Waste heat from one of Stockton’s industrial giants could be used to heat major business premises and public buildings in a pioneering carbon reducing scheme.
Billingham-based fertiliser manufacturer GrowHow already provides some of its surplus heat to nearby companies such as tomato producer North Bank Growers Ltd.
But a study has identified the potential to extend the network to heat Stockton Council’s Kingsway House, Cowpen Depot and even the swimming pool at Billingham Forum.
Local businesses Doncaster Paralloy and KP Foods – where the heat would be used in potato washing – could also benefit as well as, in the future, schools and homes.
Councillor David Rose, Stockton Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment, said: “District heating networks will play an increasingly important part in meeting energy needs in the future and can make a major contribution to our Green Vision, which sets out our ambition to ensure our assets and services are carbon neutral by 2030. We see huge potential in the development of a district heating network with GrowHow as a central heat source.
“As a council we are uniquely placed to bring businesses together in innovative ways, with the aim of helping sustain and grow our powerhouse industrial sectors, reducing carbon and their energy costs. With the support of Tees Valley Unlimited and City Deal funding, Stockton Council has brought in public funding to move to the next stage in developing a private-public district heat network. It shows we have the ambition to make our Green Vision a reality, benefiting local business and the environment.”
Members of Stockton Council’s Cabinet will be asked to support a detailed programme of work to explore the extension further when they meet on Thursday.
The four-year programme has already attracted £850,900 towards its estimated £1.27million cost through the Tees Valley City Deal announced in December.
Stockton Council has set aside £340,000 towards the remainder and it is expected that private sector partners will also provide funding.
The northern exit from the GrowHow site leading to Cowpen Lane industrial estate and onwards to Billingham Town Centre has been identified as the most attractive prospect for an initial extension of the network.
But there is also potential for a second extension from the south of the site to access the Portrack Lane area, Holme House Prison, Northshore and Stockton Town Centre.
Councillor Rose said: “Cabinet is being asked to agree the next step, which is to carry out a four-year programme of work to fully explore the feasibility of extending the network and, if it is viable, to also develop the design, business case and governance model to a point where we are ready to procure a contract for the installation itself.
“We want to put Stockton on the map as a Borough where environmental excellence makes a difference to quality of life for all. Any money we can save by reducing our own spend on energy can be invested in other services.”