Network Rail Signs Solar Power Agreement with EDF Renewables UK

UK rail infrastructure manager Network Rail has signed a solar power agreement with EDF Renewables UK for 49.9MW of renewable energy capacity.

This amount is equivalent to roughly 15 percent of Network Rail’s annual non-traction energy consumption. It will come from EDF Renewables UK’s new Bloy’s Grove solar farm, which is situated between Swainsthorpe and Mulbarton in Norfolk. The solar farm obtained planning consent in June this year.

Network Rail has signed an agreement with EDF Renewables UK for 49.9MW of solar power
Network Rail has signed an agreement with EDF Renewables UK for 49.9MW of solar power

Network Rail already sources traction power from EDF Group.

The infrastructure manager has stated in its Environmental Sustainability Strategy that it is aiming for 100 percent of its non-traction energy to come from renewables by 2030.

Jo Lewington, Chief Environment and Sustainability Officer at Network Rail, said:

“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.

“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.”

Matthieu Hue, CEO of EDF Renewables UK said that renewable technologies were key to decarbonising the UK’s electricity system, specifically also in order to achieve governmental targets.

Rail Minister Wendy Morton said:

“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.”

The next step will be for EDF Renewables UK to move towards building the solar farm and making it operational. The energy supplier will build, own and operate the solar farm for the lifetime of the project, it said and would also pay 20,000 GBP per year into a ‘community benefit fund’ once the site is operational.

Network Rail’s 30-year Environmental Sustainability Strategy has four focus areas:

  • providing a low-emission railway
  • a reliable railway service that is resilient to the effects of climate change
  • improved biodiversity
  • minimal waste and sustainable use of materials

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