Wells abandoned by the former Mining City Oil Green Revolution

K.Evin Shaw recalls Siham during the excavation, when three wells in the city provided thousands of jobs and a network of red brick terraces overlooking the sea was filled with miners and their families.

“This was a very special place,” said the 63-year-old, who looked at a beach cafe on the North Sea. “It was a very strong community, all connected to the mines.

But the last well was closed in the early 1990’s. Now, a new chapter in the city’s industrial history is being written in an unwritten warehouse on the outskirts of Seham. With 1,500 homes, an elementary school and shops in the garden village, it is planned for nearby fields – heating and hot water for general development will come from nearby abandoned sewage.

“These are the coal that made the Industrial Revolution successful and now they are holding the green revolution,” said Chris Myers, Durham County Council Rehabilitation Officer. ”

The idea is simple. Former coal mines are flooded and drinking water needs to be drained and cleaned up to stop pollution. When it came up, the earth warmed up: about 19-20C in David’s well in Sheham.

According to the plans, heat pumps raised the temperature to 55 / 60C – providing enough heat and a constant source of heat and hot water to enter homes.

The whole process is virtually no carbon and stable flow does not provide reliable heating for homes and businesses.

Beach in the former mining town of County Durham
In Durham County, on the shores of the former mining town, a 1,500-acre “garden village” receives heat and hot water from the geothermal energy project. Photograph – Richard Saker / The Guardian

“It’s a real victory that could change not only the Seaham, but also the county Duram, but the huge parts of North England,” Myers said.

Thousands of miners descended a mile[1 km]each day into the shallows of the North Sea before digging into the North Sea. The water now flows into the warehouse at the top of the old well.

Here you can feel the heat coming from the water – and the energy. Myers says, “You can feel it.” That is the energy that we use.

The coal authority, which is responsible for the 23,000 deep coal projects in the UK, believes the geothermal heating capacity is enormous. Twenty-five percent of people in the UK argue that they live on old coal mines and that re-evaluating British coal for zero carbon, could change geothermal energy for the future and for the former mining communities.

“This has great potential, is accessible and the technology is already there,” said Charlotte Adams, manager of the coal authority’s mining and innovation manager. We have found 80 stations where the water rises and generates 100 megawatts of heat that is not currently used.

There is funding to check the suitability of landmines in the area, with 40 projects being built and many councils coming forward.

Advocates say the plans will create an industry of technicians and engineers needed to build and serve the new infrastructure.

Durham County Counsel Kevin Shaw in the former mining town of Seham
Kevin Shaw, a Durham County councilor in the former mining village, said: Photograph – Richard Saker / The Guardian

Professor John Gluias, director general of the Durham Energy Institute at Durham University, agrees.

“This is a real opportunity and we have a good relationship between supply and demand because we have built our coal-fired homes. From Glasgow to northeast, Nottingham to Kent, this could play a major role in zero carbon emissions.

On the shores of Seham, as children play rock pools along the beaches north of the city and in cafes over the improved dioxide noise of holidaymakers and locals, Shaw reflects on how much has changed.

When we were kids, the beaches around the well were black with coal, but look at it now.

On his first trip to Dawdon Colliery School, Shaw worked as a firefighter for over 20 years as a 16-year-old. He said he is now a local councilor and will be able to withstand the dark days after the wells are closed under the protection of the new power revolution.

“This place was built on coal and mines and people were proud of it. What we are doing now for more than 100 years of mining can be reused… and this will mean a lot to the city.

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