Monthly Archives: January 2013

The Energy Bill misses out “opportunity to support community energy co-operatives”

January 2013: Newly elected Labour MP for Croydon North, Steve Reed, made a welcome intervention in the December parliamentary debate on the Energy Bill correctly stating that the Bill “misses an opportunity to support community energy co-operatives”. As an example of what can be achieved by such schemes, Mr Reed gave details of the  Brixton Energy project:

“Brixton solar energy 1 was the country’s first urban energy generation co-operative and was set up by the local community in Brixton, working in co-operation with the local authority, Lambeth council…Brixton solar 1 was built on the roof of a social housing estate, Loughborough Park in Brixton. Brixton solar 2 is being built on another part of the same estate and a third scheme is planned for another estate in the area. The schemes are funded by community subscription and offer a 3% return to investors, most of whom are local. They are part-resourced by the local authority, which makes the buildings available.

Instead of supporting such schemes, the Bill offers smaller community generators lower market prices for their power, making them less financially viable, and it fails to recognise the administration costs needed to run them. The Bill also ends the renewables obligation, which means that suppliers have no incentive to purchase from independent generators such as Brixton solar energy.

Mr Reed should be familiar with the scheme as, until his appointment to Parliament, he was the Leader of Lambeth Council. He goes on to conclude with some really good recommendations:

“The Bill should be amended to increase the fixed feed-in tariff threshold for community projects, guarantee a market for community energy schemes and set a minimum annual target for new generation capacity from community schemes. I should like to see local authorities incentivised to lower overall household carbon emissions in their area, which they could do in part by supporting projects such as Brixton solar energy.”

Further detail on these can be found in some excellent research by Cornwall Energy undertaken for Co-operatives UK and published a few months ago.

It should be noted that Scotland has had a target since 2011 of 500 MW community and locally-owned renewable energy by 2020 (see here for details).

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How will the £100m London Green fund benefit the capital?

9 January 2013: London Assembly news release “The London Assembly will tomorrow question representatives of the Greater London Authority, Green Fund Investment Board and fund managers about the £100m London Green Fund (LGF), which was set up to invest in waste and energy efficiency programmes.”

Tomorrow’s meeting will take place on Thursday, 10 January 2013 from 10am in the Chamber at City Hall.   Members of the public are invited to attend.   The meeting can also be viewed via webcast.

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New Energy Centre for Energy Epidemiology

January 2013: University College London announced that it has been awarded funding to establish the UCL-Energy Centre for Energy Epidemiology which “will focus on providing an evidence base for government and industry to support end use energy reduction across buildings and transport, helping to deliver the UK’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% of 1990 levels by 2050.”  ‘Energy Epidemiology – it says here –  is apparently “the systematic use of measured data to illuminate the causes of energy use and of changes in energy use.  The approach has a long history in health research, but has not so far been applied, at scale, to the study of energy.” So now you know!

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London energy data maps

January 2013: Tim Starley Grainger has posted some useful graphics on how London is faring under some key Government energy efficiency and renewable energy programmes, such as CERT, Warm Front and progress under the Feed in Tariffs (FITs). As highlighted in various posts on this site, it doesn’t make for cheerful viewing. Graphics posted here.

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“Capital’s public buildings get energy efficient makeover”

January 2013: Mayoral announcement made last month stating that “Energy conservation measures are already complete or near completion in 111 public buildings in London. The pipeline shows that 400 buildings could benefit from the Mayor’s award-winning RE:FIT programme, saving the public purse in the region of £7 million each year”. Read the full news release here. Further information on the new framework adopted for the programme at .

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Thames Barrier engineer says second defence needed

January 2013: BBC news story “A civil engineer who was part of the project management team which completed the Thames Barrier has said a new river defence should be planned urgently. Dr Richard Bloore said the south-east London barrier, opened in 1982, was not designed to factor in global warming. A study by the Environment Agency says with some modifications the barrier could continue to provide protection for the rest of the century.” Read the full article here.

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Islington – “Heating rebate helps thousands”

8 January 2013: Islington news release: Three-thousand council tenants with communal heating or hot water will receive a rebate of at least £145 per household next month, as the council prepares to pass on savings it has made in buying gas.

“Islington Council has secured an improved deal in its bulk purchasing of gas for estates with communal heating and hot water, which means the savings from the lower cost of gas can be passed on to tenants.” Read the full release here.

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“The blunt answer is yes; in my view fuel poverty in London is getting worse”

January 2013: The transcript of discussions at the last Mayoral Question time has just become available and includes a number of interesting comments by the Mayor on both fuel poverty and his domestic energy efficiency programme, RE:NEW:

4046/2012 – Fuel Poverty Murad Qureshi: Is fuel poverty getting worse in London?

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): The blunt answer is yes; in my view fuel poverty in London is getting worse. There is a problem in London because the price of fuel is increasing at a faster rate than household income. We have an increasing problem and that is why the Know Your Rights campaign is so important, the retro fitting is so important to reduce people’s fuel costs. I also think that, as a city, we need to campaign against the fuel companies who are ripping off the consumer, and I have made representations, as you would expect, on that. I think we need to start thinking about security of supply in London, and indeed in the country generally.

Continue reading…

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