Monthly Archives: September 2011

Green Doctor service in Hillingdon

September 2011: As part of the London-wide RE:NEW scheme, Green Doctors™ from Groundwork Thames Valley will be visiting 1,600 homes across Hillingdon to advise residents on how they can be more efficient with energy. A survey of the property will be carried to find out what energy saving devices can be installed which can help save households up to £160. Further information from Hillingdon here.
Further information on the Green Doctor programme is available in a recent progress report for the Ebico Trust.

Posted in Energy Efficiency, News | Tagged , | Leave a comment

It’s heating or eating in winter for us, pensioners warn Mayor

19 September 2011: The Evening Standard has today highlighted how a group of pensioners – including Islington Pensioners Forum – have submitted a petition to City Hall last week calling on the Mayor to do more to assist vulnerable people across the capital who are unable to pay their bills. In addition, London Councils has set out its concerns that over a quarter of Londoners are struggling to meet their energy bills – with rising prices and welfare reforms threatening to send even more into fuel poverty. To demonstrate how widespread the issue is, London Councils has modelled the impact of fuel poverty on four separate households – a lone parent, a ‘squeezed middle’ couple with two children, a lone pensioner and an extended family. When London’s housing costs are factored in, all but the ‘squeezed middle’ couple live in fuel poverty, spending more than 10 per cent of their income on energy bills (the Government’s definition of those classed as being fuel poor).
The London Councils fuel poverty modelling report and press release can be downloaded here.

Posted in Library, News | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

London Power Tunnels Project

September 2011: National Grid report that their “flagship London Power Tunnels project has reached a major landmark with the arrival of a massive Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) named Cleopatra…the device will this week be lowered into a pre-prepared tunnel shaft at National Grid’s site in Eade Road, Haringey. ” The TBM will start digging the 4 metre diameter St John’s Wood  Tunnel – a distance of 8km –  at a rate of approximately 120 metres per week.
The London Power Tunnels Project involves constructing tunnels deep below ground to carry new high voltage electricity transmission cables (400kV) to supply electricity to London connecting National Grid’s existing substations at Wimbledon, St John’s Wood, Willesden and Hackney. Tunnelling Journal reports that “The tunnel will be lined using a Buchan 6 plate trapezoidal gasketed and bolted ring, each 1.3m long, with muck removed via wagons and from the shaft by High Angle Conveyor” in case you wanted to know. Further information on the London Power Tunnels project – with some useful graphics – is provided in this helpful National Grid brochure.

Posted in News | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Energy Companies Comment on Fuel Poverty in London

September 2011: The London Assembly’s Health and Public Services Committee held an evidence session last week with energy companies and others as part of their inquiry into fuel poverty in London. Witnesses included:

  • British Gas
  • EDF Energy
  • London Warm Zones
  • London Councils; and
  • The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).

The full webcast of the session can be viewed here (see Tuesday 13 September link).

Posted in News | Tagged , | Leave a comment

London – ‘Getting Ready to Retrofit’

September 2011: Next weeks sees a really excellent series of FREE seminars and site visits across London by some of the UK’s leading green retrofit experts.
These have been organised by Open-City’s Green Sky Thinking strand and the Institute for Sustainability who have put together these events to demonstrate how industry professionals and trades can understand and seize the business opportunities emerging in the fast-expanding area of low carbon building and retrofit.

The seminars run from September 20-22 and comprehensively cover all issues of the building energy retrofit process including case studies, finance and procurement issues, behaviour change, engaging communities, skills and so on.
A really packed series of talks and tours have also been arranged as part of this week’s activities include:
Open Practice: Who is driving sustainable building and retrofit?
What makes a sustainable building? Success stories from the commercial sector
What makes a sustainable neighbourhood?
Retrofit Exemplars

Booking is essential for all events and details of how to confirm a place are provided on the links above.

Posted in News | Tagged | Leave a comment

London loses under Warm Front…again.

15 September 2011: The Government’s Warm Front scheme offers a package of heating and insulation measures of up to £3,500 for people on  income-related benefits. To be eligible you must own your home or rent it from a private landlord. The latest annual report for Warm Front was published yesterday and,  as with last year, London came bottom regionally (England only) in terms of support delivered by the programme in all but one measure. Specifically:

  • Total number of households assisted 8,849 (7 per cent of the total assisted in 2010/11)
  • Total number of heating measures 6,056 (5.8 per cent of total assisted)
  • Total number of insulation measures 2,427 (6.1 per cent of total assisted)

The one area where the programme delivered better in London than elsewhere was with respect to Benefit Entitlement Checks (BEC) where the average weekly increase in benefits achieved was £37.27,  a good 20 per cent more than the next highest region. This would provide a total increase in unclaimed benefits to those London households of £1,938 a year.

As part of the outcome of the ‘Spending Review 2010’ Government reduced funding to Warm Front to provide a smaller more ‘targeted’ scheme for the next two years (with no information as to whether the programme will continue past 2012). With the relative success of Warm Front in London on BECs, it is disappointing to note that the Annual Report states that this new streamlined Warm Front programme will no longer provide benefit entitlement checks. Given the reduction in the budget for the scheme, the decision was taken to focus on measures that can deliver immediate heat and warmth into customers’ homes, as well as potentially lowering their energy bills. Customers will still be signposted to other services and stakeholders that provide access to benefits advice, such as Citizens Advice.”

