Monthly Archives: November 2012

Insulation suppliers ‘concerned they will not be able to continue in business’

23 November 2012: A number of concerns around the the delivery of energy efficiency measures in London are raised in a paper presented earlier this month to the Greater London Authority’s Housing Investment Group.  The paper sets out that:

“3.2  Due to delays in clarifying and implementing the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) and the Green Deal, additional work is now needed to ensure a smooth transition from the end of the previous CESP /CERT funding scheme in December until the Green Deal goes live in April.

“3.3  In particular we need to ensure there is no slow down in environmental domestic retrofit in London from January to April 2013.

Critically for the insulation industry the paper goes on to say:

“We have met several suppliers who are concerned they will not be able to continue in business due to the potential drop in delivery from Jan-April.”

As a consequence, the Mayor’s RE:NEW domestic energy efficiency programme has decided to continue to contract the EST who “will help manage the transition period and maintain the supply chain framework until the implementation of Green Deal and ECO in April.”

It’s becoming clear that the insulation industry’s concerns – arising out of the Government’s decision not to implement a transition plan from CERT, which is heavily focused on the installation of cavity wall and loft insulation, to the Green Deal and ECO, which is not – are now being realised. An estimate of job losses to the insulation industry in London was also released last week (see earlier post ‘’625 jobs under threat in the Insulation Industry in London’)

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

The ECO brokerage

November 2012: Though there has been much discussion on the ‘start’ of the Green Deal and Energy Company Obligation (ECO), there has been little mention of the new ECO brokerage system that had been proposed. The key idea behind the brokerage –  a new online system that would allow Green Deal Providers to access ECO  funds by bidding in projects which energy suppliers could choose to ‘buy’ – was that it would potentially allow a wider number of actors to participate in the ECO, such as local authorities and community groups. It would also provide DECC with greater transparency with regard to the costs met by suppliers in meeting their ECO obligation, something which DECC has little information of to date under CERT.

The brokerage was discussed in a workshop at last week’s Local Government Association’s Green Deal and ECO conference where the following updates were provided by DECC:

  • DECC had established a brokerage working group to discuss how the system could operate. No agreement was reached however on the key issue of what level the brokerage would play in suppliers achieving their ECO targets – ie to what extent suppliers would be obligated to purchase ECO ‘points’ from Green Deal Providers submitting projects – or if suppliers participation in the brokerage system is to be volutnary
  • An ECO brokerage consultation document was to be issued in the ‘summer’. DECC’s Green Deal’s progress document in June 2012 stated that “we will seek voluntary commitments from the energy companies to use the brokerage mechanism from October to allow other organisations to access  ECO subsidy. In September we will consult on whether there is a need for further legislation to oblige energy companies to use the ECO brokerage mechanism and if so how much subsidy they should be required to trade.” All of this is behind schedule.
  • In yesterday’s Green Deal webchat DECC Minister Greg Barker stated “Energy Compnies can already start delivering against their ECO targets already but we want to open the market up further and will be consulting shortly on the ECO Brokerage.”
  • DECC announced at the LGA conference that they had hired a ‘trader’ within the department and a few trial trades will take place this December to help with some ‘active learning’ on how such a system could work
  • DECC also stated that they ‘would not oblige energy companies to use the brokerage – but could do’
  • The brokerage would operate as a ‘blind mechanism’ – ie energy companies would not see which specific organisation were bidding in projects, to ensure that all trades were fair
  • The brokerage would not deliver 100% of all ECO projects: existing obligation programmes had established good relationships between energy companies and local authorities and other housing providers. Such bilateral contracts should continue
  • Related to the above – British Gas – who were at the workshop – stated that their aspiration was to continue building such longer term partnerships
  • Only Green Deal Providers would be allowed to submit projects into the brokerage system. Local authorities and social landlords would fit this criteria – and some are looking at registering as Providers. There would still be scope for smaller organisations, such as  community groups, to participate in the brokerage, as they could partner with a Green Deal Providers to submit projects, without having to go through the necessary ‘due diligence’ Green Deal Provider process themselves
  • A key concern raised was the ability of local authorities to develop projects to submit into the brokerage when funds were being withdrawn from key growth sectors such as environmental and energy services.
Posted in Energy Efficiency, News | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

‘625 jobs under threat in the Insulation Industry in London’

19 November 2012: The Insulation Industry Forum have issued a news release stating that “a coalition representing over 70% of the UK’s £700m insulation industry has warned that 625 jobs in the insulation industry are under threat in London in 2013, with job losses starting this Winter.”

