Monthly Archives: March 2013

London will heat up…

March 2013: The Environment Agency have produced a report presenting an overview of climate change impacts and shows how the “BACLIAT tool can be used in a workshop setting to help businesses and organisations adapt to the changing climate.” It provides a reminder of the challenges London will face  as a result of a warming climate – as predicted in the Met Office’s 2009 climate projections.

This all seems quite difficult to believe in the current run of inclement weather we’re having – but then  – I shouldn’t get confused between short term weather patterns and longer term climate change…

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DECC signs up to RE:FIT

March 2013: DECC have just announced that the department has signed up to the Mayor’s RE:FIT public sector energy efficiency retrofit programme. Signing up to RE:FIT will allow DECC to access guidance from the RE:FIT Programme Delivery Unit (PDU). Support from the PDU is funded by the GLA and is only available as a no cost service to public sector organisations in the London region. Organisations can then use the procurement framework established under RE:FIT – and the PDU can also help facilitate access to available funding sources, such as Salix, the London Energy Efficiency Fund (LEEF), and the  Public Works Loan Board amongst others.

The GLA have recently reported that “the RE:FIT programme was considered to be a highly effective, low cost model that the Department for Energy and Climate Change were considering as a model for a national scheme.

It should be noted that the EU Energy Efficiency Directive (agreed in June 2012 and required to be fully implemented by Spring 2014) includes an obligation on the central government estate to meet annual targets for building renovation the majority of this will of course be in Whitehall (see page 16 of the recent DECC Energy Efficiency Strategy from 2012 for background).

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Supporting the Green Deal in Social Housing

March 2013: A paper presented at the most recent GLA Housing Investment Group meeting has set out of the opportunities and challenges in expanding the Mayor’s housing retrofit programme, RE:FIT under the new landscape of the Green Deal and ECO. The paper sets out a proposal for additional funding for 2013/14.

“This paper seeks approval to allocate up to £150,000 for interim support to deliver early Green Deal and Energy Company Obligation (ECO) projects through the existing RE:NEW framework.

“To avoid a slowdown in delivery during this period, we intend to procure interim support to help manage the early pipeline of projects that have been developed through our work with social housing landlords.

Response to this project has been very positive and currently there are over £10m of potential projects currently being reviewed which could be ready to tender in the next 3-6 months, with a further £77m of identified projects under review. The total pipeline includes over £950m worth of potential projects and over 100,000 dwellings.

Additional information is available in Appendix A- RE:NEW project pipeline and Appendix B- Pipeline projects currently under review – status update

The process to identify projects was kicked off in a workshop at City Hall in December 2012: a great paper on Financing retrofit in London social housing by Verco was presented – and post workshop Verco have also prepared a summary of proceedings. Amongst the outputs  the key points for future success in attracting funding for energy efficiency retrofit in the social housing sector included:

  • Senior leadership buy-in (e.g. to overcome barriers)
  • Economies of scale
  • Get dedicated lead
  • Accurate stock data
  • Build relationships with suppliers and contractors ASAP
  • Know your stock – to be able to negotiate
  • Data – Tower Hamlets have a database of all properties in the borough (do surveys, get EPC data from DECC, not HEED – automatic calculation of Golden Rule) and;
  • There are wide differences in the helpfulness of planners in different London boroughs – if planners are less cooperative, try a multi-prong approach via sustainability officers or ward councillors (!)
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Green Deal Workshop for Lewisham SMEs

March 2013:  Lewisham Council is holding a free Green Deal Workshop local for SMEs  at Lewisham Town Hall on Thursday 28th March.

The morning’s agenda and places for workshop can be booked here. Details of how to become a Green Deal can be found on DECC’s website here.

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London SME retrofit programme details

15 March 2013: Details have been released that funding has been approved by the Mayor for a energy efficiency  programme targeted at London’s  small and medium enterprises (SMEs). The approval form sets out that “up to £21,000 will be allocated to commission work to deliver energy efficiency retrofit services. The project seeks to develop SME engagement, improve knowledge of the SME retrofit landscape, and establish suitable financial and delivery models using learning gained from the RE:FIT and RE:NEW programmes, with work to be completed by end-March 2013”.

