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Monthly Archives: June 2013
June 2013: Brixton Energy have just sent out an update (copied below) on the launch of their third community-led photovoltaic development, which was attended by Secretary of State for Energy Ed Davey, and Energy Minister Greg Barker (in photo below).
“After months of hard work by the team at Repowering London and Brixton Energy’s committed volunteers, we are delighted to announce the launch of Brixton Energy Solar 3. The solar panels for Brixton Energy Solar 3 will be installed on four buildings on Brixton Hill within the Roupell Park Estate: Hyperion House, Fairview House, Warnham House and the Community Office.
How is Brixton Energy Solar 3 even better?
- We have involved young people from the estate with paid work experience from the very beginning. They have been doing everything from knocking on doors carrying out surveys, to learning about energy efficiency and how to make solar panels. With your support, they will now be installing solar panels on their estate!
- The returns on this project are even higher! We project an annual return of around 4% (in addition to the the 50% tax relief received via SEIS) for Brixton Energy Solar 3, as we will be using more energy onsite. That’s great for Roupell Park too, as more of the buildings will now be powered by clean renewable energy. We will also be generating more money for our unique Community Energy Efficiency Fund.
- More clean electricity! The combined array for Brixton Energy Solar 3 will have 52.5kW installed capacity and is expected to save approximately 22 tonnes of CO2 every year.
- Even more people can now get involved and take ownership of renewable energy. To support this, we have reduced the minimum investment to £50 for residents of the Roupell Park estate.
- It’s now even easier and quickier to purchase your shares! Just go to http://www.repowering.org.uk/projects/roupell-park, fill out your details and you’re done.
June 2013: Earlier this month the Greater London Authority (GLA) hosted a workshop that “covered the design principles of secondary heating systems in new developments, to ensure compatibility with existing or planned DH networks across London.” Presentations made on the day are available to view here including talks on the Kings Cross decentralised energy scheme, and on the latest proposals for the development of Battersea Power Station.
The workshop builds on the release earlier this year of the initial version of the GLA’s ‘District Heating Manual for London‘ (link to manual here). The press released issued at the Manual’s launch states that “London is experiencing a significant uplift in decentralised energy schemes with City Hall currently supporting the delivery of schemes valued at more than £300m where the principles of the manual are being applied. This is helping to support a growth in the sector including jobs and infrastructure investment in the capital.
“The manual, the first of its kind in the UK, is designed to be a ‘live’ document that will be updated and feedback is encouraged in time for the next revision to be published this summer.”
14 June 2013: The Mayor presented £20,000 to the winners of this year’s Low Carbon Prize, William Hines and Rachel Clemo, both students at UCL. The press release highlights that the winning entry “‘Reseed’, is an idea to remove the need for paper receipts and allow users to access their receipts online using their smartphones. Receipts are costly to produce, easy to lose, and add to consumer waste, so the new system would save money for retailers who would be encouraged to donate a percentage of their savings towards planting more trees. The students receive not only the title of winners of the Mayor’s Low Carbon Prize but the opportunity to turn their idea into a commercial reality with cash and practical support.”
June 2013: See video presentations made by London MP (Kingston & Surbiton) and Secretary of State for Energy Ed Davey and Energy Minister Greg Barker on the new Community Energy Call for Evidence, launched at the Repowering London site in Brixton.
Further information on future projects by Repowering London here.
13 June 2013: The House of Commons Library has issued a useful briefing note on the Energy Bill. Included in the note is a summary of discussions on concerns of how community energy schemes will operate under the new complex electricity market reform (EMR) regime.
The note highlights the key issues with the following text:
“Community Energy Schemes
“In its pre-legislative scrutiny of the Draft Energy Bill, the Energy and Climate Change Committee concluded that the proposed CFDs were unlikely to work for smaller electricity providers, such as community schemes. It heard evidence that the problems for smaller-scale projects included:
- A lack of financial capability to deal with the complexities and uncertainties of CFDs, resulting in high transaction costs; and
- Difficulties in obtaining the full reference price for the electricity they generate, resulting in lower income per unit of electricity generated.
