Views sought on Worthing energy centre proposal

Residents invited to have their say on planning application for Worthing Heat Network which would bring low-carbon heat to buildings and homes across the borough 

Heat networks are a more sustainable alternative to gas boilers. They provide heating and hot water via a network of insulated pipes. The idea behind the Worthing Heat Network is to use large scale heat pumps and waste heat to produce much greener energy for a range of local buildings, including those owned by the council and NHS – saving them money on bills at the same time. 

An artist's impression of the energy centre which would be sited next to the High Street multi-storey car park

An artist’s impression of the proposed new energy centre, image courtesy of Adur & Worthing Councils

The effectiveness of this kind of tech, says Worthing Borough Council, is well proven in the UK and Europe. A heat network in Worthing would make a significant contribution to the council’s pledges to be a carbon neutral authority by 2030 and a net zero torn by 2045. 

That’s why the council commissioned low-carbon energy company Hemiko (formerly Pinnacle Power) to design, build and operate a heat network for the town. Realising the heat network will need a range of infrastructure to be developed, both underground and above. Hemiko has submitted a planning application with details of what would be involved. 

This application will be reviewed at the planning committee to be held at Worthing Town Hall at 6.30 pm on Wednesday, December 20, 2023. Before then, residents are invited to view and comment on the planning application. 

To do so, visit the planning applications portal and enter reference no. AWDM/1439/23 in the search bar. 

In brief, Hemiko proposes building a low-energy energy centre next to the multi-storey car park on the High Street to house heat pumps, thermal store and ancillary kit. This energy centre will draw in air and upgrade it to useable heat. The only by-product from this process is cooler air, which would be released through fans on the roof of the car park. 

Building the energy centre in this location would require the removal of two trees that currently stand near the main entrance to the car park. As part of the application, new trees will be planted in the town and the energy centre will feature an extensive green wall, with bushes around it. 

Once constructed, the Worthing Heat Network is predicted to cut the town’s carbon emissions by the equivalent of at least 3,000 tonnes a year – as much, says the council, as removing more than 2,000 cars from the road. Air quality in the region is also expected to improve. 

Cllr Sophie Cox, Cabinet Member for Climate Emergency, says: ‘The Worthing Heat Network is a really exciting project for the town and a key part of our goal to be a carbon neutral authority by 2030. 

‘Buildings such as Worthing Hospital, Splashpoint, the Connaught Cinema and our council offices will benefit from the heat network, allowing us to remove our gas boilers from these public spaces and improve our town’s air quality. 

‘I’d really encourage locals to look over the plans and tell us what they think.’ 

Jim Birse, Worthing Heat Network Project Director at Hemiko, adds: ‘Our vision is to offer everyone in Worthing a low-carbon heat network connection by the time they need to decarbonise. We hope to make the net zero transition as simple as possible for the communities we are part of.’ 

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