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London Underground To Become 100% Renewable

London underground station
Author: Jack Lloyd
Updated: Jun 29, 2022
2 minutes read

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has begun the London Underground’s plan to decarbonize the city’s 150-year-old underground railway network.

According to the Power Purchase Agreement tender published on the UK Government website, London’s transport authority has launched a bid to buy £200 million of renewable energy sources, such as wind or solar power from a new-build facility. This will be over a 15-year period and begin between January 2024 and June 2026.

The transport authority is seeking a power purchase agreement for 150 to 200 gigawatt hours a year, equivalent to just over 10% of its electricity use.

To put this into scale, a gigawatt is equal to one billion watts and according to the Department of Energy, it would take over three million solar panels to generate just one gigawatt of power. A typical residential solar panel installation is 10 panels, so to achieve the same amount of power needed, 6,000,000 properties would need to install a solar panel system. According to the MCS Installations Database, just over 1,000,000 properties in England currently have solar panels.

This transition will help London meet the mayor’s net-zero carbon target by 2030.

The London Underground is one of the UK’s largest consumers of electricity and uses 1.6TWh on just the tube alone. It’s the equivalent to the electricity consumed by around 420,000 homes or 12% of homes in London.

The Mayor also announced that London has signed the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty, a global plan to phase out the production of fossil fuels and accelerate a fair transition to clean energy. According to the latest report made by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 86% of all carbon dioxide emissions are down to coal, oil and gas in the past decade. The world is estimated to produce more than twice as much coal, oil and gas by 2030.

This will be a landmark achievement and will hopefully encourage areas around the UK to follow suit and aim for a greener future. Time will only tell if it will be enough to put the gears in motion for wider changes to be adopted across the whole of the country.

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