This situation arises as a result of  changes being made to the Government’s  home energy efficiency programme, moving from the existing CERT scheme, to the new Energy Company Obligation (ECO) and the Green Deal from the beginning of 2013. The IIF state that:

“The losses come from the gap between the ending of the existing subsidy schemes for cavity wall solid wall and loft insulation, and the Green Deal and Energy Company Obligation (ECO) becoming fully functional. This will seriously impact on the continuity of work and number of cavity wall, loft insulation and solid wall jobs undertaken from the 1 January 2013. As a result of the gap, 625 jobs will go in London in 2013.”

As detailed in a number of previous posts, London has missed out from energy supplier CERT funds (and its predecessor programmes) over the last decade (clearly shown in slide 2 of a recent GLA presentation on the ‘History of Attracting CERT’ here). There are still significant numbers of lofts and cavity walls to be insulated in the capital. However, the new ECO and Green Deal programmes will remove the market stimulation programmes for loft and cavity insulation – apart from those households who fall within a subset of ECO – the Carbon Saving Communities Obligation (CSCO) areas.

At the Local Government Association’s Green Deal conference held in London last Friday, a presentation from East London based organisation Otesha highlighted that programmes they had initiated to help get young unemployed people trained in the insulation sector, as part of their ‘green jobs’ initiative, where stalling as a result of insulation companies losing contracts because of the change in Government programmes.

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

Energy behaviours in non-domestic buildings

November 2012: As part of the Government’s release of it’s new Energy Efficiency Strategy earlier this week, an accompanying research paper published is of interest in the London context. What are the factors influencing energy behaviours and decision-making in the non-domestic sector? examines how energy efficiency take up could be enhanced in buildings common in the capital such as retail, schools, government estate, sports, public offices, heritage and entertainment, healthcare, transport and communications.  There is not much research in this area and pages 6-11 of the report make particularly interesting reading, setting out the 35 conclusions from the study on why the use of energy is not taken more seriously by such organisations, leading to a common complaint in London of ‘why are the lights of so many offices on at night when no-one is there’?

Posted in Library | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

CIL supporting sustainable energy in Camden

November 2012: Camden have issued further information on a new Camden Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) and are asking for views on a preliminary draft charging schedule. The consultation sets out that “The Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) is a new charge that local authorities will be able to collect on new developments in their area. It is based on a formula relating to the type and size of development and is collected when planning permissions for new developments are implemented. The funds gathered will be spent on infrastructure within Camden such as schools, community facilities, highways improvements and many other forms of provision which are currently funded by monies paid by developers under Section 106 obligations.”

As part of the evidence base required for setting the CIL, Camden have commissioned an infrastructure study examining key utilities required in the borough over the coming decades. This study includes energy infrastructure, with page 47 onwards setting out a useful summary of some key sustainable energy issues for Camden:

“LB Camden recognises that it needs to play its part in supporting London’s drive towards a lower carbon energy supply. Consultation with the Council has indicated that three areas within the borough could form the focal points for public investment – Euston/KingsCross;  Bloomsbury/Tottenham Court Road; and Gospel Oak – with a figure of £1 million for each area (£3m in total) being considered appropriate to help lever in further private investment. To date £3.8 million has been secured from the Francis Crick Institute (national medical research centre next to St Pancras station), although the further £1 million identified through consultation with the council will still be needed to address linking up other major development sites in the Euston/Kings Cross area.”

Appendix A of the report provides some further information. The consultation runs from 8 Nov 2012 to 20 Dec 2012. Further information on decentralised energy opportunities are set out in Camden’s Heat Map (scroll to the bottom of page).

