Gushing British gas to be harnessed for clean power
LONDON (Reuters) - Britain could soon harness the flow of high pressure gas from fields into the national pipeline network to generate carbon-free electricity, after the government confirmed its support for the clean energy on Friday.
The geopressure technology's main backer in Britain, 2oc, is working with network operator National Grid to generate up to a gigawatt of power in this way by 2010, equivalent to the output of a large nuclear power station.
The method, which uses the surge of gas into the network to drive turbines and make electricity, had been facing possible exclusion as part of an overhaul of Britain's Renewables Obligation (RO) scheme to support clean energy.
But the government said on Friday the technology would continue to get support as it tries to boost Britain's tiny renewable energy sector to meet tough European Union targets.
"Geopressure has the potential to be a low-carbon energy source which will help the UK in meeting its ambitious targets to cut carbon emissions," energy minister Malcolm Wicks said in a statement.
"It is an efficient additional use of the gas we will continue to need as part of our energy mix."
Gas flows from subsea fields into the network at such high pressure that pressure reduction stations have to be scattered across the country before it can safely enter British homes.
Geopressure being included in the RO, which helps emerging clean energy technologies to compete with established but dirtier fossil fuel power plants, was welcomed by company chairman Lord Oxburgh.
"The government has helped us to show world leadership in the fight against climate change. We are already talking to a number of partners in the UK and globally who are as keen as we are to exploit this clean, renewable energy," he said.
(Reporting by Daniel Fineren, editing by Anthony Barker)