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National acclaim for innovative energy project in the Llynfi Valley

01 November 2017

A pioneering mine water project in the Llynfi Valley led by Bridgend County Borough Council has won third place in the national Energy Impact Awards, beating tough competition from 80 entries from across the UK.

The Energy Impact Awards, run by leading fuel poverty charity National Energy Action (NEA) in partnership with British Gas, recognise best practice amongst organisations carrying out work that focuses on energy projects tackling fuel poverty by benefiting vulnerable people in the local area.

Bridgend County Borough Council was awarded a £2,500 grant for their ‘Caerau Minewater Heat Project’ which aims to create a heat network for homes in Caerau using heat from water that has filled the old mine workings from the former Caerau Colliery.

The underground water may potentially offer a geo-thermal source of energy as it has an average temperature of around 10 to 14 degrees Celsius, and the council is investigating the idea of pumping water through a network of pipes to residents’ properties.

The heat would then be extracted and passed through a heat pump, providing heat for the property using its existing radiator system. The mine water itself would not, at any point, enter the homes of residents.

Maria Wardrobe, Director of Communications and External Relations at NEA said: “We were delighted with the interest in the award scheme this year which saw the highest number of highly commendable projects in England, Scotland and Wales ever received for the scheme. I congratulate Bridgend County Borough Council on their initiative which will reach remote and vulnerable people in a rural community to keep warm and well in their homes.”

Councillor Richard Young, the council’s Cabinet Member for Communities, said: “It’s a very exciting time for us as we find ourselves at the cutting edge of the UK’s green energy revolution, and we’re thrilled to have picked up third prize in the Energy Impact Awards.

“The mine water project in Caerau has the potential to warm more than a thousand homes. If successful, the project will not only contribute to carbon emission reduction targets by reducing the community’s dependency on fossil fuels, but it will also address fuel poverty in the area by cutting energy bills, and will act as a catalyst for new employment and training opportunities.

“We’re very proud to be among those testing the large scale viability of using these low carbon heat sources and developing a model that could be rolled out in the rest of the UK.”

Test drilling took place last month into the former Caerau Colliery mine workings on the Old Brewers site. It was found that the void is full of water to a depth of 230m, so the British Geological Survey will now test the temperature, chemistry and volume of water that is available.

The current feasibility study will continue until the end of January 2018 and a public exhibition is planned for Spring 2018 when findings from the investigations will be shared with local residents and anyone else who is interested in this project.

The Caerau Minewater Heat Project has a large number of stakeholders including the Welsh Government, UK Government, Cardiff University, BGS, Kensa, Egnida, SPECIFIC, Carreg Las, Energy Systems Catapult, Natural Resources Wales and The Coal Authority.

For further information, please contact Ceri Williams or Michael Jenkins in Bridgend County Borough Council’s Sustainable Development Team on 01656 643133.

Last Updated: 01/11/2017
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