(House of Commons Energy and Climate Change Committee, Draft Energy Bill: Pre-legislative Scrutiny July 2012, HC 275-i of session 2012–13, para 66)
June 2013: The Mayor has announced the launch of a new RE:FIT Schools Energy Efficiency Programme. The GLA press release sets out that the “scheme will offer schools the opportunity to see where energy savings could be made, free technical support to make these changes and access to an interest free loan to cover the costs of installing any necessary energy saving equipment, such as improved insulation, low energy lighting systems and new, efficient boilers. ” The press release goes on to say that “The schools RE: FIT programme is anticipated to run over three years and help up to 200 schools and academies become more energy efficient, creating over 175 jobs and many more apprenticeship opportunities in the capital’s burgeoning energy efficiency sector.” For further information see www.refit.org.uk.
The RE:FIT Programme Delivery Unit will be holding regular workshops to brief interested groups of schools. Contact the programme if you are wish to attend.
June 2013: The Deputy Mayor for Housing, Richard Blakeway, provided the opening address at the recent Energy UK/DECC ‘Energy Company Obligation (ECO)’ London event held at City Hall. Mr Blakeway spoke about the future ambitions for the Mayor’s RE:NEW home energy efficiency retrofit scheme stating that:
- On the basis of London’s population, when compared with the rest of the country, up to 21% of the £1.3bn ECO fund should be coming into the capital each year. London has however fared poorly under the Government’s energy efficiency obligation schemes to date.
- Hence, the GLA have been talking to the ‘big 6’ major energy suppliers are are looking to establish a Memorandum of Understanding to help increase the delivery of energy efficiency measures to Londoners’ homes.
- These have been “really positive discussions” and the GLA are now working to identify a pipeline of homes that benefit from the ECO
- The GLA are also examining the “niggles in the system” which are hindering progress, such as parking issues for energy companies when visiting homes.
- The GLA are working with social landlords – who maintain around 800,000 homes in the capital – to identify ‘at scale’ homes that could qualify.
- Initial work has identified a pipeline of 100,000 properties that could be “early beneficiaries of the ECO”. (for further information see consultancy Verco’s research paper on this earlier post).
- To channel this work, the GLA are establishing a new Programme Delivery Unit. The PDU will work with boroughs, social housinglandlord and other stakeholders to support and increase uptake of the Green Deal and ECO schemes.
- Positions are now being appointed for the PDU which should be operational by June.
- Similar to other Mayoral programmes, such as RE:NEW and RE:FIT, the PDU will establish a framework contract for delivery agents, helping speed up the procurement process for local authorities and other housing providers.
A recent presentation by the GLA provides some further background to the new PDU.
June 2013: The Mayor has set out priorities for the capital over the following decade in a new publication 2020 Vision – The Greatest City on Earth:Ambitions for London. Examples of some of the challenges highlighted in the accompanying press release include that “London’s population will hit ten million by 2030. London also needs 400,000 new homes in the next ten years alone.”
Despite the Mayor stating in the report that “The country as a whole is facing an energy crisis” (see below), disappointingly, across the 84 pages of the report, little is said in relation to practical measures the Mayor will undertake in helping secure London’s energy requirements to 2020 and beyond. There is also no specific reference at all to climate change in the report or how the capital may need to adapt to changed weather patterns. The ‘Securing our Energy Supplies’ section (p44) sets out many of the problems – but few future actions:
“New homes and new transport links will put pressure on other forms of infrastructure, notably water, sewage and energy. The country as a whole is facing an energy crisis, as nuclear power stations reach the end of their lives and as coal fired stations are closed to comply with EU regulations.
For too long London has been reliant solely on the National Grid and we need six new £40m substations urgently. It is time to take much bolder steps towards self-sufficiency. We are reducing wasted energy – retrofitting tens of thousands of buildings and helping to reduce fuel bills.
London’s CO2 emissions have actually fallen by 13.7 per cent since 2000, and are now back at 1990 levels. Our retrofitting schemes have so far improved the efficiency of 111 public buildings and 82,000 homes.
By 2020 we must have in hand a project to retrofit every badly insulated home in the city, and every badly insulated office -not just to save energy, save CO2 but to save Londoners’money in tough economic times. As they have discovered in Germany, these retrofitting schemes can be formidable creators of employment.
A building the size of the Shard can use as much electricity as Colchester – and so we need to meet London’s energy needs as independently as possible. By 2025 we intend to supply 25 per cent of the city’s power from decentralised energy generation within London itself – and it is clearly right that these plants should run, as far as possible, on renewable fuels.
