Monthly Archives: August 2011

Councils and community action on climate change

August 2011: Friends of the Earth briefing on the changes needed at the Energy Bill’s Report Stage to drive forward council action on climate change. The briefing sets out that Government needs to provide:

• Clarity about what councils need to do locally through advice from the Committee on Climate Change

• All councils to have a local climate change strategy setting out a plan for energy saving and clean power – involving local residents, businesses, and institutions like schools and hospitals – and Government to support councils to roll out the green action needed

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PwC considers ‘negawatt’ trial

17 August 2011: Business Green article on how PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) is considering taking part in UK Power Network’s Low Carbon London demand reduction project through managing the output of its onsite biofuel CHP system at their HQ near Tower Bridge.

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Low Carbon Social Enterprises

August 2011: DECC have just published a study undertaken through the Low Carbon Community Challenge (LCCC) communities programme which evaluates the support given to the 22 community schemes (including the Haringey and Muswell Hill Low Carbon Zone) on establishing social enterprise vehicles for their projects.‘ Download  An independent evaluation report examining the Social Enterprise support and guidance needs of Low Carbon Community Challenge projects

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Low Carbon Communities Challenge – interim learning

17 August 2011: DECC have just published a report setting out the interim learning from the Low Carbon Communities Challenge (LCCC), a two year programme involving 22 community energy projects, which includes the ‘Haringey and Muswell Hill Low Carbon Zone‘. The LCCC is looking to test different models of community-scale delivery, from projects which are led by community groups through to other projects which involve existing agencies and this report provides some of the learning to date in progressing the various schemes. The report details what worked and what didn’t work when progressing the various projects.

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Landlord to test green technologies

17 August 2011: Interesting article posted at Inside Housing:
“Greenfields Community Housing is fitting photovoltaic panels to 1,000 of its 8,000 homes and testing ways to improve the energy efficiency of the remainder.
The housing association, which is based in Essex, is starting trials of 10 different energy-saving technologies. These will run for a year to test their effectiveness before a decision is made on which should be rolled out more widely.
One thousand south-facing homes will also be fitted with photovoltaic panels. This work will be funded through a roof rental scheme and is due to start next spring.

Lynn Thomas, asset manager at Greenfields, said: ‘We are very keen to work with our contractors, including Higgins Construction, Apollo and Worcester Bosch, to maximise opportunities to try new green initiatives, with the ultimate aim of reducing energy use and our residents’ energy bills.’”

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The number of fuel poor households in London

August 2011: A number of announcements have been made recently in relation to the increasing numbers of households suffering from fuel poverty. A summary of this information follows below, along with its relevancy to London.

The Government’s latest fuel poverty estimates for the UK (based on 2009 data) were published last month (DECC press release) and set out the significant increase in the number of households now classed as fuel poor as a result of increasing fuel prices. The Annual report on fuel poverty statistics 2011 stated that “In 2009, the number of fuel poor households in the UK was estimated at around 5.5 million, a rise of around 1 million when compared to 2008, and representing approximately 21 per cent of all UK households.

Regional analysis of the data in the Annual report (in section 5.9) highlights that the percentage of households in London (under the Government’s definition) that are classed as fuel poor  has risen from around 4%  in 2004 to around 13% as at 2009 : this equates to around 430,000 households, based on London’s 3.3 million homes.

In response to the Government’s news release fuel poverty charity National Energy Action (NEA) produced a briefing with an estimate for London’s fuel poor based on this 2009 data as 417,000.

This is of course all based on 2009 data as mentioned before. Projections data on a sub-regional basis is not provided in the DECC reports however, in terms of understanding the potential current numbers of Londoners who may be classed as fuel poor, the following should be noted:

  • The 2009 data estimates 5.5m UK households are in fuel poverty, of which 4m are in England. In terms of projections, the Annual Report (p75 and76)  states that fuel poverty is projected to remain at around 4.0 million households in England in 2010 and rise slightly to 4.1m in 2011, as the 2011 price changes begin to impact on households.”
  • The fact that figures for 2009 and 2010 remain static may seem odd at first, but when looking at gas and electricity price changes over the past few years (DECC’s Quarterly Energy Prices June 2011 provides the latest data – Chart 2.1.2.) it can be seen that the most significant prices increases were between 2007 and 2009, hence that period would have seen the most dramatic increase in fuel poor households. In contrast the Quarterly Energy Statistics report that “Annual average domestic electricity prices, including VAT, fell by 5.2 per cent in real terms between 2009 and 2010.  Domestic gas prices, including VAT, fell by 8.6 per cent in real terms during the same period.
  • However things have changed again. All six main energy suppliers increased tariffs earlier this year, and there are expectations of yet further price increases in the near future. Other contributing factors that need to be considered include the reduction in funding by Government  to programmes such as Warm Front and Decent Homes.
  • As a consequence of these various pressures, the Chairman of the Government’s Fuel Poverty Advisory Group (FPAG) was interviewed on Channel 4 last week and said that DECC’s projections were significant underestimates and that “ in relation to 2011 “We’re looking at 6.6m households in the UK in fuel poverty by the end of this year…”. Of these, FPAG estimate that England will have 5.1m fuel poor compared to the 4.1m estimate in the Annual report.
  • On a simplistic linear relationship between the regional estimates for 2009 data (using the NEA number for London), this could mean that there could be 500,400 fuel poor in London by the end of the year.
  • All of these numbers are based on the Government’s definition of fuel poverty which is defined as the number of households needing to spend more than 10% of their income on fuel to maintain reasonable warmth . However, London has long made the case that because of the disproportionately high costs of housing in the capital, this 10% proportion should be applied on income  AFTER housing costs are taken into account (see GLA Fuel Poverty in London Report for further information). This, along with other factors considered in the GLA study, mean that under conventional estimates, the number of fuel poor households in London are currently grossly underestimated.