Posted in Library, News | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Londoners face increased energy bills as EDF raises gas and electricity prices

15 September 2011: The Evening Standard reports on EDF Energy’s increase today in its  gas and electricity tariffs: “Hundreds of thousands of London families are facing energy bill increases after the last of the “big six” suppliers said prices will go up by
15.4 per cent in November.” To be totally accurate – standard residential electricity prices are to rise by 0n average of 4.5 per cent (EDF say this “is in line with inflation only and significantly less than rises by other major suppliers” and it is in fact residential gas prices which will rise by 15.4 per cent – again – EDF say “lower than all other major suppliers.

The exact number of homes in London supplied by EDF Energy is not in the public domain, but as the successor company to London Electricity, the main energy supply business for London post privatisation (and despite a fully competitive energy market)  it remains the dominant player in the capital.

EDF states in its own press release that it “continues to be the cheapest dual fuel supplier nationally after limiting its price rises to the lowest level of all major suppliers.” A comparison of tariff rates compared with the other major energy companies is supplied on the press release.

Posted in News | Tagged | Leave a comment

Islington 40% carbon report

15 September 2011: Islington Council’s Executive Committee formally approved today the Regeneration and Employment Review Committee report the ‘40% Carbon Reduction by 2020’ which examines the key issues related to achieving a 40% reduction by 2020, including the known impact of national carbon reduction measures in Islington and assessing the scale and scope of required local action.

Posted in News | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Walking Tour of Renewable Energy Generation in Dalston

September 2011: Arcola Energy’s Green Sunday event is to host a walking tour of renewable energy generation in Dalston. The Dalston Renewable Energy Walk will:

“meet at Arcola Theatre at 1.30pm for a walk around several inspiring projects in the neighbourhood. Our tour starts with the solar panels at the Dalston Roof Park, where Sam Aldenton from The Bootstrap Company will explain how they went about creating one of the largest solar roofs in the UK. From there, we move on to quietrevolution’s wind turbine installation at the Kinetica building on Ramsgate Street to hear from the company’s Stephen Crosher on how turbines can be installed on new and existing buildings. After a stop at the Dalston Square Energy Centre to check out their biomass-fired combined heat and power (CHP) system, we’ll head back to the Arcola around 4.15pm for a discussion of  the different systems we have seen and our plans for greening the theatre’s systems.”

Posted in Decentralised Energy, News, Renewable Energy | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Decentralised Energy powering Westfield

September 2011: Though there was a lot of coverage on the launch of the new Stratford Westfield shopping centre, there was little mention of the new high efficiency decentralised energy system installed providing the heat and power onsite.  The press material released by Westfield states that 75% of all Stratford City’s electrical power will be met through an on-site Combined Cooling, Heat and Power Plant (CCHP).  It goes on to say that the building was designed with a number of energy efficiency measures including the “use of natural light, effective insulation, high efficiency lighting, heating and cooling and control of solar gain will ensure the buildings are at least 10% more energy efficient than required by Building Regulations”.

The press release states that “efficient building design and on-site CCHP will help achieve carbon reduction targets of 50% by 2020” – which needs to be further clarified (ie which carbon reduction targets, and 50% of what baseline?).

Some further useful information and graphics are provided in the following Marks and Spencers presentation which highlights that:

  • the Westfield M&S is 30% more energy efficient than other M&S stores
  • the store achieves a 44% improvement on heating/cooling operational carbon efficiency by using CCHP
  • 99.5% of cooling is delivered through the on-site CCHP; and
  • a 100% per cent of heating from the on-site CCHP
Posted in Decentralised Energy, News | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

New survey aims to shed light on customer experiences of solar panel schemes

September 2011: Consumer Focus is calling for people to get in touch through a new survey to share their good and bad experiences of producing solar and wind power at their home as worrying reports of mis-selling have already been reported to the industry accreditation scheme. It is now a year since the Government introduced its feed-in tariff (FIT)  scheme and over 40,000 households have signed up to this scheme.

Consumer Focus state that “Many people have had good experiences of producing renewable energy at home but consumer feedback has already been very varied and some customers have reported problems. REAL Assurance, the accreditation scheme for the energy generations system industry, has expressed concerns about high levels of mis-selling in the industry. It has identified high pressure sales techniques as the principal cause of consumer complaints in the solar panel market.

For consumers who are considering a free solar panel deal Consumer Focus has published a factsheet and key questions to ask.  A guide to consumers thinking about taking up solar panels is also available from REAL Assurance, called  How to avoid being taken for a ride It is also available in hard copy, email or call 0207 981 0850.

So, if you have smallscale wind or solar power measures at your home and want to voice your opinion please get involved in Consumer Focus’s survey. It is open until 27 September and will take around 15 minutes to complete.

Posted in News, Renewable Energy | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Feed in Tariff Progress in London

September 2011: The Guardian features a piece on AEA Technology’s useful Microgeneration Index which regularly provides details on the amount of Feed in Tariff (FIT) renewable energy technologies installed by region.  The Guardian report that “London has added more renewable power than anywhere else, with more than 3.2 megawatts of capacity added in the 15 months since feed-in tariffs became available. But when assessed per head, it comes only sixth in the UK.” The latest Microgeneration Index quarterly report (issue 4)  provides further detail stating: “During the following three months, growth in cities has continued (eg capacity in London has increased by 37% and in Glasgow by 131%). However, as some cities start from a low capacity, a better measure is the installed capacity in relation to the population…Sheffield stands out as the leading city, with Bristol, Leeds and Bradford following.”

Posted in News, Renewable Energy | Tagged , , | Leave a comment