Monthly Archives: February 2013

DE plans for Croydon Town Centre

February 2013: Following a consultation last Summer, a Croydon Town Centre Opportunity Area Planning Framework (OAPF) has just been adopted by the Mayor,  Croydon Council and TfL. OAPFs  set out planning, regeneration and design guidance for major growth centres in London, called Opportunity Areas. The London Plan identifies 33 Opportunity Areas one of which is the Croydon Metropolitan Centre and its environs.

Included within the  OAPF are considerations of future energy requirements within the area. Chapter 4 of the document sets out the following:

“4.68 Delivery of a Croydon Central Area Heat and Power Scheme is an objective of the Croydon Council climate change strategy. In order to achieve a major reduction in the Borough’s carbon footprint, and meet the Mayor’s decentralised energy target, the Core Strategy (Policy CS6) expects that larger  developments and refurbishments should be enabled to connect to district energy networks based on centralised combined heat and power plants (CHP), particularly in the COA and other district centres within the borough.

4.69 Croydon Council has undertaken a detailed study on the viability of delivering a district heating network to support the regeneration of the COA. The scheme would provide low carbon heat to new developments which would enable them to meet the energy performance standards required by planning policy and national Building Regulations. Existing buildings would also be able to connect to the scheme to benefit from the lower carbon heat. Some key features are:

• A centralised “energy centre” fuelled by gas fired Combined Heat & Power plant

• This heat is distributed across the COA as hotwater in a network of buried pipes

• The electricity generated could be sold for use in near by buildings with the excess being exported to the public supply grid

• The scheme would be financed, designed, builtand operated by a commercial partner

• Cost of connecting to the scheme would be lower than making on-site heat provision

• Cost of heat to building users will be less than alternative on-site provision of heat (e.g. having own boiler system and paying for heat)

• Wandle Road car park has been identified asa potential location for the energy centre butfurther feasibility work is required to assess thisoption in more detail

4.70 It is envisaged that the first phase of the scheme would connect to new developments in mid Croydon and East Croydon, along with a core of existing public buildings. The full potential would expand to buildings across the wider COA area. The council will be working with the GLA “Decentralised Energy Project Delivery Unit” to configure the scheme so that it would be commercially attractive to the energy services market. This work is currently ongoing. As and when new development comes forward it will be expected to help deliver and connect into such a district heating system, if feasible.”

Other OAPF energy studies undertaken include Vauxhall Nine Elms Battersea, London Riverside and White City amongst others.

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Energy initiatives in the Mayor’s new budget

February 2013: Following a short consultation period, the Mayor’s final 2013/14 Budget for the GLA Group has just been agreed at City Hall.  A press release sets out that this budget comprises funding for the the “Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime, Transport for London (TfL), the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (LFEPA), the London Legacy Development Corporation, and the Greater London Authority including the London Assembly. The total budget for GLA Group services is £16.5 billion.

The final documents are posted here. In terms of funding directed to energy programmes, the background statement to the budget sets out that:

“The Mayor is continuing to work towards improving London’s environment. Energy supply and master-planning is key to delivering sustainable development for London’s economy. Investment will continue through a Decentralised Energy programme (with £1.3 million over the next two years) which provides technical, commercial and financial advisory support to partners to help them bring their decentralised energy projects to the market. This work builds on the mapping of opportunities identified through the London Heat Map. Work will also progress with partners towards a district heating demonstration project, supported by European funds.” [para 5.8]

Also mentioned is that finance will be directed to homes in London through “a fund of up to £300 million with the European Investment Bank to deliver carbon-efficient affordable homes” [para 5.4]. This relates to a loan organised by The Housing Finance Corporation (THFC) and the EIB which should be available to be utilised shortly by London housing associations – see here, here and here for further information. The funding will be managed by THFC.

Though a few other environment-related projects are mentioned in the background statement document, and reference is made to energy efficiency work to be undertaken by LFEPA and also TfL, no mention is made of the Mayor’s RE:NEW home energy efficiency retrofit scheme, or RE:FIT or RE:CONNECT – however, with the budget only just finalised, it may be the case that further information is yet to be released.

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Is the Community Energy Strategy being kicked into the ‘long grass”?

February 2013: In a response given yesterday to a Parliamentary Question asking what the Government’s “policy is on support for localised renewable energy projects”, Energy Minister Greg Barker replied: “DECC is currently scoping a Community Energy Strategy and will publish a call for evidence in the spring.

