Monthly Archives: July 2011

Green Expectations: Lessons from the US green jobs market

22 July 2011: Hanna Thomas of the East London Green Jobs Alliance is a co-author of this Institute of Public Policy Report (IPPR) report assessing the success of the ‘green jobs’ policy agenda in the US investigating a range of localised, bottom-up approaches to fostering the ‘green economy’. The report makes some useful comments in relation to the Government’s Green Deal programme, which “has been billed as having the potential to create 250,000 jobs, making it the largest single opportunity for job creation in UK energy and climate change policy. But the difficulties experienced in the US in creating jobs in this sector underline the challenge the Green Deal faces in realising this estimate and achieving wider policy success.”

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Climate Change and Social Media Project

July 2011: Local Government case study of Brent’s interesting Climate Change and Social Media Project – further information of which in an earlier news story.

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London Misses out on Renewable Heating Grants

21 July 2011: After mentioning yesterday that DECC had not as yet launched their renewable heat grants programme, this morning I see a press release announcing the start of the Renewable Heat Premium Payment’ scheme. However, DECC have now stated that the scheme will be mainly focused on households not heated by mains gas – so the opportunities for Londoners to benefit will be greatly reduced. In short the scheme will provide:

  • £15 million in total to support up to 25,000 installations; and
  • Householders will need to ensure they have basic energy efficiency measures in place before applying

From 1st August, grants for the following technologies will be available:

  • Ground Source Heat Pump – £1250 grant (for homes without mains gas heating)
  • Biomass boiler – £950 grant (for homes without mains gas heating)
  • Air source heat pump – £850 grant (for homes without mains gas heating)
  • Solar thermal hot water panels – £300 grant (available to all households regardless of the type of heating system used)

So Londoners who wish to take advantage of this scheme and install solar thermal panels (that is – if they’re not thinking of  using their roofspace for PVs…) should go to the Energy Saving Trust’s website who will administer the scheme. Further information is also available on the RHPP DECC factsheet here.

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Energy and Climate Questions to the Mayor

July 2011: This month the Mayor answered London Assembly questions in relation to energy efficiency funding of Mayoral programmes RE:NEW and RE:FIT; an update on the forthcoming Renewable Energy Capacity study; the number of solar panels installed on London Underground properties; the amount of carbon emitted by the lights at Piccadilly Circus; and whether the New Bus for London meets the ‘Low Carbon Bus’ standard.

Previous questions to the Mayor can be found here.

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Government renews focus on cities

19 July 2011The Government today announced new support for cities in order to harness their potential to drive growth and prosperity. CLG Minister Greg Clark has been tasked to take on the role of Minister for Cities and  the Deputy Prime Minister will chair a new Ministerial Group on Cities.
The Core Citiesthe eight largest cities outside of London – will be an initial focus of the group as they seek to develop new ideas. Greg Clark has, during his time as  Shadow Climate Change Secretary, been a strong proponent for decentralised energy which will be hopefully be an issue he turns to in his new role, helping remove some of the barriers for cities – including London- to support the development of localised heat and power schemes.

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A Simple Guide to the Renewable Heat Incentive

July 2011: Ofgem have just issued a leaflet setting out the key aspects of the Renewable Heat Incentive scheme for prospective participants. DECC have yet to announce the start of the Renewable Heat Premium Payment (RHPP)  – a subsidy for a range of renewable heat technologies that can be used in homes – which will be used as a bridge until the full domestic-sector RHI kicks off in October 2012 alongside the Green Deal. This Ofgem brochure just mentions that “DECC will release further information about the RHPP shortly.”

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Londoners second worst at leaving things on…

18 July 2011: According to a survey conducted by E.ON, almost one in four (23%) of us are forgetting to unplug appliances before setting off on holiday. The biggest energy wasters are 18-to-24 year-olds and East Anglian holidaymakers admitted to leaving the highest number of electrical items plugged-in while on holiday, closely followed by London.

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Planning Guidance on Energy and Climate

18 July 2011: A leaked version of the Government’s forthcoming draft national planning policy framework (NPPF) has been reported on by Planning journal (you need to register to view the article). The NPPF is scheduled to get its proper release sometime later this month, following an announcement back in December 2010 where Planning Minister Greg Clark stated that Government would undertake a review of planning policy, designed to consolidate policy statements, circulars and guidance documents into a single concise National Planning Policy Framework (the Minister’s statement in the House of Commons gives some further background).

This consolidation was needed, it was argued, as “We have over 1000 pages of policy and guidance that have made the planning system unclear and burdensome. This creates vast amounts of paperwork and bureaucracy that burdens developers and limits the power of local people to shape their neighbourhoods around their vision. The new framework will integrate our current suite of policy statements and guidance into a single concise document. It will focus on the Government’s key priorities for planning and help deliver a more effective, decentralised system.”

Now, just ahead of the 2010 general election, the (previous) Government had released a draft of its new guidance to planning authorities on climate change. This version had significantly evolved and improved on the 2007 version, especially in relation to decentralised energy policy. It’s unclear how much of this will survive in the NPPF – the report on the leaked version summarises guidance on climate and energy issues only as:

Climate change Councils should plan for new development in locations and ways that reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Renewables Authorities should give significant weight to the environmental, social and economic benefits of renewable or low-carbon energy projects, whatever their scale.

which isn’t that much to go on…. hopefully there will be a lot more in the final NPPF when it’s finally released…

On a related issue, the NPPF will not be covering planning in relation to major infrastructure projects such as power stations. A series of Energy National Policy Statements published by DECC on 23 June 2011 cover these. With their emphasis on – broadly – larger generating plant and associated infrastructure – it’s unclear how much impact the NPSs will directly have with respect to planning rules around new energy developments in London.

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Community projects impacted by the feed-in tariff review

July 2011: Friends of the Earth have provided a really interesting update on a number community energy projects using renewable energy technologies, whose viability has now been threatened as a result of the Government’s FIT review and its reduction in the tariff rates for >50kW photovoltaic projects.

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Globally Resilient City Number 9: London

18 July 2011: Huff Post blog reviewing best practices in mitigating and adapting to climate change in cities. This short piece is on London.  It doesn’t mention London’s extremely well thought out draft Climate Change Adaptation Strategy, which comprehensively sets out how climate change will affect London’s risks to flood, drought and heatwave through the century.

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Warm and healthy homes

July 2011: Local Government Association (LGA) submission to the Hills Review on Fuel Poverty – providing case studies of how councils are helping householders improve the energy efficiency of their homes. Includes contributions from Camden, Sutton and Croydon.

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Failed CHP project in Lambeth…

July 2011: More on the disastrous Roupell Park Combined Heat and Power (CHP) scheme in Lambeth…
Boiler scheme could be in even more hot water
Crucial boiler papers lost in town hall error

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