The London Development Agency (LDA) has announced pioneering plans for the UK's first scheme to harness some 400 MW of waste heat from an existing thermal power station for space and domestic water heating.
The Barking Power Station scheme aims to capture the excess heat produced in the generation of electricity to supply heat directly to properties through a hot water network for heating and hot water.
Barking Power Station is a gas-fired combined cycle station rated at 1000 MW and currently discards some 40% of the energy it produces in the form of excess heat, a statement from the LDA says.
The project - the first of its kind in the UK - is being developed through a partnership between local authorities, the LDA, Barking Power, London Thames Gateway Development Corp and Communities and Local Government (CLG).
A feasibility study has identified 37,000 new homes that could be supplied when the project is up and running. The first homes to benefit would be new developments in Barking Riverside, the Royal Docks, Havering Riverside and Barking town centre.
The partnership is working with energy consultancy company Ramboll which helped set up a similar scheme in Copenhagen to develop the plan.
LDA Chief Executive Manny Lewis said: 'This is an exciting project that shows the innovative ways in which we can tackle climate change in big cities. Barking Power Station is right in the heart of an already highly populated area that is due to become even further developed as it is a key target for growth in the Thames Gateway.'
In related news, a new project to help the South Bank of the Thames in London reduce its carbon footprint has also been unveiled by the LDA, together with the South Bank Employers' Group (SBEG) and London South Bank University (LSBU).
The project is the first of its kind to focus on a whole area in central London. It will build an understanding of current and projected energy consumption patterns in the area and explore opportunities for decentralised energy systems including district heating, combined heat and power (CHP) and biomass.
Manny Lewis said: 'The South Bank is an area that is undergoing extensive regeneration with new residential, commercial, high density and mixed-use developments planned in the next few years so there is real potential to make a difference to the area's carbon emissions. This is an exciting opportunity to develop an integrated area-wide approach to energy efficiency.'
Among other tasks the project will identify options for creating low carbon energy supply and distribution.
The LSBU project manager Phil Jones said: 'This is a fantastic opportunity to study the possible energy supply options for the South Bank area and hopefully take this forward to implementing a network of heating, cooling and electricity supplied by CHP. This should save in running costs for South Bank buildings whilst reducing CO2 emissions at the same time.'