Additional information published alongside the Annual Report includes:
Fuel poverty 2009: detailed tables
Fuel poverty monitoring indicators 2011 – provides only scant detail in relation to any specific issues related to London.
Trends in fuel poverty England: 2003 to 2009 – London data in Table 37

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£500 grant to put towards a fuel poverty related event

August 2011: As part of their Warm Homes Campaign, National Energy Action (NEA) are offering a £500 grant to put towards an event, open day or comunity activity to be held during between 25 November – 9 December 2011. The award scheme is open to not-for-profit organisations, local authority or other statutory or voluntary agencies who are helping people make their homes warm and healthy. The activity must focus on the work organisations are doing to tackle fuel poverty and to help low-income households achieve affordable warmth. NEA’s Warm Homes Guidelines and Application Form can be downloaded here. The applications deadline is 5.00pm on Friday 23 September 2011.

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London schemes through to the next round of ‘energyshare’

12 August 2011: British Gas and River Cottage’s energyshare initiative have today announced the ‘longlist’ of 100 community renewable energy projects bidding for support from the initial £500,000 energyshare fund. Only seven London schemes are in this list of 100 projects and links to their project descriptions can be found below:

Ham Hydro – the installation of hydro power turbines on the River Thames at Teddington Weir
PETRA – green refurbishment of tower blocks to best practice standards of energy and water efficiency and generate renewable energy
SPACE_Solar – the installation of a large solar array on a new artist studio building in Peckham
All Souls Solar – installation of a solar array on All Souls Church in St Margarets, Isleworth
Glyndon Community – a scheme to make part of Plumstead-based Glyndon community centre’s energy consumpution come from renewable sources
Hackney City Farm
Hyde Farm Climate Action Network – Supporting ongoing energy saving projects on the Hyde Farm estate in Balham.

Further funding of £2m will be supplied for future bidding rounds by British Gas – much more information on energyshare can be found on their website.

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Latest Findings from DECC’s Low Carbon Community Challenge

August 2011: DECC’s Low Carbon Community Challenge (LCCC) was officially launched in February 2010. Amongst the 22 successful applicants supported was one scheme in London – the Muswell Hill Low Carbon Zone, in Haringey, which involves the “installation of photovoltaics on four schools to be used as a learning tool and to encourage behaviour change; a mobile sustainable learning facility; cycle parking and a community renewable energy company that aims to gain funding to generate income for carbon reduction measures in the community.” Winnings projects were given funding of approximately £500,000 each,  mainly to install low carbon technologies by March 2010 (phase 1 communities) and March 2011 (phase 2 communities) although the LCCC runs until March 2012.
DECC have today published three reports setting out some of the findings to date from the LCCC, and sharing thoughts from the various community groups on their experience taking forward such projects.
The Low Carbon Communities Challenge: Findings from the engagement support by Dialogue by Design
Analysis by Dialogue by Design of information collected from the community groups throughout the LCCC projects.
LCCC process evaluation: report 1 – application process
LCCC unsuccessful applicants’ feedback about the programme’s application process.
REAP Petite analysis of LCCC
Face-to-face interviews with 4,977 respondents across the Low Carbon Community Challenge (LCCC) areas  were conducted in 2010 as part of the LCCC baseline research. This survey yielded considerable attitudinal data.

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Wimbledon Low Carbon Workplace

August 2011: Architects have commenced planning consultation with Merton to create 25,000 sqft of contemporary office in Wimbledon, delivered as part the Low Carbon Workplace partnership. The partnership acquires buildings and updates them to provide modern, financially competitive and energy efficient offices and also works with occupiers, providing support to minimise their carbon emissions and to achieve the Carbon Trust’s Low Carbon Workplace Standard.

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Proposals for a North London Decentralised Energy Network

August 2011: Enfield have released their plans for the development of one of the largest “green developments in the country“. The Meridian Water development aims to create 5,000 new homes, 3,000 new jobs, three schools, a nursery, doctors’ surgery, shops, parks, open spaces, leisure facilities, a police drop in centre and significant improvements to transport links on the 90 hectare site at the heart of the Upper Lee Valley. As well as playing a major part in regenerating Edmonton and its surrounding areas, the £1.3 billion project aims to be low carbon, becoming one of the main hubs within the proposed North London Decentralised Energy Network.

Details are set out in Enfield’s Meridian Water Masterplan Consultation document which set outs that:
“Meridian Water presents an extraordinary opportunity for a site-wide district heating network which takes advantage of the proposals for a Borough wide decentralised energy network that builds on the infrastructure assets of the Lee Valley. The nearby energy centres and industrial corridor creates the prime opportunity to capture the released heat from these operations to deliver secure, low cost, low carbon energy and heating to businesses and homes in Meridian Water and beyond.”

The deadline for response to the consultation document is 5th September 2011

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Energy Minister Visits Olympic Energy Centre

August 2011: Energy Minister Charles Hendry visited the Olympic Park and the park’s Energy Centre which provides power to the main venues in park. The Energy Centre uses both biomass and a natural gas powered Combined Cooling Heat & Power (CCHP) which is 30 percent more efficient than traditional power generation methods. The CCHP system is designed to allow for future increases in capacity – to a maximum load of 120 MW heating, 25 MW cooling and 17 MW of low carbon electricity – enough to power 100,000 homes.

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