With the declaration of a climate change emergency, councils across the country are taking steps to move towards a world that is safe and sustainable for all. Newcastle City Council has taken steps to ensure that they are focusing on what they can do to combat climate change. The council has built a state-of-the-art energy centre that will boost the city’s efforts to tackle climate change. This District Energy Centre will save 30,000 tonnes of carbon over the next 40 years (enough to fill Wembley Stadium 15 times). The opening of this centre comes after Newcastle City Council revealed it had slashed its carbon footprint by 13% by focusing on efficient heating and lighting in buildings and schools, the addition of solar panels on the Civic Centre and a car park, and is in the process of switching its fleet of vehicles to electric vehicles.
To decrease Newcastle’s carbon footprint, the new £20m facility uses a 5km network of underground pipes to supply heating and cooling to 10 buildings and up to 450 homes. With state-of-the-art technology installed that focuses on maximizing the centre’s ability to be eco-friendly, the energy centre generates not only cost effective energy, but also low carbon energy. In addition, a chilled water and private electricity network will provide cooling in warmer months and electricity to buildings that contain mainly offices and laboratories that employ hundreds of people.
For the construction of the centre, Newcastle City Council partnered with ENGIE, a global energy giant that employs over 17,000 staff members in the UK and Ireland. With this particular partnership, the hope is that this will be the first of many innovative energy projects that arise over the next 40 years. Along with ENGIE, the remaining contributions were allocated from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), and the Local Growth Fund. The total contribution amount is as follows:
£8.6 million from the Newcastle City Council (60% split with ENGIE)
£5.76 million for ENGIE (40% split with Newcastle City Council)
£3.6 million from ERDF
£2.8 million from Local Growth Fund
This new centre will compliment the other work that Newcastle City Council is doing to tackle climate change and is just one example of how councils can address the climate crisis.