DECC Ministers have previously stated that a consultation paper for the Community Energy Strategy would be issued in March 2013 – see transcript of Hansard here with the Secretary of State saying:

Mr Davey: Yes. We would then hope to finalise that community energy strategy before the summer recess, or it might end up going into the autumn.

The October 2012 minutes of the Government’s advisory board for the strategy, the Community Energy Contact Group (CECG), reflect a similar provisional timeline for the release of the Community Energy Strategy:

  • Informal consultation through the CECG (Mar-Apr)
  • (tbc) Formal consultation – Apr–Jul
  • (tbc) Publish Strategy – Aug-Sep

Similar time tabling references to the Strategy are also made in the Government’s recent Energy Efficiency Strategy (we’ll however leave to one side Greg Barker rather optimistic tweet in June 2012 that the strategy would be released “within months” which must have left DECC officials somewhat baffled at the time!).

So does it make any difference that DECC are now pointing to a ‘call for evidence’ being released in Spring 2013 rather than an actual draft consultation? Worryingly, it does bring to mind the process Government have been navigating the past five years in issuing policies to drive forward a heat strategy for the UK. A heat ‘call for evidence’ was first issued in 2008 by DECC’s predecessor department, BERR. This was followed by a consultation in 2009 for a Heat and Energy Saving Strategy which was then followed by a further Heat Consultation Strategy consultation in March 2012. We are now awaiting actual ‘policy proposals’ which are due to be released by DECC in March 2013.

Maybe the Community Energy Strategy will be pushed by Ministers more than heat policy has been to date. However – a move to the publication of a  ‘call for evidence’ rather than a draft consultation strategy must surely indicate that the original timelines set out to publish policies to support community-led energy projects are now behind schedule.

There are also indications in the CECG minutes that the Group are not entirely happy with progress to date. At the October 2012 meeting members “raised lack of progress on research requirements discussed at previous meeting as an outstanding issue” and that with regard to a proposed research paper – “members do not feel the current version reflects the previous meetings discussions and outcomes.” The Group’s previous meeting’s minutes also indicate that DECC resourcing for the initiative is limited (para 9) and that the work for the Community Energy Strategy appears to sit within DECC’s ‘Communication Directorate’, with the minutes stating that:

“The focus of the strategy should be community engagement, ideally setting out best practice and a model which all DECC community activity would follow… The Strategy could not seek to modify policies, except in respect to approaches to community partnership and community support. It may however recommend policy areas for further review.” [paras 10/11]

So – if the eventual strategy comes out a little late and doesn’t actually modify any policies at all, but simply sets out some advice and case studies on a website for communities to hopefully follow – does this in fact matter? Putting to one side that DECC do already have a mind-boggling (and not in a good way…) ‘Community Energy Online‘ website, with the Energy Bill current proposals making it more complex for the development of smaller scale generation schemes, it’s yet to be proved that DECC have the same level of ambition for the UK to achieve what has been seen in Germany which has now more than 80,000 German citizens come together in some 600 energy cooperatives”. Only time will tell…

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FITs – Tariff Table 1 April 2013 PV Only

February 2013: Ofgem have posted an updated list of tariff rates under the Feed-in Tariff scheme for PV installations. A lot more involved now! Download here.

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‘Groundbreaking plan to use excess heat from tube system for domestic electricity supply’

8 February 2013:   Following on from the recent inauguration of the Bunhill heat and power scheme, the Islington Tribune newspaper reports that the council is looking to use waste “heat from London Underground that escapes through a vent in City Road…to supply new private homes being built nearby.” The proposal was discussed at the Council’s Executive meeting on 7 February where the borough’s Energy Strategy for 2013-16 was also set out. The papers presented at the meeting provide additional information on the heat offtake scheme:

“The network extension will be innovative by capturing waste heat from the London Underground tube tunnel vent and the electrical substations on City Road. £1m grant funding has been applied for and is now available from the European Commission (EC) to help part-fund this innovative extension of the Bunhill heat network. £2.7M council capital is required to match this funding and this is being taken forward as part of the 2013/14 budget process.”

Building on the existing Seasonal Health and Affordable Warmth (SHAW) plan, the Strategy paper additionally sets out that a borough Fuel Poverty Strategy will be developed by March 2013. Download Making Islington fairer in tough times: Energy strategy 2013 -16 here.

