The Central line feels as hot as the sun, and soon it could be powered by solar energy directly from the sun.
Transport for London has issued a call for information from green energy suppliers to bid to supply zero-carbon electricity for use on the London Underground.
The market testing that TfL plans to carry out will let the organisation test various suppliers of wind and solar power supplies to see which meet its requirements. The aim is to start purchasing up to 10 per cent of its demand by Spring 2022, and that all the electricity for the tube is supplied via zero-carbon sources within a decade.
TfL is currently London’s single largest consumer of electricity — and one of the largest in the UK — consuming 1.6TWh of power per annum, which TfL says is equivalent to the electricity consumed by over 437,000 homes.
TfL has previously committed to delivering 1.1 megawatts of generating capacity by retrofitting solar panels across its larger existing rooftops, but that is a drop in the ocean compared to the amount of electricity the tube trains consume.
Although still in very early stages, there is also a trial on the National Rail network to add solar power to its tracks, and this could be applied to the London Underground in the future, feeding electricity directly to the tube network, if they can iron out the issues of coping with surges in demand when trains pass along the tracks.
TfL currently sources its electricity directly from the National Grid.
The Mayor of London’s office is also planning to look for opportunities to meet London’s wider public sector electricity demand with renewables, helping achieve zero-carbon faster through collaboration with London’s local authorities’ offices, schools and leisure centres. In total, these organisations along with the GLA group currently consume around 3TWh of electricity every year.