The Mayor’s 2011 energy strategy set out findings that:

  • small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are reluctant to take action on installing energy efficiency measures and low and zero-carbon microgeneration technologies without seeing that government is taking action on it first (see para 2 or research here)
  • There are currently over 830,000 SMEs in the capital and collectively SMEs emit 20 per cent of the UK’s total CO2 emissions. Due to their size, SMEs  often do not have sufficient resources and expertise to allocate to energy management, and therefore require support and advice to reduce their energy use.
  • However, it is also often hard to reach SMEs and much of the support or drivers through legislation and other programmes are geared towards large organisations (SME data can be found here and here)

And set out the following action:

  • Action 8.5 – The Mayor will support SMEs to reduce their energy use by working with partners and using his programmes to signpost SMEs to existing sources of energy efficiency support. The Mayor will also review the provision of energy efficiency support to SMEs in London, identifying areas where further action is required, and developing support in areas where the Mayor can contribute to its quality, availability and accessibility.

The approval form concludes:

“This work would directly feed into a paper submitted to the Housing Investment Group for approval of GLA funding and resources to deliver pilot projects in 2013-14, and develop a pan-London SME programme. It is currently anticipated that procurement for the full programme would be commenced from 2014, with a full roll-out from 2015 onwards.”

Hence any pan-London programme would, if approved, fully start under a new Mayor after the next London election.

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Solar sector hails innovative move as even more significant than EMR

15 March 2013: A BusinessGreen story today reports on some industry reaction to the Mayor of London’s proposal to enter into the electricity trading market  (details of which are set out here).

“Leonie Greene of the Solar Trade Association said London was taking a “pioneering” step that could encourage other towns, cities, and communities to follow suit. London is the first to apply for a Licence Lite.“We’re much more excited about this than anything else in the Electricity Market Reforms process going through Westminster,” she told BusinessGreen. “People who live near renewable projects often say they want a way of buying the electricity directly, and through this kind of licence they can.”She added that the licence would allow independent generators to sell their electricity at a retail price via the GLA, rather than having to sell it much more cheaply on the wholesale market.”

DECC’s Secretary of State Ed Davey (also the London MP for Kingston) also welcomed the initiative stating: “This is a hugely encouraging development and I welcome the London Mayor’s announcement today and fully support councils such as Haringey with this project.  Opening up our energy market to smaller companies is good news for competition and therefore good news for consumers.  This is a welcome initiative that will make better use of energy produced locally and help Londoners get the best bang for their buck.”

The Electricity Market Reforms – or EMR – refer to the proposals currently going through Parliament in the Energy Bill. These include the introduction of Contracts for Differences (CfDs) for low carbon generators – guaranteed market prices which will be paid for the production of power. The new system proposed has been widely criticised as being overly complex and a significant barrier to smaller power generators (see the following post for more detail).

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Intelligent energy integration for London’s decentralised energy projects

15 March 2013: “The Mayor is interested in how decentralised energy can form part of a Smart energy system to provide more efficient, sustainable and resilient supply. He has commissioned a technical and market analysis of the emerging opportunities to use smart technologies and services to integrate the production and use of heat and power within London. This considers how an intelligent energy system might evolve in London in the period up to 2050, the key technologies that could be deployed and the organisational structures required.”

Download the report “‘Smart City’ – Intelligent energy integration for London’s decentralised energy projects” here. Will return to some of the outputs of this report in a future post.

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Regional Green Deal statistics available …but not quite yet

14 March 2013: DECC published their first statistical release today on activity under the Green Deal over the months of January and February 2013 (statement by Secretary of State here). This revealed that 1,803 assessments of properties have taken place over the two months. The statistics however do not set out where these assessments were undertaken – ie no regional breakdown has been provided – which is hugely disappointing. Hence – the following twitter conversation took place.

So – Green Deal (and ECO also …?) regional statistics (hopefully at the local authority rather simply the regional level) will be made available in the fuller dataset released in June of this year. DECC should also consider reporting on a regional basis in the monthly stats …a discussion that will likely continue. Interested parties do feel free to contact DECC to request this happens!

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FT: ‘London seeks energy supply licence’

14 March 2013: The GLA has recently approved a process to secure a junior – or ‘lite’ – electricity supply licence – the benefits of which are set out in an earlier post here.

The Mayor recently updated progress on this work stating that:

“Technical assessments of the services to be procured from the electricity market and regulatory matters needing to be addressed have been made. The GLA met Ofgem (the electricity regulator) at the beginning of February 2013 to enable a formal application for a licence.”