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

GLA project – The Green Deal and Energy Company Obligation

12 November 2012: Details of a second project (see details of the first project here) being initiated by the GLA in relation to the forthcoming start of the Green Deal and ECO. The approval form sets out that “this project will share best practice and gain commitment at a senior level in London boroughs to implement solutions to overcome barriers to effective delivery of Green Deal and the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) in London. Barriers include planning permission for solid wall insulation and accessing borough data to target energy efficiency works.

The borough barriers that this project will seek to address include:

  • Reducing or streamlining administrative requirements around accessing parking permits for energy efficiency installers
  • Accessing housing and benefits data held by London boroughs and use this to target households eligible for energy efficiency measures (including addressing data protection issues)
  • Ensuring that the planning system can respond to the delivery of external solid wall insulation and identifies criteria for assessing where external solid wall insulation is and is not appropriate
  • Ensuring the delivery of appropriately designed energy efficiency works in communal areas of buildings.
Posted in News | Leave a comment

GLA project – Funding energy efficiency retrofit in social housing

13 November 2012: The GLA have approved a project to procure consultants to “develop a pipeline of social housing for energy efficiency retrofitting works that can be funded by the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) and London Green Fund.” The consultants will also make recommendations as to the role the GLA should play (and its partners) in developing projects that attract ECO and London Green Fund funding, and develop the business case for attracting energy efficiency funding into London ‘s social housing to 2015. The approval document sets out that “there are a number of funding streams in London that could be used to match and attract the ECO:

  • London Green Fund – London Green Fund has £11m available for suitable social housing retrofit projects. The GLA is exploring how this funding could be expanded to £100m for retrofitting and new build. This funding could be used to retrofit social housing under the control of registered providers and attract ECO funding.
  • Decent Homes – London has also received over £694 million of Decent Homes funding (over 50% of total Decent homes funding) from 2012-2015 for improving social housing. The programme of work under Decent Homes could be aligned with energy efficiency works under ECO to ‘match’ and attract ECO funding into London.
  • Housing Revenue Accounts – HRA changes mean that some London boroughs have funding to improve their own stock. This could also be matched with ECO funding.”

A steering group for the project will be established. Its representation will ensure that the project can secure the buy-in from boroughs, ALMOs and Registered Providers, and will report into the RE:NEW sponsors board. The estimated cost of this contract is up to £50,000.

Posted in News | Leave a comment

Heat Conference 2012

November 2012:  Conference organised jointly by the Combined Heat and Power Association (CHPA) and the Energy Institute (EI) on Thursday 15th November 2012 at the Royal Society.
Heat accounts for nearly half of the UK’s energy use and associated CO2 emissions. To meet the UK’s target to cut 80% of greenhouse gas emissions based on 1990 levels by 2050, major cuts in heat-related emissions will be required alongside those in the power sector. All this in the context of rising costs, investment constraints and the need to deliver affordability to the consumer.
Full details at London local authorities can get a reduced ticket price to the conference by putting in the following promotional code when booking – ‘energyforlondon’.
Details of the Government’s forthcoming Heat Strategy, due for launch in March 2013, here.

Posted in Events | Tagged , | Leave a comment

City Hall Fuel Poverty and Energy Efficiency session

5 November 2012: The London Assembly Health and Environment Committee are to hold a discussion session with a number of invited guests at 10am on Thursday 8 November at City Hall. Members of the public are able to attend these meetings. Amongst a range of issues, the meeting will consider the outputs of the Committee’s inquiry into fuel poverty carried out in 2011/12 and published in March of this year – In From the Cold.

Full details of the Commitee’s meeting are posted here, including a discussion paper for the session, which sets out that issues under consideration will include how:

  • The GLA should establish criteria for areas to be selected for the next tranche of RE:NEW funding. This extension of the programme should prioritise households likely to be in severe fuel poverty.
  • The GLA should in consultation with the energy companies and local authorities, develop an affordable warmth strategy for London.

