The plant, which will produce 130 Gigawatt hours (GWh) a year of renewable electricity, will power a major sewage works owned by Thames Water. 

The company will buy 75 GWh of the plant’s output to run the works, which serves 3.5 million people, while the remaining power will supply the national grid.

Currently, Thames Water spends £1m a month removing 40,000 annual blockages caused by fat poured down drains.

The company will provide at least half of the fuel the generator requires to run, amounting to 30 tonnes a day of fat, oil and grease that would otherwise clog up London’s sewers.

Thames Water commercial director Piers Clark said the project was a “win-win” with renewable power helping to tackle the ongoing operational problem of ‘fatbergs’ in sewers.

The construction, worth £70m, will be powered by low-grade cooking oil and food fat which will be collected from food outlets and manufacturers.

The planners say that solidified grease, such as from lamb and chicken, will be harvested from ‘fat traps’ in restaurant kitchens and from pinch-points around the capital’s sewer network.

Thames Water’s currently 14% of its total power requirement from renewable sources and the Beckton plant will increase this to more than 20%.

Conor McGlone

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