Balfour Beatty, the international infrastructure group, has completed construction of one of the North East region’s first energy centres in Gateshead, which will generate and supply heat and power for homes, businesses and public buildings across Gateshead Town Centre.
The innovative scheme, called the Gateshead District Energy Centre, will provide locals with cheaper power and heat whilst also reducing demand on the national grid. Balfour Beatty constructed this complex project which artfully combines the challenges of carbon reduction and providing a commercially viable asset for Gateshead Council.
Local power production is one solution to lessen demand on the national grid whilst also decreasing energy costs, lowering carbon emissions and improving fuel security. The Energy Centre is twice as efficient as a conventional power station, and those efficiencies can be passed on to customers in lower costs, lower carbon energy usage, which is also lower carbon emissions.
It is easier to incorporate renewables into the local supply of power and the Gateshead design also future-proofs the power and heat supply of Gateshead with the Energy Centre designed to cope with the two-threefold increase in customer demand estimated to take place in the next five-ten years as the network expands.
Stephen Semple, Managing Director of the Balfour Beatty East Delivery Unit, said: “The Gateshead District Energy Centre will help power a step-change in how energy is created and distributed in the UK. This complex project required the integration of our construction; engineering and mechanical expertise to ensure it was built to meet the aspirations of all of the stakeholders by providing cheaper bills, lower carbon emissions, and reduced reliance on the national grid. Schemes like this are the gateway to the future of better and improved energy provision across the UK at a time when there is a need for increased energy security.”
Leader of Gateshead Council, Martin Gannon, said: “This is an important project which will give our area a real cutting edge. This project clearly demonstrates what a forward-thinking local authority can deliver, and the kind of resources we can marshal to deliver a complicated and innovative development such as this. I hope it shows that our commitment to local people and to local business remains undiminished by the financial hardships that we are suffering.”
The scheme will currently supply public buildings and homes managed by the Gateshead Housing Company.