Caroline Russell by Chris King Photography

News from Caroline Russell: Mayor admits 'we can do much better' on TfL’s renewable energy

19 July 2019

Just 0.01% of TfL’s energy comes from renewable sources revealed Caroline Russell yesterday. This is despite a target for rail services under the Mayor’s control to be zero carbon by 2030. Caroline called for the Mayor to use his considerable procurement power to boost production of renewable energy.  

The Mayor admitted more needed to be done saying, "You [Caroline Russell] are right, we can do much better."

Caroline Russell said:

Given the climate emergency, getting TfL’s energy supply from 0.01 per cent renewables to 100% is critical. The Mayor must put this right and urgently, particularly as Tfl is the biggest energy user in London.

The Mayor has huge influence over TfL energy contracts as they come up for renewal. All the bodies under the Mayor, including the London Fire Brigade, Metropolitan Police Service and Transport for London should switch to a 100 per cent green energy supply. We can see it’s possible as City Hall has recently done it.

However, for the Mayor to get rail services under his control to zero carbon by 2030, he must change his energy purchasing strategy. He needs to enter longer term agreements with renewable energy suppliers, supporting solar and onshore wind projects. This is great opportunity to back major renewable schemes. A number already have planning permission and just need a contract to be built.

Is TfL on track for rail services under its control to be zero emission by 2030?

Notes to editors

1) Caroline Russell AM is available for interview
2) Link to YouTube clip  
3) GLA functional bodies and renewables
MQT on 2019-06-20
Reference:  2019/12022


Caroline Russell:
Thank you for your answer to my question 2019/8862 in which you confirmed that City Hall has switched to: “100 per cent green energy with renewable electricity supplied by Ecotricity and green gas by Corona.” What proportion of Transport for London (TfL), Metropolitan Police Service (MPS), London Fire Brigade and Mayoral Development Corporations energy use is from non-fossil fuel renewable sources? Will you provide this data for each financial year from 2014-15 to 2018-19 showing total energy use along with the proportion from renewables?
Mayor’s Answer: 
The GLA Group is committed to meet a 60 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions on 1990 levels by 2025. The Group is on track to meet this target.
As part of the carbon reduction commitment, the GLA is working with the Functional Bodies looking at how to use their collective energy demand to encourage more renewable energy investment.
Work to maximise the use of on-site renewables is underway. LFB has installed solar across 65 sites, which is over 50 per cent of its buildings and is reviewing options for further installations. TfL is progressing 1.1 MW of solar installations on its buildings through the RE:FIT programme, and MPS has mapped their potential for renewables across their estates and is now looking at which sites they can take forward, where viable.
In terms of switching to a green tariff, in April 2019 City Hall switched to a 100% renewable energy provider. The rest of the GLA Group were not able to switch immediately due to their existing energy contracts. The GLA is working with the Functional Bodies to assess how they can best support further additional investment in renewables through their energy procurement.
In the meantime, Functional Bodies are focusing their carbon reduction actions in key areas that cut carbon and save money such as moving their fleet to zero emission vehicles and improving the energy efficiency of their buildings.
The table below shows energy usage across the GLA Group, with the proportion of total energy use from renewables, either from on-site renewables or certified green (100% renewable) electricity and gas tariffs for the last five financial years.










Total energy usage (MWh) for both electricity and gas




Not currently available

Total and proportion of energy usage from renewable sources (MWh)







Not currently available


Total energy usage (MWh) for both electricity and gas





Total and proportion of energy usage from renewable sources (MWh)










Total energy usage (MWh) for both electricity and gas





Total and proportion of energy usage from renewable sources (MWh)










Total energy usage (MWh) for both electricity and gas





Total and proportion of energy usage from renewable sources (MWh)










Total energy usage (MWh) for both electricity and gas




Not currently available

Total and proportion of energy usage from renewable sources (MWh)



