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Daily Telegraph: Pioneer’s lobbying pays off

By Roland Gribben
Last Updated: 7:59pm GMT 21/01/2008

Pressure has paid off for a small pioneering company wanting to produce electricity from geo-pressure.

Malcolm Wicks, energy minister, has performed a second U-turn in accepting the technology as a renewable source of energy. The first came almost a year ago, when he intervened to overrule Ofgem, the energy regulator, which had given the go-ahead for Bath-based 2oC to develop the technology as a subsidised renewable source.

At the time, he accepted the advice of officials who felt the gas-based technology did not have renewable credentials.

But he bowed to pressure for fresh consultations and after heavy lobbying by 2oC, MPs, electricity generators, Greenpeace and other environmental organisations, Mr Wicks has reinstated geo-pressure as a green fuel.

Now the way is open for 2oC and National Grid to push ahead with an initial £50m-£60m programme through their joint venture company Blue-ng. They plan to instal the technology at power plants at Beckton, being built to supply the nearby site for the 2012 Olympic Games, and at Southall, Middlesex.

Geo-pressure is a by-product of geological activity. It can be harnessed to generate electricity by using the pressure flow in the gas network, without using any of the gas itself, in a similar way to a waterwheel.

The two partners have welcomed the latest ministerial decision. Lord Oxburgh, chairman of 2oC and former Shell chairman, who kept aloof from the Whitehall lobbying, said the Government had “shown world leadership in the fight against climate change”.

Andrew Mercer, chief executive, is optimistic about the business prospects. He estimates the company could have installed generating capacity equivalent to 1,000 megawatts – the output from a big power station – in the UK over the next two years. The new green capacity could reduce carbon emissions by a million tonnes a year.

National Grid believes the technology will help to achieve its objective of sourcing all the power it uses in running its business from renewable sources by 2010. Studies have shown that renewable energy could be generated at 200 of its sites around the country. and its also non-profit sister websites,,,,, and are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

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