Award Winning CHP District Energy Scheme Brings Low Cost Energy to Gateshead

Two combined heat and power (CHP) engines, supplied by Edina, are delivering low cost, low carbon to the award-winning Gateshead Energy Company.

Distributed power generation solutions provider Edina was selected by Gateshead Council to supply and install two MWM 2MW gas-fired CHP engines to provide electricity and heat to domestic, municipal and commercial buildings in the town centre. Together, these engines can generate enough electricity to power 5,000 homes.

Unlike conventional power stations, the Gateshead CHP scheme also recovers waste heat created during the electricity generation process and uses this to heat buildings via an underground network of pipes.

Powering Gateshead’s future

The innovative district energy scheme, which is owned and operated by Gateshead Energy Company, combines generation, distribution, energy storage and demand side management to reduce energy costs and carbon emissions. The council passes these financial savings on to homes and organisations in the area, with discounted rates on heat and power.

Heat and electricity is distributed to businesses and residents across Gateshead via a three kilometer network of heat pipes and high-voltage ‘private wire’ electricity cables.

The Gateshead project received the Visionary Award from the Association of Decentralised Energy (ADE), which recognises the project as a successful model that can be used to help boost redevelopment in other towns.

Future-proof network

At the launch of the scheme in 2017, it was used to heat and power a Gateshead art gallery and music venue as well as several public buildings and a small local housing scheme. Sufficient capacity has been built into the energy centre to future proof-the district energy project. This includes spare capacity to meet additional heat and power demands from new commercial developments, such as those at Gateshead Quays and the Baltic Business Quarter, as well as major housing developments planned nearby.

The CHP energy centre was initially projected to reduce carbon emissions by 5,000 tonnes per annum. This carbon saving will increase as the scheme expands.

Meeting flexible grid demand

In 2018, Gateshead Energy Company became the first small generator in the UK to be invited into the National Grid’s Balancing Mechanism, which helps ensure there is enough power in the UK supply system to meet short term spikes in demand. It pays a premium to organisations that can provide extra power to the grid rapidly at times of system stress.

Because the Gateshead CHP engines can supply energy to the grid in less than one hour, the Balancing Mechanism helps provide additional income to the local authority.

Gateshead Council leader Martin Gannon said: “This is an important project which will give our area a real cutting edge. Our District Energy Centre is twice as efficient as a conventional power station and far greener, and we can pass on some of those cost efficiencies to local people and businesses in the form of cheaper heat and power. This alone will make a real difference to customers’ energy costs.

“However, the commercial advantages offered by cheap heat and power will be obvious to incoming businesses and we believe this is likely to drive up demand for business space here in Gateshead, something that should help to generate much-needed new jobs. We are also helping to substantially reduce Gateshead’s carbon footprint.”

For more information about reducing energy costs through gas-fuelled Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plants, please visit Edina at