Not currently available



Not currently available



Please note the data above does not take into account the renewable proportion of the standard electricity grid supply.
Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation (OPDC) is a sub-tenant to the London Fire Brigade and therefore their data is embedded within the LFB's entry.
[1] TfL's generates approx.. 200 MWh p.a. from on-site renewable energy – this is an estimated figure
[2] LLDC does not have a contract for gas consumption
4) Copied from: TfL Safety, Sustainability and Human Resources Panel, Energy Strategy Update, 10 July 2019
Private wire
6.19 (summary of para) TfL has provision to explore feasibility of private wire opportunities within 2019/20 and are undertaking a study of third-party land that could be developed for solar generation to directly supply TfL’s assets and will conclude this summer. 
Grid Procurement
6.21 Current Business Plan: Through the Crown Commercial Service (CCS), we continue to operate a flexible purchasing strategy in relatively short-term markets. Our current procurement authority enables us to purchase out to March 2022. Market engagement and benchmarking with other large consumers confirms that it continues to deliver value for money.
6.22 Feasibility work undertaken: To enable the purchase of renewable energy we have undertaken market engagement and are currently determining the procurement route and value for money implications of Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs). PPAs have the potential to provide fixed term prices over longer periods and deliver (albeit indirectly) renewable energy for TfL. There are a number of solar and onshore wind projects that have planning permission but need a contract to be built. Therefore, by entering into a long-term contract, we could help bring forward new renewable projects and contribute to decarbonising the electricity grid. Depending on the market fluctuations over that period, this may or may not provide TfL with a financial benefit.
6.23 Entering into PPAs presents different risks compared to our current purchasing
(a) Decreasing cost of renewables: Our ambition is to enter contracts that enable more renewable generation to be built on the UK grid. PPAs that deliver this additionality would involve TfL locking in a price for power over a longer period of time than the current strategy (typically for over 15 years).
6.24 Next steps for Grid Procurement: Our existing strategy through CCS has achieved value for money. However as the market has matured we are now considering introducing some alternative contracting methods. Our ambition is to achieve additional renewable generation on grid and this will take time to deliver. So in the shorter term we may purchase from existing renewable assets to balance risk across the portfolio
Grid procurement
7.4 The grid is forecast to decarbonise by over 55 per cent to 2030 as more renewable assets are constructed and as the proportion of electricity produced from fossil fuel sources reduces. Therefore, the electricity supplied to TfL‟s assets from grid will decarbonise as the „grid mix‟ becomes greener, as shown in figure 4.
7.5 TfL‟s projected (baseline) emissions from rail electricity in 2030 are c140 k tonnes of CO2. The LES target is to shift to zero carbon and this would necessitate a change in TfL‟s purchasing strategy, for example by entering into longer term power purchase agreements (PPAs) with renewable energy suppliers. Rather than directly reducing TfL‟s carbon emissions that can be achieved through the infrastructure projects referred to in figure 3, this intervention could enable the „grid mix‟ to become greener through TfL entering into contracts that enable more renewable assets to be built. This would decarbonise the UK electricity system, but TfL would only benefit indirectly (as we would not be the sole recipient of the electricity). Our objectives to the procurement of PPAs are:
(a) we can be confident they would provide a cost saving or be cost neutral;
7.6 Through CCS, TfL currently purchases ~36 months ahead and longer term agreements present different risks and potential benefits, as outlined in paragraphs 6.23 - 6.24. Our proposed approach to securing PPAs is incremental, in order to benefit from the anticipated falling price curve of renewables, whilst aligning to the Mayor‟s carbon ambitions. This approach is split by purchasing from existing renewable assets available on grid and contracts that enable additional renewable assets to be delivered on grid. The volumes proposed form our approach, but will change as further detailed analysis is undertaken as part of the procurement strategy. At this stage (and subject to approval), it is envisaged that Procurement Authority and PPA price range would be pre-agreed to allow greater flexibility in
8.3 Grid Procurement: Continuation of our existing purchasing strategy will be presented to the Finance Committee in December 2019; this paper will include an update on progress of work being undertaken with our procurement partner/energy risk manger (CCS), concerning programme and timing of securing PPAs. Due to the likely value of any PPA agreement, the benefits, risks and procurement authority sought will be outlined and presented to the Finance Committee during Spring 2020.

Share this page