London Buses Biodiesel Supplier Wins Award

September 2016: TfL announced in December 2015 that one third of London’s buses were to run on waste fats and oils, with two bus operators, Stagecoach and Metroline, signing deals with Argent Energy to supply them with B20 green diesel.

And, it’s just been announced that Argent Energy “has won two awards at the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership (LowCVP) Low Carbon Champions Awards 2016: the Low Carbon Fuel Initiative of the Year Award and the highest accolade, the Grand Prix, or Winner of Winners, Award” – as reported in Biodiesel Magazine.

The article sets out that “Argent only uses wastes for biodiesel and is the most sustainable producer in the U.K. The company has introduced high GHG-saving fuel into London in support of its challenging climate change targets. Argent captured the potential of biodiesel from waste as a drop-in replacement fuel without the need for vehicle modification. The fuel is priced around the same level as standard diesel, and sometimes cheaper.

“Argent is not only working with the GLA and Transport for London to reach their target of B20 (high bio-blend diesel) in all London diesel buses by 2020, but has engaged with other U.K. cities. The company is also supplying more than 5,000 vehicles U.K.-wide with its waste-derived diesel and has demonstrated its commitment to helping transport companies to save carbon by investing in a new £75 million (USD$97.4 million) biodiesel plant in North West England due for completion at the end of the year.”

Further information on the awards is available on the LCVP press release here – which also states that “In 2015 Argent supplied high bio‐blend diesel to two major London bus companies. After a year of supplying these companies, the greenhouse gas emission savings will be equivalent to 150 million miles of carbon-free travel, based on DfT figures.”

The GLA issued a research report in 2013 on the potential for on the opportunity for a biodiesel market in London using used cooking oil (UCOs), fats oils and grease (FOGs) from commercial and domestic sources in the capital – details of which can be read in an earlier post here. Details are also posted on the GLA website here – and a very brief update by the new Mayor was also provided in a recent MQ here.

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Campaigners plan protest against Hackney Council’s ‘dirty energy’ investments

16 September 2016: The Hackney Gazette reports that “Demonstrators will protest outside the Town Hall on Monday night [19 September], calling on Hackney Council to move £42m of its pension fund invested in ‘dirty energy’ into greener investments. Last March a Freedom of Information request revealed investments of £42,438,296 in 22 different oil, coal and gas companies.”

Further information on Hackney Council’s investments in fossil fuel companies is posted on Hackney Energy’s website and the Divest Hackney website has posted all the FoI responses received by the group from the council.

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Community Energy Share Offers are Go!

August 2016: Really great to see three share offers have recently gone live in London providing opportunities to invest around £200,000 in community energy projects across schools, university and church buildings.

  • Solar SOAS are seeking £40,000 for a solar installation  on the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) Old Building. The project will install 114 solar panels – and the student union have already pledged £10,000 to the cost of the install. A list of useful FAQs can be seen here along with a video outlining the project. Solar SOAS state that “The solar panels are considered permitted development under Camden planning guidelines, therefore we do not need planning permission. As it is a listed building and in a conservation area, we do need listed building consent. Together with SOAS we have commissioned an extensive heritage impact report and submitted our application for listed building consent. We are awaiting the outcome of this but are confident we will get it.” The Heritage planning application is currently with Camden Council, some of the details of which can be seen here and here. Read more on the project on the Solar SOAS blog. The project succeeded in securing funding in May 2015 from the government’s Urban Community Energy Fund (UCEF) which was, sadly, terminated as of last month. Further info on the project on the following story on Solar Power Portal.
  • Power Up North London’s project involves the installations of  solar panels at St. Anne’s Church, Highgate. PUNL are seeking to raise  £30,100 through a Community Share Offer to install 19kW. The project faced difficulties back in June when, as the Camden New Journal reported “a conservation officer at the Town Hall has queried the project on the grounds of the panels being visible and potential damage caused to historic fabric” which prompted “a letter-writing campaign to force Camden Council to give the scheme the go-ahead”. The planning application was subsequently approved by the council in July, as reported in the Ham & High. Full details of investment offer are available on their website.
  • South East London Community Energy (SELCE) have been working for over a year to develop a number of solar projects on schools in the area. Their share offer was officially launched at City Hall in July and, as their website states, the “offer was so popular that it was oversubscribed and had to close a few days before the official end date of August 4th 2016. We have now raised £120,000 of investment from the community to install solar panels on three sites in South East London. These are: Alderwood Primary School, Deansfield Primary School
    and Bannockburn Primary School.” This new project builds upon earlier successes – a £250,000 community share offer for a 184-panel solar array at Mulgrave Primary School in Woolwich.
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London Community Energy Fortnight Events

