Sunderland seeks contractors for 'UK's largest' mine water heat network project

Plans to develop the UK's largest mine water heat network have moved a step closer in Sunderland, as the local council seeks contractors to carry out viability studies.
Sunderland seeks contractors for 'UK's largest' mine water heat network project Sunderland seeks contractors for 'UK's largest' mine water heat network project Sunderland seeks contractors for 'UK's largest' mine water heat network project Sunderland seeks contractors for 'UK's largest' mine water heat network project Sunderland seeks contractors for 'UK's largest' mine water heat network project

Plans to develop the UK's largest mine water heat network have moved a step closer in Sunderland, as the local council seeks contractors to carry out viability studies

Sunderland City Council is inviting expressions of interest from contractors to carry out borehole drilling that will establish the viability of a new heat network that could power hundreds of buildings in the city.

The authority is asking interested parties to consider their experience, availability and recommended approaches to the borehole drilling and testing aspects of the project, that will allow the city to advance its plans to create a new, sustainable way of powering homes and commercial buildings. 

The borehole drilling works - which will take place at the former Wearmouth Colliery in Sunderland, where coal was once mined to power homes and industry across the city - will determine whether the council can create the new network, which could save upwards of 4,100t of CO2e per annum, representing a 70 per cent carbon saving against mains gas.

Supported by government funding from the Green Heat Networks Fund Transition Scheme, the £1.6 million (US$2.2 million) project is out to formal market engagement on the procurement of specialist contractors, to drill pilot boreholes into the former mine workings. The council will be supported by the UK's Coal Authority to engage with contractors.

It is expected that further studies will then be carried out to understand whether the heat extracted could support the new homes being developed on Riverside Sunderland, as well as other buildings across the city. The chosen drilling contractor could then go on and drill the final operational boreholes as part of the construction programme.

Councillor Graeme Miller, leader of Sunderland City Council, said: "This is another step forward on our journey towards a carbon-neutral city and reflects our ambition to innovate to help our businesses to operate and residents to live more sustainably. 

"We're looking forward to seeing the response from the market and hope to engage a partner to help us advance this project soon."

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