It is a little known fact that TfL has its own power station in Greenwich, and we are now working with the private sector to convert that station to provide heat and power from low carbon energy sources; and this could be the first of many.” (for more on this see here and here)
There is, not surprisingly, a strong emphasis on the creation of new jobs for Londoners running as major thread through the report. The Mayor has previously highlighted the opportunity presented to London through the adoption of low carbon programmes – a 2011 study for the Mayor suggesting up to 14,000 jobs could be created. Boris’s 2012 Mayoral election manifesto stated that 4,300 ‘green’ jobs could be created through his retrofitting and decentralised energy programmes alone. Despite the mention in the report (see above) on how Germany has managed to boost employment by adopting major energy efficiency retrofit schemes, though there are 55 references to jobs in the ‘2020 Vision’ document, there is no single specific mention to how ‘green jobs’ will be further promoted.
Finally, the odd factlet stated in the report comparing the electricity use in Colchester to The Shard (see above) was first used in a column the Mayor wrote in the Daily Telegraph in December 2012…and was disputed soon after.
June 2013: The GLA’s Environment Programme budget for 2013-14 has recently been approved by the Mayor, setting out a total spend of £946,000 to support the delivery of the GLA’s environment policy and programmes. The approval form sets out in detail priorities being focussed on across the environment programme, but listed below are those actions specifically related to energy and climate:
- £100,000 to fund consultancy support for Energy Assessments: The London Plan sets out a requirement for developers to submit an energy assessment as part of their planning application.The Environment Team appraises at least 300 applications per year and requires part time expert consultancy support to assist on some highly technical issues. More on this here.
- £125,000 for the preparation of the London Energy & Greenhouse Gases Inventory (LEGGI) and London Atmospheric Emissions Inventory (LAEI) which provide baseline information on London energy use, greenhouse gas and air pollutant emissions.
- £30,000 for a CHP in social housing study. This research will help demonstrate the commercial viability of Combined Heat and Power schemes in social housing over the installation of individual boilers and support the application of the energy hierarchy in the London Plan.
- Guidance for developers on revised Building Regulations. The review of Part L of Buildings Regulations will lead to revised standards for new buildings coming into effect in October 2013. This study will recalibrate the standards in the London Plan (Policy 5.2 – see page 141) and provide guidance to the London Plan team and developers.
- £30,000 to London Climate Change Partnership (LCCP) to undertake 3 projects: a) working with commercial landlords to reduce climate risks to the premises and tenants, b) working with social housing landlords in 4 boroughs to reduce overheating risks, c) undertaking a scoping study to define and increase the ‘adaptation economy’.
- £30,000 for Hydrogen London – The Hydrogen London 2013-2014 programme will deliver the Mayor’s vision of London as a global centre of hydrogen and fuel cell activity, services and early adopter of these technologies.
- £10,000 to review London’s CO2 emissions from waste – including to monitoring CO2 emissions from municipal waste management and reviewing CO2 metrics for waste (for previous work on this issue by the GLA see the following links here and here)
- £160,000 to retrofitting London – £110k will support the development of interventions with London Councils and the boroughs to remove barriers to delivery of energy efficiency. These include guidance for conservation areas and areas with a high density of listed buildings; procurement and analysis of energy performance certificate (EPC) data to enable the targeted identification of properties, quantification of the impact of emerging energy legislation and build the investment case for increasing the ‘success rate’ for delivery of measures. £50k will support the development of delivery models to maximise engagement to increase uptake in the private rented and owner occupied sectors (70 per cent of London’s housing stock).
- £66,000 to delivering decentralised energy – Funding the London Heat Map (£16k in 2013/14 and £9k per year thereafter) – which identifies opportunities for local energy supply projects. The costs involve the GLA maintaining the current site hosted by RADE includes cost of ArcGIS server licence (a one off fee), hosting and admin costs for the site. LWaRB have agreed to pay 50 per cent towards the licence and hosting services.
