Network Rail has just announced that is has signed an agreement with EDF Renewables UK to use solar power in its transition journey to a greener railway network. As part of the agreement, Network Rail will benefit from 49.9MW of renewable energy capacity, accounting for 15% of its annual non-traction energy consumption.
“Rail is already in a strong position in terms of its green credentials, but it’s crucial that we do everything we can as a business to improve air quality, minimise our use of fossil fuels, and transition to an industry powered by green, renewable, low-carbon energy,” said Network Rail chief environment and sustainability officer Jo Lewington.
“Our vision is to serve the nation with the cleanest, greenest form of public transport and this agreement marks another important step towards achieving our aims.”
The energy, which will be procured from EDF Renewables UK’s Bloy’s Grove solar farm in Norfolk, will help Network Rail get a step closer to achieving its sustainability goals for Britain. Part of the Environmental Sustainability Strategy, the agreement will enable the company to attain its 2030 target of sourcing 100% of non-traction energy from renewable sources.
The overall focus of the Environmental Sustainability Strategy is on offering a low-emission railway service that is resilient to climate change, uses sustainable materials, as well as enhances biodiversity.
“Our railway has long been the backbone of travel across the UK and, as one of the greenest forms of transport, it is set to play a central role in slashing emissions and helping us achieve our world-leading decarbonisation goals. This first of its kind agreement is a huge moment not just for Network Rail but the rail industry as a whole, setting in motion a journey which will see Britain’s favourite transport become even greener, cleaner and more sustainable,” said Rail Minister Wendy Morton.
During this time, EDF Renewables UK will be collaborating with the local community and the council for the construction and operation of its solar farm in Norfolk. The company will construct, own and operate the farm until the project lasts, while also providing a £20,000 community benefit fund annually in this regard.
“We are very pleased to be working with Network Rail to help them on their journey to decarbonisation. This project shows the ability of EDF Renewables UK to provide diverse solutions for customers in terms of low-cost renewable electricity,” concluded EDF Renewables UK CEO Matthieu Hue.
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