Green screen: TV and film productions in London tap into renewable energy

NBCUniversal and a host of other film and TV industry players are trialling a new innovation that will enable the sector to replace diesel generators with renewable electricity at filming locations in London.

Green screen: TV and film productions in London tap into renewable energy

Under a collaborative scheme called ‘The Grid Project’, Film London has installed electrical feeder pillars in a booth in Victoria Park. The pillars are connected to the mains network and will be supplied with 100% renewable electricity by Ecotricity.

The idea is to provide film and TV production crews with an alternative to generators, which typically use diesel. NBCUniversal will be the first production company to use the new innovation.

Contractor Ingenious Power and engineering consultancy ARUP assisted with the installation of the booth, alongside power distribution pillar specialist Lucy Zodion and UK Power Networks.

Other project partners include Tower Hamlets Council and The Film Office. Funding was jointly provided by NBCUniversal and the Mayor of London, through the Good Growth Fund. This fund was launched six years ago and sets aside £75m of capital funding.

“This is a never before done and innovative project in the UK, which we hope creates a template for future developments,” said Adrian Wootton, who heads up both Film London and the British Film Commission.

“We are very proud to have led on the project, and I hope that the initiative can encourage new projects to enact similar sustainable solutions throughout London and the UK.’’

It has been estimated that producing a single hour of TV within the UK emits almost six tonnes of CO2e. Producing a large-budget Hollywood movie, meanwhile, has an average carbon footprint of more than 2,800 tonnes.

The British Film Industry estimates that around 15% of the film industry’s carbon impact is attributable to diesel generators, and a further 34% to the use of gas and electricity.

Earlier this year, two Brussels-based BBC reporters debuted a new ‘Bike Bureau’ – a mobile broadcasting studio complete with built-in solar panels and energy-efficient broadcasting kit. It is intended to be used for live news reporting from the scene of the story, with trials now underway in the Netherlands.

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