Transport for London (TfL) is planning to source all its electricity requirements for the Underground from zero carbon sources by 2030 via power purchase agreements (PPAs).
All passenger rail services operated by TfL are electrically powered and, as part of the London Environment Strategy, Mayor Sadiq Khan has set TfL the goal of achieving a zero-carbon railway by 2030.
TfL is one of the largest consumers of electricity in the UK, with a requirement for 1.6 terrawatt-hours a year.
It currently sources electricity directly from the National Grid via the Crown Commercial Service.
By developing plans to purchase power from renewable generators through PPAs, TfL would enable the rail network to be supplied by energy sources including wind and solar power.
Market testing will explore all elements of these contracts so TfL can secure a good deal for London.
It will also look at the potential for meeting the Greater London Authority group’s wider demand for renewable electricity.
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: “As one of the single biggest purchasers of energy in London, it is important that TfL leads the way on green energy.
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.”
Renewable Energy Association chief executive Nina Skorupska said: “We welcome the leadership shown by the Mayor and Transport for London with this initiative, which will help decarbonise the Capital’s Tube and reduce energy costs.
“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.”