Transport for London (TfL) has issued a tender that seeks to have a tenth of its electricity supply coming from renewable sources by 2026.
All passenger rail services operated by TfL are electrically powered and, as part of the London Environment Strategy, TfL has been set the goal of achieving a zero-carbon railway by 2030. Due to the size of its rail network, TfL is also one of the largest consumers of electricity in the UK, with a requirement for up to 1.6TWh per year. That’s equivalent to the electricity consumed by around 12 per cent of homes across London.
The organisation has been in the process of looking for a renewable supplier for some years now, with the final strategy agreed at TfL’s Finance Committee in September 2020, and in November 2020, it was agreed that TfL would issue two tenders for 10 per cent of its electricity to come from renewable sources.
In total, it was expected that contracts for 20 per cent of TfL’s electricity to be from renewable sources would be issued by now.
The original plans to start issuing tenders in 2021 were pushed back by the pandemic impact on TfL’s operations, and recent changes to the power supply market mean that TfL has also curbed its ambitions, and will now seek just 10 per cent of its supply from renewable sources, although there is an ambition to switch to full renewable supplies eventually.
TfL is currently offering a 15-year contract to the supplier, who will need to be able to supply between 150-200 GWhs of renewable energy per year to London. Unlike many renewable energy contracts where the power company buys whatever renewable supplies are available, this contract requires the supplier to seek electricity from new build sources.
That way TfL won’t be crowding out existing consumers of renewable electricity.
To help potential suppliers build the generating capacity, the GLA will also offer long-term financing to the supplier, if they want it.
Lilli Matson, Chief Safety, Health and Environment Officer at TfL, said: “As one of the largest electricity consumers in the UK, we are absolutely committed to doing what we can to decarbonise London through clean, renewable energy. TfL is already a world leader in many environmental initiatives, and we are pleased to have now started procurement on our first Power Purchase Agreement which forms the next major step in our quest to make all our services powered via renewable electricity by 2030.”
At the moment TfL buys its electricity through the procurement services and frameworks of the Crown Commercial Service, and EDF Energy is the main supplier through that contract.