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London Underground aims for net zero through the use of renewable energy

London Underground

If the UK hopes to achieve its goal of net zero emissions by 2050, it needs the largest energy consumers in the country to reduce their carbon footprint. That’s why it’s positive news that London Underground has vowed to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030. 

Transport for London has confirmed that in order to achieve net zero for London Underground, it will have to transition to 100% renewable energy. That will be quite a feat, as the organisation is London’s biggest electricity consumer, requiring 1.6TWh of electricity every year to power its operations. That’s the equivalent of powering 437,000 homes. 

The London Underground alone consumes 1.2TWh of electricity each and every year, and right now just 16% of its energy is drawn from green sources. A study by British Business Energy estimated that 200 wind turbines or 5.6 million solar panels would be needed to power the network completely on renewables for one year. Thankfully, Transport for London is turning to energy suppliers to provide green energy, rather than relying on building its own green energy sources. 

“As one of the single biggest purchasers of energy in London, it is important that TfL leads the way on green energy,” said Sadiq Khan, the current Mayor of London.

“This is a vital step towards my ambitions for TfL – and London – to be zero-carbon by 2030.”

The London Underground might not be the first metro system to be powered using mostly renewable electricity, however. Santiago’s metro system – which transports approximately 2.4 million passengers each day – was aiming for that very same goal in 2017. The Chilean government has been utilising both solar and wind to power at least 60% of the electricity demand for Latin America’s second largest metro system. It’s likely that other metro systems around the world will follow London and Santiago’s lead.

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