The “geo-pressure” projects could generate up to 45MW, according to 2OC, the renewable energy company that brought the technology to the UK. Geo-pressure involves fitting turbines at pressure reduction stations to harness the kinetic energy created when gas pressure is reduced.

The joint venture with the National Grid is the first major contract for 2OC since it received renewable accreditation from Ofgem last December, qualifying for Renewables Obligation credits (see related story).

Construction of the two large-scale pilot projects, most likely to go up in the London boroughs of Fulham and Beckton, should begin in early 2008 and be completed by 2009. Work at six further sites could start in spring 2008.

National Grid chief executive Steve Holliday called the agreement on the joint venture “a great step forward” in reducing the company’s carbon footprint. “It will help us meet all our internal energy needs from renewable sources by 2010,” he said.

The first stage of the scheme will attract between £50 and $60m in investment.

Each site should generate between 5 and 13MW of electricity, and while the current agreement involves eight sites at most there is potential to harness geo-pressure at 200 National Grid pressure reduction stations, a feasibility study has shown.

2OC chief executive Andrew Mercer said: “With this agreement we hope to make a real difference to the way the world thinks about exploiting the many sources of clean, renewable energy that exist today.

“We are excited about working with the National Grid to enable them to meet their internal energy needs from renewable sources and reduce their carbon footprint.”

Goska Romanowicz

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