And the FT has today reported on this work stating: “The GLA is the first public authority to apply for a so-called Licence Lite, an electricity supply permit that would allow it to buy excess electricity from London’s boroughs and sell it back at cost price to other public bodies in the capital, such as the police or NHS hospitals.” The GLA press release is available here.

The report goes that:

“Several London boroughs run generators to power public buildings, such as Islington’s Bunhill Heat and Power project, which uses a gas-fired generator to heat homes and local swimming pools. Westminster operates two gas-fired generators in Pimlico that heat homes, businesses and three schools. Excess energy produced at these sites is returned to the National Grid through a mainstream supplier at a variable wholesale rate of about 5 pence per kWh. The GLA would offer 20 to 30 per cent more for the boroughs’ excess as a way of encouraging growth in the low-carbon energy infrastructure. Ofgem, the energy regulator, brought in Licence Lite in 2009 but no permit has yet been issued. Some blame uncertainty over the legal obligations a new supplier would face, as well as lack of interest from existing industry suppliers. Licence Lite holders are required to contract with a mainstream supplier to provide regulatory and operational support.”

A dozen London boroughs, which together are capable of producing 76MW, could benefit from the scheme, which is intended for launch in 2014, the GLA said. If the measure is a success it would also be considered for private sector energy producers in London. By raising the returns on the energy produced by small suppliers, the GLA said, the move could help attract more than £8bn of investment in electricity infrastructure in the capital up to 2025.

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District Heating: The New Energy Utility

March 2013:  DECC launched its Heat Strategy at the March 2012 CHPA District Heating conference (see the DECC press release here). The Strategy highlights that up to 50% of buildings could be connected to heat networks by 2050. DECC are due to publish their policies and actions related to the Heat Strategy later this month and hence it’s timely that the CHPA are holding a follow up conference – District Heating: The New Energy Utility – on Friday 22 March 2013, where the keynote speaker will be David Wagstaff, Head of Heat Strategy and Policy at DECC.

Other sessions on the day will also include updates on the following issues:

  • The CHPA’s ‘Big Offer’, presented to DECC in November 2012, which lists out a series of measures that Government could take to boost the number and size of district heating schemes.
  • Finance is a key issue for district heating and there will be a session on how sources could expand with the industry in future.
  • On how Scotland is backing district heating through several government initiatives working to develop projects.
  • Information on an emerging  customer protection scheme for domestic customers on district heating.

The conference will take place at the Institution of Engineering and Technology, Savoy Place, London WC2. Places are free to attend but limited, so if you wish to attend please  book early by emailing

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Update on the ECO brokerage

March 2013: DECC have provided a summaries on the first four auctions undertaken under the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) brokerage (for more on the brokerage – see here and here).  Details can be viewed on DECC’s website here . They’re not the easiest thing to decipher…hence, useful that Inside Housing have produced the following analysis highlighting that:

  • Energy companies are paying as much as double last year’s high for carbon savings from energy efficiency works on homes
  • The identity of the organisations selling the savings is hidden until a deal is struck to make the process more transparent and competitive.
  • Many of the lots did not meet the reserve price set by green deal providers.
  • A spokesperson for DECC said: ‘Ultimately, the ECO brokerage market is in an early stage of development and it will take a few auctions for the price to settle.’
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Number of Fuel Poor Children In London

March 2013: New analysis undertaken for the Energy Bill Revolution by the Association of Conservation of Energy (ACE)provides a snapshot of families and (dependent) children in fuel poverty at the start of this year. It provides high-level estimates for the UK, England and the Devolved Nations. It then goes on to explore the nature and composition of fuel poverty amongst families and children, specifically in England.”

London of course has a high use of private rented sector accommodation and the research sets out that ” As with overall fuel poverty, children who live in privately rented accommodation are worst hit. By tenure, the proportion of children in fuel poverty is presented in Table 4.

“In 2010, average annual housing costs for families with dependent children in England – whom we consider to be in fuel poverty today, were:

  • Local authority housing: £3,800
  • Housing associations: £4,200
  • Owner occupiers: £4,500
  • Private rental: £7,400

This only hints at the additional difficulties faced by fuel poor families who are renting their accommodation privately, and provides a clear impetus for where resources to tackle fuel poverty needs to be prioritised.”

The report calculates that some 174,000 children – or 8.7% of children in London – are deemed to be fuel poor – illustrated below. Much more of interest to be viewed in the report.

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