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Saturday, 25 October 2014

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Heat turned up in bid for lower energy bills

Tens of thousands of Workington homes and businesses could see big reductions in energy bills, thanks to a revolutionary new heating scheme being discussed next week.

Swedish experts will visit West Cumbria to talk about the next steps in a proposed ‘district heating scheme’ that could see cheap energy piped into thousands of homes and businesses.

The scheme would use excess heat from factories in the north Workington area.

Britain’s Energy Coast and Allerdale council have been given £101,000 by the Government to commission a feasibility study.

They are working with Swedish energy firm Bizcat, which says the initiative could stabilise the price of fuel for consumers.

The district heating scheme would see a network of insulated underground pipes deliver heat in the form of hot water or steam from local plants.

Peter Ohrstrom, of Bizcat, who will be among the team of visiting experts, said: “Local residents will, over time, see cheaper fuel and more stable prices for a very long time.

“We have a good opportunity here to meet fuel poverty and social housing issues for West Cumbrian communities.”

The excess energy would be converted using a heat exchanger in place of regular gas boilers. Mr Ohrstrom said the network of underground pipes had the ability to manage the supply of heat to changing demands over the course of a day.

He added: “This network will remain strong for 100 years or more once it is laid and the environmental benefits will also be great.

“Britain is becoming more dependent on imported gas so it is a good time for West Cumbria to be looking into this project. It is a very exciting time for the area.”

He said the project could be running within the next 10 years. The initiative is the main way of heating in Sweden, with more than half of building stock fuelled by a district energy scheme.

Lee Carr, of Britain’s Energy Coast, said there was more heat generated by Workington’s industrial plants for the number of homes in Workington and Maryport combined.

Studies would need to work out the most cost-effective ways of piping heat around the region.

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