HNDU) is part of and funded by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). It was set up to provide support to Local Authorities in developing heat networks projects. Initial discussions with indicate that, HREN is innovative and unique, as such it has a very good case to obtain a grant for 67% of the total cost.

HREN total cost £23.7m with £15.9m (67%) HNDU contribution and STC to contribute £7.8m, as in the Capital bid submitted as part of 2021 MTFP. The HNDU contribution may increase evidence of innovation, and increased carbon savings.

Net saving is expected to be £827k per annum. With the minimum grant award of 67% from HNDU, payback based on STC's contribution will be 9.5 years.

The scheme is expected to generate 10GWh of heat and 2.5GWh of electricity annually, which is equivalent to 10 times the annual consumption of the Town Hall (SSTH).

Proposed connections to STC buildings: Haven Point Leisure Centre; The Word Library; South Shields Town Hall; Marine Park Primary School; Westoe Crown School; Ocean Road Community Association; South Shields Business Works; One Trinity Green Business Centre; Market Place Offices; Laygate Family Centre.

Proposed connections to external partners: Customs House Theatre & Cinema; BT Building Offices; Police Station; Magistrates Court.

The project is set for completion in December 2023.

Useful learnings from South Tyneside Council

The initial feasibility study was carried out by GeoEnergy Durham, in co-operation with the Coal Authority in 2019. With the inspiration coming from the fact that a good part there is a readily available store of heat within the flooded mine workings below the borough of South Tyneside. The mine working offered a good sustainable source of warm mine water, that could be extracted recovered, and run through a ground source heat pump to increase the temperature of the water, and run it over a heat exchanger, and then distributed by a heat network. The scheme also intends to supplement the mine water with photo-voltaic cells and a waste wood gasification plant, to provide a balance use of technologies and heat sources that will feed the Energy Centre and network.

South Tyneside has worked closely with GeoEnergy Durham, FWS Consultants, Coal Authority, and Buro Happold.

The challenges for the scheme are the geology and hitting the target mine workings and finding the mine water and at the right temperature.

Our metrics

CEEQUAL Assessment rating of Good, with an aspiration to achieve a rating of Very Good.
Number of users.
Reduction in carbon emissions.

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South Tyneside

Response to climate crisis

Mitigation & Adaptation




Local Gov't, 250 to 10,000 people

Shared by

North East and Yorkshire Net Zero Hub

Updated Feb, 2024

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