A new energy scheme that will cut bills and carbon emissions for homes and businesses in Gateshead was launched on 2 March.

The Gateshead District Energy Centre is the first of its kind and scale in the North East and will generate and supply low-carbon, low cost energy for up to 350 local homes and businesses in the area.

Minister for Industry & Energy, Jesse Norman said: “This investment in local energy supplies is intended to deliver low carbon energy at competitive prices for local customers. It is a great example of the kind of local initiatives our new Industrial Strategy is looking to support.”

The government is working to promote growth across the North East and the rest of the UK, through its Industrial Strategy Green Paper, and to ensure the supply of secure, affordable and low-carbon energy for businesses and households.

Unlike conventional power stations, Gateshead’s District Energy Centre is capable of capturing waste heat created during the energy generation process and recycling it to keep buildings nearby warm. In addition the network has been designed to ensure the Energy Centre will be able to meet all the energy needs of future developments planned for Gateshead town centre, underpinning the redevelopment of the Baltic Business Quarter, plus the Gateshead Quays area and major housing developments.

The energy centre uses a pair of 2MW gas-powered combined heat and power (CHP) plants to generate enough electricity to power 5,000 homes, with the waste heat from the engines being recovered to provide hot water for heating.

“Affordable energy and clean growth is a key pillar of the government’s Industrial Strategy green paper, with a clear commitment to ensure the supply of secure, affordable and clean energy for businesses and households across the UK,” Mr Norman concluded.