Blackfriars will be world's biggest solar bridge

Treehugger reports that Blackfriars Bridge, currently being rebuilt as part of the Thameslink programme, will be the world's largest solar bridge when it reopens in 2012.

The station, which will  will serve as a station with exits on the north and south of the Thames, is the final destination for many Crofton Park commuters, will generate 50% of its power requirements from solar (900,000 kwh per year).


Lou Baker said...

Blackfriars is no longer the final destination for Crofton Park commuters.

The trains go to City Thameslink and St Pancras International - and even on to Kentish Town, St Albans and Bedford - should you be so inclined.

In fact, if you look very hard as you whizz through Farringdon at 0.5 miles an hour you can probably see Monkeyboy having a cuppa and a hobnob.

Anonymous said...

Wow, sounds good!

Anonymous said...

Is the plan for the trains from Crofton Park to Victoria that currently run at weekends and evenings to stop and be replaced by trains via Blackfriars after 2012?

Anonymous said...

Is this why the trains run slowly to / from London on thameslink at the moment? Some services say 22 minutes, other are 27 minutes?

Anonymous said...

Anon 15:28, I hope not - that Crofton -> Victoria route is really useful sometimes.

Mb said...

Lou, text me next time. I'll wave.

Brockley Kipper said...

Ideally I'd like a mix of direct Blackfriars and Victoria trains from Crofton Park throughout the week . . . .
Not holding my breath though, this timetabling lark is just voodoo!

Anonymous said...

Could Monkeyboy get me 4-5 of the green tiles on the wall by the exit at Farringdon.?

I need some to replace some cracked ones in a fireplace at home.


mb said...

Im not smuggling tiles past the Heritage police!

patrick1971 said...

I believe the plan is that the weekend Victoria service from Crofton Park will cease and all trains will go via Blackfriars and St Pancras to Kentish Town and onwards, same as on a weekday. Although if the pattern of engineering work on Thameslink is the same after redevelopment as it was before, I can guarantee that almost every second weekend the trains will go to Victoria still...

The Crofton Park Transport User Group is working with South Eastern to ensure that trains are coordinated so there's an easy change with a short wait at Peckham Rye or Denmark Hill for Victoria trains.

johnse18 said...

What a bizarre project.

If (taking the figure in the post) it provides 900,000 kWh per year I make that an average of 100 kW - about enough to power 50 electric kettles or about 1/20 of the (theoretical) rating of a typical wind turbine (2MW). What happens when the Sun doesn't shine?

Both solar and wind are totally useless for providing base load. They also screw up the environments of far away people of which we know little, through the messy extraction of essential materials:

and for neodymium, used in wind turbines:

Last time I looked, underneath Blackfriars Bridge was a great big river. If they were to go for "renewable" energy supply, wouldn't water be more logical?

Brockley Nick said...

"What happens when the Sun doesn't shine?"

Presumably the 900,000kwh projection takes in to account a certain number of cloudy days.

Presumably harnessing the hydro potential of the Thames is tricky at a point in the river which is so heavily used by boats, etc.

johnse18 said...

Well I'd be a bit hesitant to presume too much, especially in view of the habit of wind turbine enthusiasts to quote the maximum rating of a turbine when at full throttle in order to make exaggerated claims of the energy available. Even if they have already taken into account a proportion of cloudy days, the average power output seems puny.

But the question remains what happens when the Sun doesn't shine but energy is required? Will they have stored energy from sunny spells? And how would it be stored -batteries??

It may be that there are insuperable problems with hydroelectric here - I'm not a hydroelectric engineer so I wouldn't know. But if it were possible it would at least be fairly reliable and one could in principle store excess energy by pumping water uphill or some sort of tower.

Seems a bit of a pointless gimmic to me.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Patrick1971. It will be a real shame though if direct trains to and from Victoria stop at weekends as they are arguably much more useful than trains through to Blackfriars etc. Any chance do you think of them continuing after 2012 - much better than being reliant on a connecting train also running and being on time?

Brockley Nick said...

@John - when the sun doesn't shine, they draw power off the grid, same as normal. Overall, over the course of the year, they believe it will generate half the station's power needs.

Sure, it's a bit gimmicky, but it's a decent use of roof space and will pay for itself over time, so why not?

Lou Baker said...


Solar panels work on light not just on sunshine - so they still produce electricity on cloudy days. Obviously they produce more in the summer than the winter - because there are more daylight hours.

A bit gimmicky? Perhaps. But solar panels can easily help cut overall electricity consumption by 20-30% so they are worthwhile - particularly as fuel is so expensive.