Also discussed at the Executive meeting were procurement details of community heating system on the Finsbury Estate.

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Energy and Climate Questions to the Mayor

February 2013 This month the Mayor has been asked questions in relation to:

the Mayor’s position on nuclear and its role in securing London’s future energy supplies; the number of ‘low carbon generators’ currently helping power Transport for London’; the Mayor’s application to DECC’s  Fuel Poverty and Green Deal Pioneer Places funds; European Investment Bank (EIB) funding for energy efficiency retrofits in housing; the amount of energy consumed by The Shard; the potential for the Green Deal in London; further funding for the Mayor’s RE:NEW home energy efficiency programme; promoting the Green Deal to Londoners over-65; publication of the latest TfL Environment report; GLA environment publications; hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles; the number of fuel poverty households treated under RE:NEW; revised publication date of the RE:NEW evaluation report; the total number of homes treated under RE:NEW; funding and evaluation of the RE:CONNECT Low Carbon Zones programme; zero carbon developments on the Greenwich Penisula; the Mayor’s Low Carbon Prize; the RE:FIT Schools initiative; the number of jobs created under RE:FIT; progress on the LED traffic lights initiative.

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‘Boris Johnson’s climate flippancy translates into policy failure’

February 2013: Green Party London Assembly Member Jenny Jones writes on The Guardian website that “The London mayor has missed his own targets on domestic insulation, carbon emissions and electric cars – and now he questions climate science”. Read the full article here.

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Community Energy Strategy Update

February 2013: Energy and Climate Secretary of State Ed Davey said during DECC questions in the House of Commons earlier this week that the Government  “will introduce later this year the most ambitious community energy strategy this country has ever seen, and we will consult on it before we finalise it…We have a rather more ambitious approach to community energy than the previous Government ever had.” As highlighted in previous posts (here and here), a Community Energy Contact Group has been formed to advise DECC on the drafting of the strategy- details of the CECG can be viewed here.

The Community Energy Coalition published a Manifesto for Community Energy late last year which sets out some very good recommendations to Government on what the strategy should include as a minimum. Read the Manifesto here. Haringey Council is amongst the Manifesto’s many supporters.

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Can green energy cooperatives help solve the UK’s energy challenge?

February 2013: Great event took place at the Hub in Islington this week discussing the question “could green community energy cooperatives play an important part in achieving a low-carbon, energy independent future for the UK?” which included speakers from Brixton Energy, Energise Barnet, Carbon Leapfrog and Southern Solar. A helpful write-up of the article is available on the Positive News website.

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Green Deal training for Landlords

February 2013: Future Climate are undertaking training seminars for landlords on the Green Deal and ECO which “will help you understand how you can make the most of this new financing in keeping your properties up to date.”
Dates, times and venues for training
Monday 18 February 2013 – 9.30am to 12.30pm &1.30pm to 4.30pm – London Borough of Camden
Tuesday 19 February 2013 – 9.30am to 12.30pm – London Borough of Camden
Wednesday 20 February 2013 – 9.30am to 12.30pm and1.30pm to 4.30pm – London Borough of Camden
Thursday 21 February 2013 9.30am to 12.30pm – London Borough of Hackney
Monday 25 February 2013 9.30am to 12.30pm – London Borough of Camden

Full details on Future Climate’s website. The project is funded under DECC’s Green Deal Pioneer Places Fund.

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Electricity Consumption per London Borough

February 2013: London Datastore has posted a cut-down version of DECC’s latest statistics of electricity consumption by local authority providing just the London boroughs detail (use the Excel link provided on the London Datastore webpage). A timeseries of data from 2003-2011 is made available and includes electricity consumption (GWh) per borough for domestic customers and I&C (industrial and commercial) consumers. The table also provides the number of MPANs (Meter Point Administration Number) per borough per domestic/I&C sector. For more on MPANs see the following entry on Wikipedia …and for still more see the following factsheet on Elexon’s website.

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‘Londoners shouldn’t be left out in the cold’

February 2013: With National Energy Action (NEA) announcing today that there is now “a massive shortfall in funding for insulation programmes for low-income households” Labour member of the London Assembly Murad Qureshi AM writes that “with energy prices skyrocketing by up to 11 per cent this winter it is unlikely many people are unaware of this growing crisis….In London the picture is stark. Before the price hikes, well over half a million London households were fuel poor. Yet London has got a raw deal from the energy companies – and not just on pricing.” Read the full article here.

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