Viking Energy Network Jarrow

Desco designed the mechanical and electrical services for the Viking Energy Network Project in Jarrow (VENJ), following a competitive tendering exercise through the NEPO 212 Framework Lot 8 for Mechanical and Electrical Design services.

Desco acted as principal designer, leading on the technoeconomic modelling, feasibility, and detailed design for the innovative project up to RIBA Stage 4a. The network began operating in October 2023 and provides low-cost, low-carbon energy directly to fourteen connected buildings.

The Energy Centre, built on a brownfield site owned by the council at Jarrow Staithes on the south bank of the River Tyne, extracts water from the River Tyne and uses Water Source Heat Pump (WSHP) technology to feed a district energy network. The energy replaces the gas heating used to heat council-owned buildings, including Jarrow Focus Leisure Centre, three residential tower blocks, Jarrow Business Centre, and Jarrow Town Hall.

The VENJ Energy Centre generates and supplies energy to council buildings through a network of pipes from the energy centre. Energy comes from a combination of heat generated by the WSHP, a gas-fired combined heat & power (CHP), solar power and a private wire electrical network with storage battery, providing a back up source if the system fails.

Power is delivered directly to buildings via an underground district heating network of pre-insulated flow and return pipework.

The CHP system supplements the WSHP and a locally installed photovoltaic (PV) farm on the energy centre site also contributes to the electricity supply. Any surplus electricity generated by the CHP and the PV is stored in a storage battery for later release to the private network. The proposed operational strategy utilising the electrical generation and battery storage will mean that the WSHP will run on a carbon neutral basis for much of the summer for domestic hot water generation for the connected network buildings.

Future phases could see more sites  connected to the network including more homes, offices, shops, and hotels, as well as any future developments. The project has been driven by the council’s desire to reduce Jarrow’s carbon footprint, to reduce energy costs for the council and to deliver affordable heat and power to its residents. With an estimated carbon saving of 1,035 tonnes per annum, the scheme will make a significant contribution to South Tyneside Council’s commitment of becoming carbon neutral by 2030.


Viking Energy Network Jarrow





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