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Saturday, 01 November 2014

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Cheaper fuel bills – thanks to mines

CHEAPER fuel for Whitehaven residents could be an “unexpected legacy’’ of the town’s redundant pits.

A potential scheme to extract heat from water and gas in disused mines in Kells has moved closer after a £123,470 funding award.

The money, from the Department of Energy and Climate Change to Copeland Council, will be used to look into developing “innovative heat networks’’. It follows a bid from economic development organisation, Britain’s Energy Coast (BEC).

Coun George Clements, Copeland Council’s portfolio holder for community planning, said: “This is a great example of partnership working with Britain’s Energy Coast to secure Government funding.

“It will explore projects which could help households in parts of the borough where we know the cost of energy is a huge problem.

“The energy networks to be studied include looking at taking heat from old mine workings – so today’s residents would be benefiting from the labours of those who spent their working lives in Whitehaven’s pits. We are looking forward to the research beginning and seeing the findings.”

The grant will explore the potential to extract heat from water and gas in disused mines in the Kells area. The projects stem from the West Cumbria Energy Compass, a report commissioned by BEC to explore the potential for viable energy systems for West Cumbria, based on internationally proven technologies and the use of locally available resources.

Lee Carr, low carbon energy development manager at BEC, said: “This funding award is a major step in bringing innovative heat networks to West Cumbria and the potential for cheaper, low carbon and locally-produced energy for hundreds – if not thousands – of homeowners and businesses.

“It marks the culmination of a lot of hard work stemming from the publication of BEC’s Energy Compass strategy through to the writing of this successful bid.”

Last year, Mr Carr told delegates at the Energy Business Opportunities Conference in Lillyhall that water flooded into disused mines could be used to supply geothermal energy and this was an idea being explored as a way of tapping into an unexpected legacy of Cumbria’s mining heritage.

A similar scheme being developed in Glasgow could provide 40 per cent of that city’s heat, scientists believe.

Mr Carr said: “We also have a lot of redundant mines too, so we see this as having potential for West Cumbria.

“You would look for disused mines in areas with a population nearby because if it was in the middle of nowhere you would waste a lot of energy getting the heat to where it is needed.”

He added if the idea was taken up by communities they could take ownership of the scheme to ensure they had access to cheaper energy.

Have your say

Didn't they say the same thing when Calder Hall was opened.

Posted by Albert on 14 April 2014 at 13:18

I can't see anything positive coming from this. There will be health & safety issues about it's investigation, it will cost too much to put in place and it will be too disruptive to the local environment to be welcome or encouraged. Sounds a good idea IN THEORY though.

Posted by Claire Voyant on 11 April 2014 at 21:12

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