August 2016: Community Energy Fortnight starts on September the 3rd, kicking off with a major conference in Oxford. A wide number of events are taking place across the country – including a good number in London, links to which are listed below:

Further events may come forward – check the main CEF website for further details.

Energy for London will helping at an event on 8 September with Community Energy England, Repowering London and 10:10 – initiating work for the launch of a new hub for community energy groups in London – Community Energy London.  If you’re working on a community energy project, exploring a potential opportunity, or simply want to find out more information on the community energy sector in London, do come along!

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Devolve more powers on energy to the Mayor

15 August 2016: Following a comment piece in the Evening Standard last week, on how London is supporting the growth of decentralised energy, here’s my letter in response which was published in the paper today.

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“The power revolution could soon be moving from dream to reality”

10 August 2016: Welcome to see the Evening Standard today include a major comment piece by Leo Johnson on how “Small-scale projects such as those in Newham, Brixton and Islington give a glimpse of Britain’s energy future”.

Leo highlights three projects in London as signs of how the decentralised energy model is now in the ascendancy, shifting from the “dominant energy model, the centralised production and distribution of fossil fuel-based power through the grid”.

  • “In Newham, for example, the Combined Heat and intelligent Power plant (CHiP) aims to harness the energy from “fatbergs”, the bus-size balls of grease which cost Thames Water an estimated £1 million a month to remove, using teams of trained “flushers” decked out with protective white suits and shovels who descend into London’s Victorian sewer system to hack up the fat. CHiP plans to use the fat instead to power 40,000 homes.” This project is fascinating and received a lot of coverage when first announced back in 2013 – which was covered in some detail in an earlier post here – but not much further information has been forthcoming from the project on their website.
  • “In Brixton, the energy group Repowering is installing solar panels on the rooftops of housing association buildings to lower fuel bills, and is teaming up with Transport for London to introduce “energy gardens” across 50 London Overground sites.” In June of this yearRepowering was awarded a prestigious Ashden Award for their work – a case study and excellent video are posted on the Ashden website here. The Energy Gardens project was covered by ITV news a few weeks ago – see video here – and more can be seen at energygarden.org.uk
  • “At the Bunhill Energy Centre project in Islington, whose second phase was opened by Mayor Sadiq Khan last month, they’re using heat from the Northern line tube to power a thousand homes.” Lots more about Bunhill here.

Leo also highlights some work commissioned by the GLA by  engineers Buro Happold “have estimated that there is enough heat wasted in London alone to power 70 per cent of the city’s energy needs. What’s the potential for growth? Copenhagen provides 98 per cent of its space and water heating through district heating, at 45 per cent of the cost of normal oil heating bills. London’s uptake, better than the one to two per cent national average, is currently just five per cent.”  The 2013 London Secondary Heat study can be downloaded here.

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Havering ‘Solar Parks’ Initiative

August 2016: Interesing press release from Havering issued earlier this week which stated that “Havering Council is looking to harness the power of the sun by developing solar parks on its own land to generate a significant extra income for the borough.

“These solar parks will allow Havering to become the first borough in London to generate renewable energy on a large scale to make money, which would be used to protect and improve frontline services. Energy produced in this way is clean, sustainable and renewable.

“The land on which the solar parks will be constructed will be underused space that will result in few if any adverse effects on community usage. Once the solar park is past its useful life, the panels can be removed and the site will revert to its previous condition.”

A public consultation will be released by the council on the proposal sometime in the future.

