Ten-year deal powers Britain’s biggest rail electrification programme in a generation: David Higgins, chief executive

Friday 11 Jan 2013

Ten-year deal powers Britain’s biggest rail electrification programme in a generation

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Network Rail has awarded EDF Energy a ten-year deal for the supply of low carbon electricity to power Britain’s growing electrified rail network.

The contract will see EDF Energy, the largest producer of low-carbon energy in the UK, supply around 3.2TWh of electricity a year, powering a network which carries 3m passengers and tens of thousands of tonnes of freight a day. EDF Energy will ensure 100% of the electricity it supplies to Network Rail will be matched by low carbon energy generated from its eight nuclear power stations.

The majority of electricity supplied will be used to power electric trains, which now account for 55% of rail traffic. This is set to grow considerably over the coming years as Network Rail carries out work to electrify more than 2,000 track miles across Britain.

Once electrification schemes are complete including the Great Western Main Line, Liverpool to Manchester and Preston, the ‘electric spine’ from Southampton docks to the West Midlands and Yorkshire, three-quarters of all rail traffic in Britain will be electric powered.

David Higgins, Network Rail chief executive, said: “Rail is already the greenest form of public transport and this partnership with EDF Energy will help us make it greener still. Our work to electrify hundreds of miles of railway represents the biggest programme of rail electrification in a generation and will provide faster, quieter and more reliable journeys for millions of passengers every week while cutting the cost of the railway.

“Thanks to a firm commitment from government to invest in electrification schemes across the country, we are transforming the railway and providing Britain with a sustainable, world-class transport system that is fit for the future. This innovative contract for low-carbon energy will provide excellent value to the rail industry and means we are not only providing a greener railway, but also a better value railway for Britain.”

Vincent de Rivaz, CEO of EDF Energy, said: "Network Rail is the biggest single electricity customer in the UK so this long term deal is a massive vote of confidence in our nuclear-backed energy. Rail is already one of the least carbon intensive ways to travel and the huge investment in electrification will be backed by a stable and affordable supply of low carbon energy.

"The deal places nuclear energy at the heart of the UK's infrastructure for the next 10 years and serves to underline that nuclear power is part of everyday life in Britain. It's a big boost for EDF Energy following our success in winning the supply contract for the UK Government – which includes the NHS, Highways Agency and the Metropolitan Police – along with a deal agreed last year to supply the majority of Scotland's public bodies."

Under the ground-breaking arrangement, EDF Energy is offering Network Rail the unique capability to purchase their electricity requirements up to 10 years in advance, helping to deliver greater certainty over costs and significantly reduce exposure to short term, volatile energy prices.

With a network containing more than 20,000 miles of railway, tens of thousands of signals and hundreds of signal boxes controlling 25,000 trains a day, Network Rail is the single biggest consumer of electricity in Britain.

Network Rail procures electricity centrally for the rail industry. Traction electricity charges recover the costs of electricity supplied by Network Rail to train operators for their use of traction electricity through overhead lines and third rail power systems.

Currently only 40% of the rail network is electrified, including most of the south east of England, and the main lines from London to Edinburgh and Glasgow, as well as the Merseyrail network around Liverpool and the Glasgow suburban network. By 2020, 54% of the network will be electrified with electric trains accounting for 75% of all rail traffic.

Notes to editors

Proposed electrification schemes:
On Tuesday 8 January 2013, Network Rail set out its plans to build a bigger, better railway for Britain over the 2014-19 funding period. These plans included the following electrification schemes:
• Great Western Main Line (Maidenhead to Oxford, Newbury, Bristol and Cardiff) and Thames Valley branches
• Cardiff to Swansea and Welsh Valley lines
• Midland Main Line (Bedford to Corby, Nottingham, Derby and Sheffield)
• North-West Electrification Scheme (Liverpool to Manchester, Manchester to Preston and Blackpool)
• Transpennine Electrification Scheme (Manchester to Leeds and York)
• Electric spine (Southampton to Nuneaton and Bedford via Oxford)

Benefits of an electrified railway:
• Electric trains are not only better for the environment, but are quieter and smoother for passengers while causing less wear and tear to the track.
• They are more reliable and often faster.
• Further electrification will also help open up more diversionary routes, helping keep people on trains and off buses as planned rail improvement work is carried out.
• Compared to diesel traction, electric services have lower rolling stock operating costs, higher levels of train reliability and availability and lower leasing costs.
• The superior acceleration of electric trains can also help reduce journey times.
• Electric trains also provide more seats than diesel trains increasing capacity, while electric freight locomotives can haul longer trains.
• Electrification can also play a role in reducing carbon emissions as well as improving air quality and reducing noise.
• Electric vehicles, on average, emit 20% to 30% fewer CO2 emissions than diesel.

Network Rail has signed up to an EDF Energy Blue product, which comes with a guarantee that the electricity supplied to a customer is matched by electricity from low-carbon nuclear generation. The product is currently available to both residential and business customers.

About EDF Energy
EDF Energy is one of the UK's largest energy companies and the largest producer of low-carbon electricity, producing around one-sixth of the nation's electricity from its nuclear power stations, wind farms, coal and gas power stations and combined heat and power plants. The company supplies gas and electricity to more than 5.5 million business and residential customer accounts and is the biggest supplier of electricity by volume in Great Britain.

EDF Energy's safe and secure operation of its eight existing nuclear power stations at sites across the country makes it the UK's largest generator of low carbon electricity. EDF Energy is also leading the UK's nuclear renaissance and has published plans to build four new nuclear plants, subject to the right investment framework. These new plants could generate enough low carbon electricity for about 40% of Britain's homes. They would make an important contribution to the UK's future needs for clean, secure and affordable energy. The project is already creating business and job opportunities for British companies and workers.

Through Our Sustainability Commitments, EDF Energy has launched one of the biggest environmental and social programmes of any British energy company. In the 2012 Business in the Community Awards for Excellence EDF Energy won the awards for Environmental Leadership and Building Stronger Communities. In addition the company received eight BITC "Big Tick" awards in recognition of responsible business practice and was shortlisted for Responsible Business of the Year.

EDF was an official partner and the electricity supplier of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The company is also helping its customers and others use energy more sustainably through products and initiatives such as Team Green Britain, real time energy monitoring and electric vehicle research.

EDF Energy is part of EDF Group, one of Europe's largest power companies. The company employs around 15,000 people at locations across the UK.

For more news from EDF Energy please see www.edfenergy.com/media-centre/ . To find out more about the UK's energy challenges look at www.edfenergy.com/energyfuture/

EDF Energy media contact: Nick Foley, senior media relations manager - 020 7752 2196

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We own, operate and develop Britain's railway infrastructure; that's 20,000 miles of track, 30,000 bridges, tunnels and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations. We run 20 of the UK's largest stations while all the others, over 2,500, are run by the country's train operating companies.

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