I am a massive fan of green energy. It is absolutely where our country needs to be. One day the oil will run out. And if we haven't choked our planet to death before then we'll need an alternative. Nuclear is a short term option - in the longer term we have to harness the full power of the tides and waves as these are reliable. Unlike wind and solar. But I applaud anyone who makes a start on the road to getting the planet where it needs to be.

And the naysayers are, as far as I can tell, all ignorant f***wits. Usually right wing Tory's and loony lefties - scumbags.

johnse18 said...

It only pays for itself by virtue of government subsidies - not in any real sense.

All these intermittent and unpredictable "renewable" sources rely on installed back up power from conventional power stations, so that energy can be taken from the grid when needed. So they don't remove the need for any conventional power stations.

On the comparatively rare occasions when they do produce appreciable power, their intermittency just introduces instability into the system.

An example is the recent high winds, in which rich landowners with wind turbines on their land were paid in order NOT to generate power, because it was destabilising the supply. Normally they are paid subsidies to produce insignificant power and the costs are born by increased fuel bills for all power users including those on low incomes.

But if it helps the greenies to feel good about themselves it's all been worthwhile...

Lou Baker said...

I find people who rely on The Guardian as their only source of information are usually wrong - and insufferable bores too.

Solar power pays for itself WITHOUT the feed in tariff scheme. Sure, the payback time is increased but it is still a worthwhile long term investment.

There is - absolutely - an element of unpredictability, particularly with wind power. But that doesn't mean it's not the right thing to do. While it is crazy to be paying people to not produce energy - that's a flaw with the legislation not with the principle of green power.

The fact is that, one day, the world will have to learn to run entirely on renewable energy. We are still in the early pioneering stages. And without pioneers we'll never get there.

And I am as far from being a greenie as anyone.

Monkeyboy said...

John, all power has some kind of tax/penalty/subsidy applied depending on the percieved importance and impact. Petrol has high tax, nuclear is subsidised, green energy is subsidised to encourage takeup, loft insulation is subsidised, carbon is taxed.

It's not an even playing field, taxation and subsidy is one of the most powerful tools that governments have to shape the world we live in. They also use building regs, planning law etc, etc.... If it was left to short term decisions and simple availability of energy we would be building huge coal powered power stations, we'll all be dead before it REALLY causes problems. That's why we tax and regulate to discourage people building them now.

Good to see Lou uniting the disperate voices with a carefully chosen sentance. Secretary General of the UN, take note.

johnse18 said...

Er - I don't see how linking to the Grauniad makes me reliant on them as my sole source of information! I linked to the Daily Mail further up. Neither of them is my sole source of information. I linked to Monbiot because he is a prominent greenie and even he can see through this nonsense.

If solar and wind are both worthwhile without subsidy this does raise the question of why they are in fact heavily subsidised. Presumably people would be rushing to install them on their own property anyway? Perhaps the Prime Minister's father in law would still have turbines on his land even without the £1000 per day he is getting in subsidy?

> And the naysayers are, as far as > I can tell, all ignorant > >f***wits. Usually right wing >Tory's and loony lefties - >scumbags.

"Anyone who disagrees with me is a fuckwit and a scumbag, and furthermore is obviously either right wing or left wing." Brilliant !!

Lou Baker said...

The problem with solar panels and with wind turbines is that they are incredibly expensive to buy.

You're looking at £10k plus for an average house.

With the best will in the world not many families have that sort of spare money knocking around.

And try borrowing it from a bank at the moment. So, of course there needs to be help.

I don't mind whether you are left or right wing. But energy is a key issue. Renewables make sense. They are better for the planet, they won't run out, in the long run they are cheaper, they are more secure. We will have to have them one day. They tick lots of boxes that fossil fuels don't.

It staggers me that people on the far right and far left of politics can not see this. I have absolutely no time for the Greens. I think they are mostly well meaning but misguided sandal wearing buffoons. But renewable is one area I feel very passionate about. And it saddens me that we have been so slow at adopting it and that the naysayers haven't been put firmly under the rock they crawled out from.

max said...

Lou, renewables and solar power and feed in tariffs are distinct issues.

I find George Monbiot's argument compelling, and I also make a further consideration, that with feed in tariffs all the possible small personal investments for these kind of small scale renewables are channelled into these few technogies that are proven to be only effective to a point.
Someone coming up with a new and possibly better technology would find a market that's been already mopped up by the old technologies - almost a disincentive to innovation.

Lou Baker said...


I didn't say they weren't.

And I didn't say government policy wasn't screwed up - it is.

As usual government is more of a problem than a solution.

You could do you bit for global warming by installing solar panels on your house. (And - like most lefties - by releasing less hot air.)

Anonymous said...

Lou, you say govenment is the problem then say you support taxing/subsidising/legislation to shape energy use and production. You seem confused.

(by the way your snide remarks undermine your arguments even when halfway decent, which is admitedly rare)

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