Desco were successfully appointed as lead consultant to deliver the Viking Energy Network Project in Jarrow, following a competitive tendering exercise through the NEPO 212 Framework Lot 8 for Mechanical and Electrical Design services back in April 2019. Since then the team has been acting as Principal designer, leading on the technoeconomic modelling and feasibility to begin with then designing the scheme up to RIBA Stage 4a. With the recent appointment of Colloide as the main contractor, the scheme will now move forward into construction in Spring 2021.
About the project
The energy centre and associated district heating and power network is a UK-first project and will provide low-cost, low-carbon energy direct to fourteen connected buildings via a dedicated network of pipelines and power cables, with the allowance of future expansion. The network will be known as the Viking Energy Network Jarrow (VENJ).
The new Energy Centre serving the network will be built on an existing council owned brownfield site at Jarrow Staithes on the south bank of the River Tyne on the outskirts of Jarrow. The energy centre serving the proposed energy network project will extract water locally from the River Tyne and use Water Source Heat Pump (WSHP) technology to feed a district energy network.
The WSHP will be supplemented by a gas fired combined heat & power (CHP). A locally installed PV farm on the energy centre site will also contribute to the electricity supply. Surplus electricity generated by the CHP and the PV will be stored in this 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 periods for domestic hot water generation for the connected network buildings.
The VENJ Energy Centre will generate and supply electricity directly over dedicated high voltage cabling to local substations with a local low voltage final connection into the council buildings. Heat generated by the WSHP and CHP will be delivered directly to buildings via an underground district heating network of pre-insulated flow and return pipework.
The private wire network will have a connection to the local network from the current distribution network operator which will assist in the event of any abnormal short-term peak loads being greater than that available through local generation and storage.
Future phases could also see heat and power supplied to many other homes, offices, shops and hotels across the town centre, with future developments in Jarrow. The scheme is subject to planning permission.
The project has been driven by the council’s desire to reduce Jarrow’s carbon footprint, to reduce energy costs for 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 to becoming carbon neutral by 2030.