HS1 to become first UK railway to run on renewable energy

Helen Coffey
The HS1 line runs from St Pancras until it goes underground in Kent (Getty Images)
The HS1 line runs from St Pancras until it goes underground in Kent (Getty Images)

HS1 is set to become the first UK railway to be entirely powered by renewable energy.

The high-speed link between London, Kent and the Channel Tunnel has obtained Renewable Electricity Guarantee of Origin (REGO) certificates from its electricity supplier, npower Business Solutions.

This means that, going forward, all energy supplied to the rail operator is guaranteed to be from sustainable sources, such as wind and solar power.

The move will enable HS1 to report zero-carbon emissions for the electricity it uses to power both trains and stations.

“HS1 is the Green Gateway to Europe,” said Dyan Crowther, CEO of HS1 Ltd, while speaking at the launch of its sustainability strategy.

“The UK’s only high-speed railway already delivers phenomenal environmental benefits to the UK and beyond. We are helping consumers reduce their carbon footprint while still enjoying safe, fast and reliable travel at home and abroad.

“As we recover from the Covid crisis, environmental challenges will move further up the political and public agenda, and HS1 can provide a lasting solution to sustainable travel.”

Although the REGOs are already in place, the supply contract award is expected to be ready in several months’ time, by March 2022 – at which point HS1 will be powered by 100 per cent renewable energy.

The company has also pledged to become fully carbon neutral within the next 10 years.

Working with its partners Eurostar and Southeastern High Speed, HS1 is aiming to reduce the carbon footprint of every passenger by 25 per cent and to cut energy per train journey by 10 per cent.

Chris Heaton-Harris, Minister of State at the Department for Transport, said: “We are absolutely committed to driving forward a greener, cleaner and more efficient railway, and it is fantastic to see HS1 making such significant strides towards decarbonising their network.

“Offering passengers more sustainable, greener forms of transport is crucial to achieving our bold and ambitious vision for a net zero carbon transport system by 2050.”

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