The second phase of Stoke-On-Trent's heat network began this week when civic and business leaders from the UK city, and students from Stoke on Trent College's Urban Heat Academy, attended a ground-breaking ceremony to mark the beginning of the latest 1.4 km installation of flow and return pipework.
The district heating network is led by Stoke-on-Trent City Council, and the latest £1.9 million phase follows on from pipes being laid under Leek Road in Stoke earlier this year.
Sustainable energy specialist Vital Energi, based in the UK, is carrying out this second phase of the work which will take thirty weeks to complete.
In addition to providing Stoke-on-Trent businesses and homes with cleaner, greener energy, it will also provide young engineers with a valuable opportunity to learn the latest industry skills.
Councilor Carl Edwards, cabinet member for the environment, helped to break the ground on the project. He said, "This network is all about providing sustainable, cleaner and greener energy to power our city for generations to come. We're a forward looking city, and we are committed to doing all we can to protect and improve our environment. It's a pioneering initiative - nowhere else in the country is developing a heat network with the ambition and scope that we are underway with.”
"Careful mapping of our city's geology has shown us that there is geothermal energy under Stoke-on-Trent, and the deep seam coal mining of the past has helped us to identify its source. It is serendipitous that our energy source of the past could help us in powering our city for the future. Our plans for the network are that it will eventually go on to be powered by these hot underground rocks.”
Stoke on Trent College's Urban Heat Academy will work with contractors and employers involved in the design, installation, management and maintenance of the District Heat Network to provide apprenticeships and work-related training
Ryan Johnson, Campus Director at Stoke on Trent College, said, "As the UK focuses on renewable energy, projects like the District Heat Networks will create new jobs and an opportunity for young people to skill up in new areas of construction."
Vital Energi will be employing a local apprentice, from the College's Urban Heat Academy, who will be working on the scheme via day release for the duration of the contract works. Ashley Walsh, Vital Energi's Operations Director (Infrastructure) said, "Projects like this can offer fantastic opportunities to deliver community benefits such as employment and training to local people and we are delighted to be working on such a visionary scheme. "
The district heat network is a multi-million pound program that has attracted funding from central government and support from the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).
Alun Rogers, acting chair of the LEP, said, "The district heat network is one of our flagship projects. We are a pioneering area in terms of green energy development - improving our environment and bringing wider economic benefits."
Photo left to right : Ryan Johnson (Director of Campus), Cllr Carl Edwards (Cabinet member for the Environment), Ashley Walsh (Operations Director (Infrastructure)) Alun Rogers, Vice Chair of the LEP, Peter Anderberg, CEO and Founder of Nordic Heat (Vital Energi)