Air quality to benefit from Greenwich Power Station revamp

Plans to transform historic site into combined heat and power facility will see reduction in nitrogen dioxide emissions

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson has unveiled plans to transform Greenwich Power Station into a combined heat and power facility, which is expected to cut the plant’s nitrogen dioxide emissions and boost local air quality.

The historic power station will be ‘revamped’ under the plans, with the engines delivering cheaper low carbon electricity for the London Underground network.

Boris Johnson toured Greenwich Power Station yesterday (January 8)

Boris Johnson toured Greenwich Power Station yesterday (January 8)

Waste heat from the process will then be channelled into a new local heat network which will have the potential to supply hot water and heating to around 20,000 local homes.

As well as reducing utility bills, the network will lower boiler emissions of nitrogen dioxide at the station — improving air quality in the surrounding area, according to the Mayor and Transport for London.

Built in 1906, the Greenwich Power Station is one of the oldest operational power plants in the world. In recent years it has used as an emergency back-up supply for the Tube network in the event of a Grid power outage.

The new CHP-enabled plant is part of the Mayor’s initiative to invest in London’s low carbon sector. Plans to install the heat network are being developed by the Mayor and Transport for London in partnership with the Royal Borough of Greenwich.


The installation of the new engines will be staggered over the next 20 years to match the development of the heat network. Preparatory work to install the first two engines will begin in April, and they are expected to be up and running by 2017.

Mr Johnson yesterday toured the station’s Old Turbine Hall where the new engines are to be installed, and turned on an existing emergency back-up engine from the original 1970s control room as part of a regular test.

The power station will become a CHP-enabled facility

The power station will become a CHP-enabled facility

He said: “This Victorian landmark, one of the original ‘Cathedrals of Power’, has a long and vital future supporting London’s essential infrastructure. With cleaner, more efficient and environmentally friendly new systems, Greenwich Power Station will be brought back up to full use, and go on to perform the function it was originally created for well into the 21st century.

“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.”

Councillor Denise Hyland, leader of the Royal Borough of Greenwich, added: “What’s important about these proposals is that the power station — currently being vastly under-used – can be brought back into full use in a way which delivers a much more environmentally friendly energy solution for the tube network and the local area.”


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