Greenlight for the Grid Project

Film & TV productions that shoot on location power their Unit Base, i. e., the production and technical vehicles, with diesel generators which consume an average of 80 liters of diesel over a twelve-hour operational period. In order to achieve the Mayor’s goal of London becoming a zero- carbon city powered by clean energy by 2050, Film London developed the Grid Project which will supply green energy via the city’s electrical grid to seven key Unit Base locations that are frequently used by productions filming on location.


At each of these London Unit Bases, one or two electrical supply cabinets will be permanently installed so that productions can simply tie in to electrical power. These highly secure cabinets, which are constructed in steel, will offer remote metering It is foreseen that each cabinet will be outfitted with between seven and nine single and 3-phase outlets each. The first stage of implementation takes place at a pilot site in a controlled area that is frequently used as a film and TV production location. The Grid Project is supported by the Industry Advisory Group (IAG), which is composed of experienced location managers, unit managers, and facilities captains.


As the first location for the Grid Project electrical cabinets, Victoria Park in Tower Hamlets is chosen. UK Power Networks provided detailed estimates for installation and connection of the cabinets to the nearest substation. The Grid Project cabinets will eventually be installed at Victoria Park / Tower Hamlets, North Horse Ride / Westminster and Battersea Park / Wandsworth.


In order to analyze the environmental impact of the electrical cabinets in Victoria Park, the IAG and the service company Arup collected information from productions on the specific types and sizes of diesel generators that were used, as well as their peak- and low-usage times. According to Arup’s analysis, in 2018 generators in Victoria Park consumed 64,082 liters of diesel and 1,656 liters of petrol, which emitted 169,556 kg of CO2.


By installing electrical supply cabinets at certain locations, the aim is for productions to plug into these rather than the diesel generators. The environmental benefits to switch film and TV producctions from diesel generators to mains powered electricity are significant. A feasibility study demonstrated that CO2 emissions, NOX and PM will be reduced drastically. Furthermore, fuel costs will be reduced and productions can monitor and diversify their spend.


“The Grid Project is exciting not just for Film London but for the Film and TV industry and London as a whole”, says Adrian Wootton, Chief Executive of Film London and the British Film Commission. “A move to green electricity has the potential to not only significantly cut emissions and noise pollution from diesel generators on location, but could also see reduced fuel costs for Film and TV productions at selected sites in the capital.”


The Grid Project started as part of the European Interreg project Green Screen and has the support of respective Boroughs, Royal Parks, TfL, The Mayor’s Office, the GLA, the Production Guild and BAFTA. With seven potential locations in and around London, a pilot is set to go ahead at a selected location, before rolling out further research and refining models. Thanks to the funding from Interreg Europe and Good Growth Fund, the Grid project is going to embark on the Victoria Park pilot.


Photos: © Film London

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