A number of expert guests and stakeholders have been invited to participate in the discussion, including:

  • Richard Blakeway, Deputy Mayor for Housing, Land and Property, and officers from the GLA;
  • Amy Ingham, Fuel Poverty and Smart Meters team, Department for Energy and Climate Change;
  • Jo Gill, Energy Efficiency Co-ordinator, LB Hillingdon and Vice-Chair of the inter-borough London Carbon Action Network;
  • Christine Tate, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility, and Kelly Greer, Energy Solutions Manager, British Gas; and
  • A representative from EDF Energy.
Posted in News, Uncategorized | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Update on Energy Strategy for Elephant and Castle Regeneration Scheme

November 2012: This month’s Dept. of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) oral questions in the House of Commons included the following response from Secretary of State Ed Davey to a question from Southwark MP Simon Hughes:

1 Nov 2012 : Column 371

T4. [126066] Simon Hughes (Bermondsey and Old Southwark) (LD): Just over the bridge at the Elephant and Castle, a major regeneration scheme is under way. When the Liberal Democrats ran the council, we proposed that the scheme should have an energy centre whereby the community could generate its own energy as well as keep prices as low as possible. Will the Government commit to supporting such community initiatives, to make sure that we get the best deal in our communities, led by our communities?

Mr Davey: I could not agree more with my right hon. Friend, who has championed community energy for many years. As Secretary of State, I am determined that we promote even more ambitious polices. We will introduce a community energy strategy in the spring. We have already made a number of announcements to encourage community groups and democratic local authorities to support these types of schemes.

Proposals for the energy strategy for the Elephant and Castle regeneration plan have had a difficult time  over the past few years (some details of which can be found here) with the original plans for a multi-utility service company (MUSCo) now abandoned.  Outline planning permission has recently been submitted by developer Lend Lease to Southwark council for this major scheme – which comprises  between 2,300 and 2,462 residential units, along with new retail, business, leisure and community uses -and includes a revised energy strategy.

A new energy centre with a CHP plant on the site of the existing Heygate boiler house is now proposed with a site-wide heat network connecting all apartments and commercial units. The GLA’s planning report to the Mayor on the project states (para 112 onwards) that Lend Lease had investigated the potential to link the site-wide heat network to the proposed SELCHP district heating network, in Bermondsey. However this was found to be “unlikely to be viable in the near term.” The regeneration scheme will take time to develop and the GLA report sets out that Lend Lease  “is proposing the phased installation of combined heat and power (CHP) plant in line with the phasing of the development. This would begin with a 263 kWe gas fired CHP unit being switched on during 2019. This would then be followed by a 985 kWe gas fired CHP unit being switched on in 2021 as the lead heat source for the site heat network.”

An innovative approach being taken by Lend Lease in terms of using renewable energy,  is to work with biogas suppliers and offset emissions onsite through the use of biomethane injected into the national gas grid. Lend Lease says it will use the industry-led Green Gas Certification Scheme (GGCS) which tracks biomethane (also called ‘green gas’) through the supply chain to provide certainty for those that buy it.

Biomethane-injection is supported by DECC through the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) who believe it to be a key technology in helping  increasing the amount of renewable heat generation in the UK. Further information on biomethane can be found on the following Ofgem factsheet here. Lend Lease’s outline planning application to Southwark (submitted in August) can be accessed here and the Energy Strategy for the development here. A decision on the application is set to be made by the end of this year.

Posted in News | Leave a comment

London’s first hydroelectric turbine

November 2012: The National Trust started London’s first ever Archimedes Screw hydroelectric turbine at Morden Hall Park in south west London  sited on the river Wandle. Local MP for Kingston and Surbiton, Ed Davey – who is handily also the Secretary of State at DECC – was in attendance at the launch event. The National Trust’s news release adds that the “Archimedes Screw turbine will generate enough electricity to power the Park’s new award-winning visitor centre.  By acting like a modern waterwheel it will harness the power of the river to generate electricity.  It is estimated that it will generate 59,000 kWh a year – enough for about 16 average households.” The 8.5kWe turbine had a high capital cost – reported at £350,000  fully installed – and much debate about how this cost should be viewed is presented on the following Guardian article (ie high capital cost, but very low ongoing costs for the generator over its life span).

Further details on the project are posted on the Morden Hall Park blog and information on the Archimedes Screw itself on the website of the technology provider for this installation, Halliday’s Hydropower.

A further hydropower project, also using an Archimedes Screw, is planned in London at Teddington Weir, further information for which is at project website  Ham Hydro (and in an earlier post here).

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