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First Major Grass-Burning Power Station Planned For Britain This Year

The plant will operate for 8,000 hours a year on a 24-hour basis and save one tonne per hour of carbon dioxide, which would otherwise have been emitted using fossil fuels to generate electricity.
London (AFP) May 30, 2005
Work will start this year on Britain's first major power station fuelled by grass, a newspaper reported Monday as Prime Minister Tony Blair tries to make his country more environmentally friendly.

The 6.5-million-pound (12-million-dollar, 9.4-million-euro) bio-energy power station in Staffordshire, central England, would be run on elephant grass and supply 2,000 homes with electricity, the Guardian daily said.

Amanda Gray, director of Eccleshall Biomass, the company behind the project, said the power station was vital to the rural industry in Staffordshire, and gave the government a further tool to meet its international obligations to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

Burning elephant grass would only release the carbon dioxide that the plants soaked up anyway while they were growing, she said in the newspaper.

The Guardian said the plant could be a key element in the quest to tackle climate change - one of Blair's priorities this year as Britain holds the presidency of the Group of Eight powers and prepares to take on that of the European Union from July 1.

Britain generates three percent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions despite only comprising one percent of its population, according to the left-leaning newspaper.

Power stations were a prominent culprit, pumping out around one third of the country's carbon dioxide quota, it said, noting that the government hoped to reduce Britain's carbon emissions by 60 percent by 2050.

Regional development agency Advantage West Midlands (AWM) has approved a grant to Eccleshall Biomass to help fund the plant's construction, which will begin later this year.

"It is the first major electricity plant of its kind in the country and we're very proud to have it here in our region and to be involved in making it possible," said an AWM spokesman.

The plant will operate for 8,000 hours a year on a 24-hour basis and save one tonne per hour of carbon dioxide, which would otherwise have been emitted using fossil fuels to generate electricity.

About 170 local farmers are diversifying into growing the grass crop to feed the steam-turbine generator.

All rights reserved. � 2005 Agence France-Presse. Sections of the information displayed on this page (dispatches, photographs, logos) are protected by intellectual property rights owned by Agence France-Presse. As a consequence, you may not copy, reproduce, modify, transmit, publish, display or in any way commercially exploit any of the content of this section without the prior written consent of Agence France-Presse.

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Officials Inaugurate U.S.-Backed Pipeline
Washington (UPI) May 25, 2005
Officials Wednesday began filling the U.S.-backed $3.6 billion Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline transporting Caspian crude to western markets. Leaders from Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Georgia and Turkey inaugurated the pipeline at the opening ceremony at an oil terminal near the Azeri capital of Baku.

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