A team of scientific and technical experts are helping to develop exciting plans for a Â£52m low-carbon heat network in Stoke-on-Trent.
About 20 specialists visited Stoke-on-Trent City Councilâ€™s headquarters in Stoke on November 24 to begin devising solutions to ensure the complex projectâ€™s success.
The city councilâ€™s District Heat Network was the flagship element of the Â£113m Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire City Deal agreed between the LEP and central government in March.
The project, which has secured a Â£20m funding pledge from the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and Department for Communities and Local Government, will involve the construction of an underground pipe network to pump hot water to customers.
The aim is to cut carbon emissions and contribute to the cityâ€™s economic regeneration by offering customers protection from energy market volatility.
Under the plans, the city council will create and manage the distribution network to supply the heat to customers, but the authority will seek commercial partners to handle the production and sale of the heat.
The scheme is expected to create up to 210 new jobs in the short term and indirectly create or secure more than 1,350 jobs in the long term by creating the conditions for business to flourish.
The experts included Keele Universityâ€™s professor of applied environmental geophysics, Peter Styles, who is credited with discovering geothermal energy reserves underneath North Staffordshire.
He said: â€œThere is a need for low-cost energy for industries in the area, and providing them with heating will take a tremendous load off their energy costs.
â€œThis event was about putting together the legal, commercial and technical framework needed to start moving towards being able to deliver a district heat network in the city, starting with evaluating the potential role of geothermal and other energy sources.â€