London to expand 100-year-old power plant to run "Tube" railway

Reuters News
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Posted: Jan 08, 2015 10:39 AM

LONDON (Reuters) - London mayor Boris Johnson on Thursday unveiled plans for an expansion of one of the world's oldest electricity stations to help power the capital's underground rail network.

Greenwich Power Station, which was built in 1906 to provide electricity for London's trams, will receive up to six new gas engines to power the network known as the "Tube" and provide heat for 20,000 homes.

London has an ambitious target to reduce its carbon emissions by 60 percent by 2025 to try to tackle climate change and cutting emissions from the transport network is a large part of this plan.

"This important investment in London's growing low carbon technology sector will not only help power our Tube network, but will also reduce pressure on the National Grid, cut utility bills for local residents, and reduce air pollution from boilers," Johnson said in a statement.

The new gas-fired engines could cover around 13 percent of the Tube's annual power needs. Work to install the first two, for which Transport for London has already set aside 15 million pounds ($22.6 million), will start in April for completion in 2017.

Greenwich Power Station, on the banks of the river Thames, currently provides backup electricity for the grid and is designed to supply enough electricity to safely evacuate Tube passengers in the event of a total power loss.

($1 = 0.6629 pounds)

(Reporting by Karolin Schaps)