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Workington,
Cumbria,
CA14 3YJ

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£225,000 funding boost for low carbon heating in West Cumbria

1 April 2014

THE potential for cheaper energy and lower carbon emissions for home owners and businesses in West Cumbria has moved a step closer following a £225,000 funding award from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).

In a bid led by economic development organisation Britain’s Energy Coast (BEC), Copeland Borough Council has been awarded £123,470 and Allerdale Borough Council £101,000 to develop a number of low carbon heat network propositions for investors and energy companies to take forward.

In Copeland the funding will be used to explore the potential to extract heat from water and gas in disused mines in the Kells area, while  District Heating Schemes using locally-sourced biomass and geothermal heat extraction will be considered for  Sandwith, Whitehaven town centre, Hensingham and Westlakes Science & Technology Park in Moor Row.   Meanwhile, in Allerdale the focus will be on developing a District Heating Scheme using excess heat from industry in North Workington to serve local homes, many of which are in fuel poverty.

The projects stem from the West Cumbria Energy Compass, a report commissioned by BEC to explore the potential for viable energy systems for West Cumbria, based on internationally proven technologies and the use of locally available resources.

Lee Carr,Low Carbon Energy Development Manager at BEC, said: “This funding award is a major step in bringing innovative heat networks to West Cumbria and the potential for cheaper, low carbon and locally-produced energy for hundreds if not thousands of homeowners and businesses. It marks the culmination of a lot of hard work stemming from the publication of BEC’s Energy Compass strategy through to the writing of this successful bid. The challenge will now be to develop commercially attractive projects for investors to take forward.”

Cllr George Clements, Copeland Borough Council’s portfolio holder for community planning, said: “This is a great example of partnership working with Britain’s Energy Coast to secure Government funding. It will explore projects which could help households in parts of the borough where we know the cost of energy is a huge problem.  The energy networks to be studied include looking at taking heat from old mine workings - so today’s residents would be benefitting from the labours of those who spent their working lives in Whitehaven’s pits. We are looking forward to the research beginning and seeing the findings.”

Councillor Mark Fryer, Allerdale Borough Council’s Executive Member for Economic Growth, said: “The announcement of this funding is not only great news for us as a local authority and for Allerdale district, but for West Cumbria as a whole. We already have a world-class reputation for the scientific and engineering expertise located here and, if these innovative projects come to fruition, that reputation will be strengthened.

“In north Workington, which is the area this Government-funded feasibility study will focus on, we already know that the waste heat generated by local businesses in their manufacturing processes far exceeds the demand for heat energy in the area. It is hoped that this district heating system could benefit tens of thousands of homes, not to mention having a positive environmental impact, so this could be an exciting proposition for the future.”

Greg Barker, Energy and Climate Change Minister, commenting on the funding awards said, “This is another step to help drive down the long term cost of energy bills.  Heat networks are a defining part of our smarter, cleaner energy future.”

All bids for the DECC funding were reviewed by a panel of engineering, financial and commercial experts with significant experience in heat networks development.  Bids were assessed against a range of criteria including technical feasibility, commercial viability, future carbon saving and social benefits.

The West Cumbria Energy Compass can be downloaded at www.britainsenergycoast.co.uk/energy-innovation.html.

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0303 123 1702

Allerdale Borough Council
Allerdale House, Workington, Cumbria,
CA14 3YJ