Viking Energy Network Jarrow

How it works

The scheme, which is the first of its kind in the UK, combines:

  • a river source heat pump
  • a combined heat and power (CHP) back-up system
  • a 1 megawatt solar farm
  • a private wire electrical network with storage battery

An energy centre has been built on the banks of the river and an extensive pipe network is used to distribute the heat across the town.

Water source heat pumps work by extracting heat from a body of water, compressing it to increase the temperature and then converting it into useful energy in the form of hot water in a network of insulated pipes.

The solar farm will provide much of the electricity to power the heat pump, ensuring it will run close to carbon neutral in the summer months.

The combined heat and power (CHP) back-up system will be used in the event that the solar panels do not generate enough electricity. It is a highly-efficient process that harnesses the heat that is a by-product of the electricity generation process, and which would otherwise be wasted.