The mayor of London announced that London’s historic Greenwich Power Station will soon be much more energy efficient. Up to six new gas engines will be installed in the building’s Old Turbine Hall, originally the electricity generator for London’s trams, making London’s Tube network more self-reliant and limit the risk of rising energy prices. The waste heat will be channeled into a new district heating network to supply hot water and heat for local buildings, including schools and homes.
Once operational, the new engines will substantially increase the power station’s use, and by 2025, they are expected to provide up to 155,000 MWh of electricity, around 13 percent of the Tube network’s annual requirement.
The new engines will run on natural gas and be up to 90 percent efficient. The mayor’s target is to produce 25 percent of London’s energy from local sources by 2025. The installation of the new engines will be staggered over the next 20 years to match the development of the heat network. Preparatory work to install the first two engines will begin in April. They are expected to be operational by 2017.
London has already taken steps to minimize energy used by the Tube network. New trains with regenerative braking have been purchased and low energy lighting has been installed.
The new heat network could save the Royal Borough of Greenwich and residents in homes that are part of the heat network up to 10 percent on their annual gas bill, including between $3,000–$6,000 on boiler replacements and around $225 a year in boiler maintenance. For the homes and buildings able to become part of the heat network, mostly in larger blocks and public buildings like schools and libraries, it would also help mitigate against future price increases from energy suppliers.
The mayor identified investing in London’s power infrastructure as a priority in his Infrastructure Plan. London’s population is expected to grow by an additional 1 million in the next ten years, and demand for electricity in the capital is expected to grow by up to four percent per year.
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