Solar power expansion and energy efficiency drive announced by Transport for London

Transport for London (TfL) has announced a £4.5 million programme of refurbishment, including an increase in solar power installations and new energy efficiency measures in buildings and bus stations.

The announcement of the programme was made concurrently with the unveiling of the mayor’s £34 million Energy for Londoners scheme on 31 January, of which this is a part.

TfL will work with French electric utility Engie on the major retrofitting programme which once completed will have the combined potential to provide 1.1MW of electricity, and help cut TfL’s CO2emissions by around 480 tonnes a year, the equivalent of boiling 16 million kettles. The Mayor will also trial a solar purchase scheme to reduce the costs of solar panels for Londoners through bulk-buying later this year.

Presently, Tfl generates around 245kW of electricity from solar panels on its buildings. As part of the programme, solar will now be added to 24 buildings, including train crew accommodation, train depots, manufacturing workshops and river piers.

Commenting in the online publication Solar Power Portal, Graeme Craig, director of commercial development at TfL, said improving London’s air quality and reducing the city’s impact on the environment were key elements of the Mayor’s Transport Strategy. He said that the expansion of its solar capability “will ensure we do this in a cost efficient and technologically-advanced way.”

Sadiq Khan’s office said the mayor has an ambition for more of London’s energy to be powered from local clean energy sources, aiming for 1GW of energy generated from solar by 2030. He has already launched a Community Energy Fund to help local groups develop solar panel projects on schools, community halls, and sport centres.

The announcement from Tfl said London is the first public body to secure a junior electricity licence. During a 12-month pilot scheme, City Hall will buy locally generated cleaner energy and use it to power TfL buildings. The scheme, which went live in January 2018, will use energy bought from Peabody Services and Scottish & Southern Energy (SSE Heat Networks), to help power two Transport for London depots – Northfields in Ealing and Northumberland Park in Haringey. Both of the busy train depots service and maintain Tube trains round the clock. The Mayor is also helping both the public and the private sector to build larger-scale heat networks, including the use of local sources, like waste heat from the Tube, through a £3.5m Decentralised Energy Enabling Project to help make London cleaner and smarter.

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