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U.K. Confirms Gas Role as EON, National Grid Open Heat Pipe

U.K. Confirms Gas Role as EON, National Grid Open Heat Pipe
Exhaust chimney stacks are seen at the EON AG gas fired power station on the Isle of Grain. Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

Natural gas remains “absolutely central” to efforts to curb U.K. emissions, Energy Secretary Ed Davey said, as EON AG and National Grid Plc opened a heat pipe to boost efficiency at a gas-fired power station.

Gas plants that run more efficiently curb consumer bills and help the government meet low-carbon targets, Davey said today at the EON site in Kent, southern England. The government wants to ensure it secures enough gas as dependence on imports increases while removing “obstacles” for investors, he said.

Davey’s comments come as Britain seeks to balance demand for cheaper power against a goal to lower pollution from fossil fuels. Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne has pushed for natural gas to remain central to U.K. energy supply while the government’s climate change adviser in September said a plan to invest in new gas-fired plants over the next 20 years is incompatible with legally binding carbon targets.

“We do believe that gas has a central role to play in Britain’s energy mix,” he said. “Even when we are looking at our carbon plan and reducing carbon emissions, gas is absolutely central to that”.

The 4.5 kilometer (2.8-mile) heat pipe transports waste hot-water from EON’s 500 million-pound ($806 million) Grain power station to the National Grid liquefied natural gas terminal. This water, instead of gas, heats the liquid gas to convert it back to a gaseous state for consumer use. The pipe will cut 300,000 tons of carbon dioxide while saving the amount of gas used by 100,000 houses each year.

Eliminate Waste

“We are taking waste heat that we produce anyway and we are supplying it to National Grid which uses it to eliminate waste in its processes,” Tony Cocker, chief executive officer at EON U.K. said at the opening. “This combination of combined heat and power with the EON facility is a real illustration of the role gas can play in the energy mix.”

The government will publish a new gas generation strategy later this year aimed at underpinning investment in the industry. “It’s not long away,” Davey said today, without giving further details. After 2030, gas will increasingly be used only as back up, alongside renewables, nuclear new build, and eventually with carbon capture and storage, Davey said last month. ‪

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