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On behalf of the mine energy task force, the North East Local Enterprise Partnership, (North East LEP), is looking to appoint a contractor to deliver a mine energy white paper, to help accelerate delivery of schemes in the UK.

Here, Andrew Clark, Energy Sector Lead at the North East LEP, gives us the background to the white paper:

If the UK is to achieve its carbon targets, decarbonisation of heat is one of the major challenges which must be overcome. One option is to harvest low carbon heat which is created and stored within the earth, known as geothermal heat. The North East has particular potential for this given its geology, and thanks to the region’s industrial past, a specific opportunity to access it is now being explored – mine energy.

Mine energy involves accessing the now-flooded mine shafts within abandoned coalfields. The water within the mines is geothermally heated, and if it can be extracted from the water this heat can be utilised in nearby homes, businesses or other buildings. The mines could also be used to store energy in the form of heat.

There are various examples of mine energy being used in Europe from community to city-scale, and a number of projects being developed in the North East are leading the way for the UK. Sharing what we are doing in the North East through the BEIS Local Energy Hubs, a network established by Government for LEPs to work collaboratively on energy projects, we identified other regions which were also exploring the potential of mine energy.

Like any relatively new opportunity, there are lots of things to learn from projects as they are developed and delivered. To accelerate this, the North East LEP has brought together a national ‘mine energy task force’, so far a collection of over 30 interested stakeholders from across the country who share expertise, knowledge and experiences.

The task force has identified a need for a piece of work to begin to answer some of the questions it has identified, and to set out the commercial, regulatory, market and policy interventions which are needed nationally if mine energy is to be delivered at scale. The North East LEP is now commissioning this ‘white paper’, to deliver this on behalf of the task force, with the tender now live.

Supported by the task force organisations, wider stakeholders, and by the BEIS Local Energy Hubs, the white paper will present a powerful evidence base, present substantiated recommendations, and help inform policy and delivery for mine energy.

If you are interested in participating in the task force please contact Andrew Clark.

More information on the tender can be found here. The closing date is 28 May 2020.

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