Smart Transport

London tube ready to switch to renewable energy on path to zero emissions by 2030

Transport for London has set out its renewable energy requirements as part of its ambition for a zero-carbon railway by 2030.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and TfL said a greater use of renewable energy will be a key measure in helping tackle the climate emergency.

The aim is that all electricity requirements for the Underground are met via zero carbon sources by 2030.

TfL is one of the largest consumers of electricity in the UK, with a requirement for 1.6TWh per annum, equivalent to the electricity consumed by over 437,000 homes which is 12% of homes across London.

TfL currently sources electricity directly from the National Grid via the Crown Commercial Service.

By developing plans to purchase power from renewable generators through Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs), TfL would enable the rail network to be supplied by energy sources including wind and solar power, rather than a mix of power generators that emit carbon into the atmosphere.

TfL will start market testing to explore all elements of these contracts so it can then secure a deal for London and will also look at the potential for meeting the Greater London Authority’s (GLA) wider demand for renewable electricity - a total of 143 GWh which includes.

The intention is to start with a TfL PPA with energy generators in a phased approach, with the ambition of considering purchasing up to 10% of its demand by Spring 2022 subject to market testing and approval from TfL’s Finance Committee later this year. 

Khan said: “This is a vital step towards my ambitions for TfL – and London – to be zero-carbon by 2030.

“Covid-19 has had a devastating impact but as we recover we want to make sure that we build a better, greener and more equal city.

“This work to secure cost-effective and renewable energy for the rail network, with ambitions to include the wider GLA group and beyond, will play a key role in London’s green recovery and accelerating action on the climate emergency.”

Dr Nina Skorupska CBE, chief executive of the Association for Renewable Energy and Clean Technologies (the REA), welcomed the announcement.

She said: “This is a major step forward for both the low-carbon transport and power sectors, and we hope to see other London boroughs also getting involved.”

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