Press release -
Rail operator unveils first co-operative energy project on UK rail network
The new initiative is expected to save up to 50 tonnes of carbon a year, generating over 200,000 kW hours of electricity.
Rail operator Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR), which manages Southern, Thameslink and Great Northern services, is strengthening its commitment to sustainability through a new innovative co-operative energy project with community climate action group, Energy Garden.
The trial project has seen London’s Streatham Hill depot turned into a local source of renewable energy, which if successful, could see GTR extend the eco-friendly energy generation initiative to additional depots across its network.
The project will see 526 solar panels installed on the depot’s roof, projected to save 884 tonnes of carbon and generate 4,165,000kWh of electricity over a 20-year period. The panels have been installed by the Community Benefit Society Energy Garden, which works with more than 50 community groups across the rail network, with the profits to support community development.
Approximately 42% of the electricity generated on the roof throughout the year will be sold directly to GTR to power the daytime usage of the Streatham Depot. The remaining energy not used will be exported by Energy Garden to other businesses keen to improve their community and sustainability credentials. A Power Purchase Agreement has been signed with clothing company Patagonia and Younity (a joint venture between The Co-Op & Octopus Energy), which includes an additional social premium for energy purchased.
The project was inspired by GTR’s regular Sustainability Forums, which encourage stakeholders to offer feedback and ideas for improving the environmental impact of the network. The trial will be an important step toward the company’s efforts to reduce carbon emissions by 2035 and become a net zero business by 2045, as part of the wider Go-Ahead Group Climate Change Strategy, launched in July.
Over 20 years, the combined income is set to generate more than £100,000 which will fund Energy Garden’s delivery of schools’ education, youth training programmes and community gardens on the rail network.
Keith Jipps, Infrastructure Director, Govia Thameslink Railway, said,“This project offers so much. We’re utilising a large roof area and providing a great platform for solar panels, which in turn creates something of tangible value for the community and our environment, while also supporting our long-term journey to become a net zero company. It’s been really exciting to work with a team so clearly driven by creating community value with such an innovative approach.”
Agamemnon Otero MBE Founder & CEO Energy Garden said, “We are proud to work with GTR to install this solar array and generate funding for our education and greening programmes. Hundreds of thousands of passengers interact daily with energy gardens on the railway. The Energy Garden Share Offer allows passengers to take ownership of their commute and transition the railway to a net zero future.”
Beth Thoren, Environmental Action and Initiatives Director, Patagonia, said: “Getting this agreement in place demonstrated to us the complex challenges that community energy projects face in the UK. We hope that, by going through this process, we have opened doors for businesses, of all sizes, to enter their own agreements with Energy Garden and other community energy projects. Patagonia’s UK stores have a small footprint – as there’s just two of them, and a Manchester showroom - but this Power Purchase Agreement has a greater impact, making it easier for others to purchase community energy.”
Keith concluded, “If the UK is to achieve its net zero ambitions and further decarbonise, we all need to consider how we can lessen our current dependence on personal vehicles and make more of public transport. Across GTR, we are constantly working to improve our services and encourage people to use rail, as one of the most sustainable modes of transport. We’re delighted that our Sustainability Forums are providing a platform for innovative sustainability ideas to be generated and brought to life. Cars account for 55% of all transport emissions, compared to just 3% from bus and 1% from rail so the focus needed here is significant.”
The trial at Streatham Hill follows numerous projects across Govia Thameslink Railway’s network, designed to improve passenger experience and help to make stations more sustainable as part of the Station Improvement Programme [more below].
The rail operator has recently extended the roll-out of Electronic Vehicle (EV) infrastructure across the Thameslink, Great Northern and Southern railway network, with new charging points and parking bays added to the next wave of stations.
In September GTR partnered with recycling innovator, The Green Block, to launch a new initiative at Brighton station aiming to increase the station’s recycling rate to 95% from an average of 30% over the last year through a new Mobile Segregation Unit. Read more here.
For any further information please contact Spider PR on:
GTR@wearespider.com or 0207 403 6900
GTR’s Station Improvement Programme:
GTR’s network-wide, £15million improvement programme involves over 1,200 projects, many suggested by local passenger and community groups, at more than 250 stations.
The vast number and range of improvements can be described under three themes:
1. Giving many stations a better ambience by redecorating, planting and installing artwork, often with substantial input from the local community; we’ve commissioned over 200 pieces of community art
2. Making stations work better for passengers, improving comfort and safety with new waiting rooms and shelters, seating, lighting, information screens, defibrillators for public use, and accessibility schemes; we’ve installed nearly 3,000 new seats and over 100 information screens
3. Making stations more sustainable, with schemes such as electric vehicle charging points, secure facilities for cyclists, rainwater retention systems, and even bee gardens; we’re providing around 1,300 new cycle parking spaces
Read the latest on the Improving Your Stations programme here: https://www.mynewsdesk.com/uk/govia-thameslink-railway/pressreleases/making-stations-sustainable-gtr-supports-local-wheelers-wildlife-and-workforces-3123759
About Energy Garden
Energy Garden is a Community Benefit Society that invests in renewable energy infrastructure to support community development. Its mission is to empower communities and young people to take climate action into their own hands by owning renewable energy and greening London’s transport infrastructure. The initiative was founded by Agamemnon Otero MBE, installing its first garden at Brondesbury Park station in 2012. It now has 27 gardens across London’s railways and has worked with around 50 community groups in 2021 alone to implement resiliency in their local areas.
To learn more about their social and environmental programmes, visit https://www.energygarden.org.uk
Investment in the project is open to everyone aged 18 or over, with a minimum investment of £50 required.
Visit https://www.ethex.org.uk/invest/energy-garden to read the full share offer document and make an application.
For more information, contact the press office on 0203 750 2031.
Govia Thameslink Railway
Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) operates Thameslink, Great Northern, Southern and Gatwick Express services as follows:
- Thameslink – cross-London services between Bedford/Peterborough/Cambridge and Brighton/Horsham/Littlehampton/East Grinstead, and between Luton/St Albans and Sutton/Wimbledon/Rainham; plus services between London and Sevenoaks
- Great Northern – services between London and Welwyn, Hertford, Peterborough, Cambridge and King’s Lynn
- Southern – services between London and the Sussex coast (Brighton, Worthing, Eastbourne, Bognor Regis, Hastings) and parts of Surrey, Kent and Hampshire (Ashford International, Southampton, Portsmouth)
- Gatwick Express – fast, non-stop direct services between Gatwick Airport and London Victoria