Film London launches renewable energy initiative

Construction for the Grid Project is currently underway in Victoria Park

By KFTV Staff 21 Apr 2022

Film London launches renewable energy initiative

Film London has launched the Grid Project — a scheme supplying renewable energy to productions across the capital in a bid to cut CO2 emissions and noise pollution.

Construction for The Grid Project is currently underway in Victoria Park, Tower Hamlets — which pilots the supply of green energy via the mains network - with the installation of an electrical feeder pillar at its it hub; and a view to expand the Project to Battersea Park and North Horse Ride through future fundraising.

Location shoots currently use diesel or petrol generators at unit bases for their energy supply. In-depth analysis completed by appointed engineering consultant ARUP for Victoria Park, estimated that in 2018 production generators consumed 64,082 litres of diesel and 1,656 litres of petrol and the estimated CO2 emitted by the generators was 169,556kg.

The electrical feeder pillars that productions can plug into as an alternative, would cut CO2 emissions by 100%, and PM (Particulate Matter) and NO2 (Nitrogen Dioxide) emissions to zero from film and TV productions at point of use; as well as reduce noise pollution. The cabinets will also be available for use during events — which will see the reduction of diesel generator usage from other industries.

Grid Project has garnered support from prominent film, environment and policy stakeholders  — with funding from the Mayor’s Good Growth Fund supported through the London Economic Action Partnership. NBC Universal, Interreg Europe’s Green Screen and the British Film Commission are also pivotal to the project’s fruition.

The pilot will be co-delivered with Tower Hamlets Council and The Film Office, ARUP, UKPN, appointed contractor Ingenious Power and bespoke power distribution pillar specialist Lucy Zodion; with 100% renewable energy supplied by SSE (Scottish Southern Energy).

Commenting on the scheme, Adrian Wootton OBE, Chief Executive of Film London and the British Film Commission, said:  “With demand for content higher than ever and the sheer popularity of London as a filming destination, our industry faces a growing imperative to be more sustainable. Innovations such as the Grid Project will reduce emissions and noise pollution whilst continuing to make world-class content on location.

He continued: “Film London is extremely proud to be leading this project, and I hope its development inspires other councils and unit base sites across London and beyond to follow suit.”

Deputy mayor for environment and energy, Shirley Rodrigues said: “Whilst the Mayor of London has made huge strides in cleaning up the capital’s toxic air, there is still more to do. […] The Grid Project, supported by the Mayor’s Good Growth Fund, will pilot electricity from 100 per cent renewable sources at some of London’s key film locations, eliminating the use of toxic diesel generators and helping to tackle climate change and reduce pollution exposure for the parks’ visitors.”

Veronica Sullivan,senior vice president, head of global production external affairs, NBCUniversal added: “NBCUniversal is proud to join The Grid Project and help reduce the footprint of the entertainment community in London. Supporting local efforts in the places where we do business is important to us and we’re thrilled to join Film London in making productions more sustainable.”

On the outskirts of London, Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden prides itself on being a zero-landfill site - with over 65% of site waste recycled and the remainder converted into energy — as outlined in KFTV’s Sustainability Report (November 2021).

Iver’s Pinewood Studios runs on electricity generated from renewable sources - with 84% of its operational vehicles fully electric or hybrid and supports productions seeking to achieve certification from Albert - a prominent environmental organisation funded by the screen industry.

Meanwhile in Los Angeles, ’The Green is Universal’ strategy has been implemented at the Universal Studios lot. The scheme encourages the use of public transport, a dining recycle programme, LED set lighting, sustainable production practices, a zero-waste recycling programme and a low-emissions transportation department.

Other studio and streaming heavyweights such as Disney, Netflix and HBO have also launched their own sustainability schemes: Netflix pledges it will achieve net-zero greenhouse emissions by the end of 2022 and Disney’s will focus on greenhouse gas emissions, water, waste, materials and sustainable design by 2030.

HBO launched an official sustainable production pilot in 2019 called HBO Green, with goals and policies in place for all scripted productions. It also hired Heidi Kindberg as the director of sustainability to manage new initiatives.

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