Published: 10 Aug 2022, 11:03
Network Rail has signed a new power purchase agreement with EDF Renewables for its 49.9MW Bloy’s Grove solar farm.
The agreement will cover 15% of Network Rail’s annual consumption of non-traction energy, helping it a step closer to sourcing 100% of such energy from renewables by 2030, a target laid out in its Environmental Sustainability Strategy.
“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 Jo Lewington, Network Rail’s chief environment and sustainability officer.
“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.”
Bloy’s Grove gained planning consent from South Norfolk District Council in June. EDF is now working with the local community and the council to plan the next steps of the construction and operation of the site, which sits between Swainsthorpe and Mulbarton in Norfolk.
It is one of a flurry of 50MW solar sites under development by the renewables arm of the French energy giant. This including its East Stour Solar Farm in Kent, its Burwell site in South East Cambridgeshire and the Porth Wen site in Anglesey.
In April, EDF started construction of the Sutton Bridge Solar Farm began, in May it submitted a planning application for a solar farm in Northamptonshire and in 2021 it submitted an application for its Tye Lane Solar Farm.
Additionally, in July it unveiled a plan for a 100MW renewable energy park in Neath Port Talbot, South Wales.
EDF Renewable’s new agreement with Network Rail builds on an existing traction supply partnership between the rail operator and the wider EDF Group in the UK.
“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,” said Matthieu Hue, CEO of EDF Renewables UK.
“This also demonstrates our ability to develop competitive and affordable renewable power projects in the UK as well as underpinning the importance of all renewable technologies in de-carbonising the UK electricity system to reach the country’s net zero targets by 2050.”