Havering have supported solar for sometime with a range of rooftop projects across existing council buildings – and the council cites a recent report by Greenpeace [which] placed Havering as having the second highest percentage of solar power generated by homeowners in London, with over 1100 solar panel systems installed on domestic roofs.”

Havering councillors did however turn down an application in December 2014 for a solar farm in the borough. The developer went to appeal – but national government also refused the application earlier this year.

The press release also mentions that “The proposed solar parks will also have a positive impact on local biodiversity for a range of plant and animal species, in particular broad leaved plants, grasses, wild flowers, butterflies, bees and birds. Part of the Council’s proposals would be to work with local beekeepers to promote healthy honeybee populations, as well as Britain’s rarer bumblebees, in and around the solar parks.” The National Solar Centre’s Biodiversity Guidance for Solar Developments provides further information on the ways in which solar projects can support local ecology.

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RE:NEW retrofit case studies

August 2016: The GLA’s home energy efficiency retrofit programme, RE:NEW, has posted a series of case studies on their website. These include a range of projects including:

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Latest London PV statistics

August 2016: The last set of sub regional Feed in Tariff (FIT) statistics published by DECC – before it is merged with the business department into BEIS – were published last week (available here). London PV data – alongside other UK regions – is reproduced below.

Table 1. Cumulative installations confirmed on the Central Feed-in Tariff Register by Region

Table 2. Cumulative capacity confirmed on the Central Feed-in Tariff Register by Region

So – as at the end of June 2016:

  • London had 20,551 PV installations (95% of which were domestic installations) with a total combined electrical generating capacity of 83.911MW.
  • London’s capacity represented just 2% of total UK PV generating capacity
  • The last FIT quarterly data set (for data up to the end of March 2016) reported that London had 20,123 PV installations in London and 81.623 MW – indicating a 2.28MW increase in capacity over the last three months.
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Mayor Elected C40 Vice Chair

25 July 2016: The Mayor has today been appointed a Vice Chair of C40 Cities, representing the Europe region on the group’s steering committee, alongside Copenhagen. C40’s press release included the following statement from the Mayor:

“… I want London to be at the cutting edge of new green technologies, generating the growth and jobs of the future. My new ambitions for Energy for Londoners, and my new role as Vice Chair of the C40 will ensure that London is a beacon to the world and helps to generate the opportunities that will accelerate the pace of change to create better cities for all.”

The next major convening of the C40 Steering Committee will take place at the C40 Mayors Summit, which will bring together mayors and sustainability leaders from all over the world. It will be held in Mexico City November 30 – December 2, 2016.

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Energy and Climate Questions to the Mayor

July 2016: This month Mayor’s Question Time included the following:

an update on a GLA study to evaluate the potential for the use trackside solar power production; Post Brexit, how the Mayor will use his role in the Brexit negotiating team to preserve the hard-fought environmental protections; the number of decentralised energy projects that are projected to come online this year; how the Mayor can encourage Londoners to switch energy suppliers; an estimate of the number of connections that will be provided with heat from the Beddington energy from waste plant to the Sutton Decentralised Energy Network (SDEN) – and whether Barratt Homes has signed a heat agreement with the plant’s operator, Viridor; whether the Mayor will respond to the Government’s recently released Energy Company Obligation (ECO) consultation;
work to encourage energy efficiency improvements in the private rented sector (PRS);
the RE:NEW home energy efficiency retrofit programme’s strategy over the coming year; the number of jobs linked to the green economy in London; the Mayor’s role with C40 Cities, and borough surface water management plans

Previous months questions to the Mayor can be found here.

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London Hydrogen Action Plan Programme Approved

July 2016: GLA approval of the London Hydrogen Action Plan funding for 2016/2017 which includes work:

“…. on delivering the London Hydrogen Action Plan (LHAP). LHAP makes the case for hydrogen investment and sets out the strategic framework and timeline (from now until 2017) for an action plan addressing vehicles and infrastructure, production and storage, stationary and early market applications. It aims to move beyond demonstrations and trials and to commercialise hydrogen and fuel cell projects that support the Mayor’s environmental, transport, social, economic and development priorities.”

Full information on the approval document can be seen on the GLA website here and further background to the London Hydrogen Action Plan at hydrogenlondon.org

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