A new district energy centre opened in Newcastle on Wednesday (January 15) which will use natural gas to generate low carbon energy to homes and buildings.
The centre will use natural gas-fired combined heat to generate the energy which will supply heating and cooling to 10 buildings and up to 450 homes.
It is estimated that over 40 years, the centre will save 30,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere.
The £20m energy centre is a joint venture between Newcastle City Council and global energy company ENGIE. It has been partly funded by the European Regional Development Fund and the government’s Local Growth Deal.
Leader of Newcastle City Council, Nick Forbes, said: ‘Climate change is the biggest threat to our planet so it’s incumbent on all of us to do what we can to reduce our carbon emissions.
‘Last year we declared a climate change emergency and since then have set up a Climate Change Convention and are putting in place a range of measures to make the city carbon zero by 2030.
‘The opening of the District Energy Centre is a significant boost to our climate change credentials and will provide affordable and sustainable heating to residents and cutting edge businesses which are bringing high-quality jobs to the city.’
Nicola Lovett, chief executive of ENGIE, said: ‘We are delighted to be marking the completion of the new energy centre, the first of what we hope will be many innovative low carbon energy projects delivered by our long-term partnership with Newcastle City Council.
However, the use of natural gas as an alternative to oil and coal is not without its own climate concerns.
Environmental lawyers Client Earth launched a campaign late last year (December 2019) against BP’s claims that natural gas is an environmentally-friendly option.
Client Earth said that natural gas is mainly made up of methane that causes global warming when it leaks into the atmosphere and emits carbon dioxide when it is burnt. Client Earth stated that extracting more gas to burn is incompatible with the goals set out in the Paris Agreement.
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