- £30,000 for Energy master plans (EMPs) – these provide the strategic planning function that underpins the delivery of strategic DE projects. The EMP provides a high-level feasibility and viability assessment and puts forward a ‘preferred solution’ for the energy infrastructure of that area. Funding will support three EMPs . EMP costs around £50k to produce. GLA will make £~10k contributions, developers and boroughs will contribute the remaining required budget. Recent energy masterplans undertaken include major regeneration sites in Croydon, Vauxhall Nine Elms Battersea, White City and London Riverside.
- £20,000 in 2013/14 and £50,000 in 2014/15 to Licence Lite – following our recent application to become a supplier we will need to work with Ofgem and the electricity supply market to develop business model and submit for Mayoral approval. We will work with market advisors on completing matrix of services needed and completion of formal legal agreements for services. (see here and here for further detail).
June 2013: The London Assembly Housing and Regeneration Committee has published findings of their year-long inquiry into London’s private rented sector housing. Their report – Rent Reform: Making London’s Private Rented Sector Fit for Purpose – includes 20 wide-ranging recommendations to the Mayor looking to improve the situation in London for what – the Committee calls – “Generation Rent”. Included amongst these is one specifically in relation to the energy efficiency of private rented sector homes.
Recommendation 9 states that the “Mayor needs to ensure that minimum energy efficiency standards are achieved in the private rented sector by 2018, in accordance with the Energy Act (2011), and that sufficient standards are achieved by 2025 to meet the targets for domestic carbon dioxide emissions set out in the Mayor’s Climate Change Mitigation and Energy Strategy. To do this the Mayor should identify properties in the private rented sector that could benefit from the Government’s Green Deal energy efficiency programme and inform landlords once formal offers become available. The Mayor should also ensure that landlords also have access to ECO funding streams to help ensure their property is energy efficient so tenants’ housing costs can be reduced.”
The Mayor published in December 2012 a new ‘London Rental Standard‘ setting out his proposals to help improve London’s private rented sector. The Committee however are fairly dismissive of the standard stating that “The Mayor has made a commitment to improve the private rented offer in London through a new London rental standard that landlords are encouraged to sign up to. But a majority of the Committee believes that this standard does not offer anything new – it reflects current basic legal requirements and existing accreditation schemes.” [p9]
This is certainly true in relation to standard’s requirement on energy efficiency – which is exactly the same as those set out in the Government’s Energy Act 2011 (see an earlier post here for a full explanation – including why the requirement should be more demanding). But – confusingly- despite the committee’s criticism, their recommendation 9 does not look to go any further on energy efficiency than that set out by in the Housing Standard/Energy Act either…?
The committee also sets out that “One in four Londoners now rents privately and there have been significant rent rises in the capital. Median rents in London rose last year by 9 per cent to £1,196 per month.” Recent work by the Energy Bill Revolution has highlighted the impact of rent increases in the private rented sector. Whilst the Mayor has as yet not made an assessment of the impact of such rent increases on London’s fuel poor, the Mayor has reported that his RE:NEW programme is paying particular attention to delivering energy efficiency measures to the private rented sector.
6 June 2013: Ed Davey MP, Secretary of State at DECC, will be launching his department’s Community Energy ‘call for evidence’ at the Brixton Energy project on the Loughborough Estate later today (see an earlier post here for details on this ‘call for evidence’). Mr Davey writes in today’s Guardian that:
“Today I will be visiting the Repowering South London project in Brixton. Several hundred square metres of solar panels have been installed on six blocks in the Loughborough Estate and the project is providing work placement opportunities for local young and unemployed people from the estate.
These examples are fantastic and extremely encouraging. I want to see community energy projects rolled out across the country, but we need a strategy to help unlock the potential. And that strategy has to be informed by the best available evidence.”
Further information on the Government’s work on Community Energy to date can be seen on their micro-site here. Minutes of the Community Energy Contact Group meetings can be viewed here. An excellent piece in last week’s issue of Utility Week – here – provides a great overview of many of the key issues.
June 2013: Analysis by consultancy WSP in their report – ‘Solar Success: Space Not Cash the Key for Solar’ reflects previous posts by Energy for London (see here and here), highlighting London’s poor progress when compared to other regions in relation to the installation of solar photovoltaic systems.
The conclusions summarise the Feed in Tariff Installation report data, produced by energy regulator Ofgem, highlighting local authority installations per 10,000 households.
The analysis shows that London boroughs make up 23 of the 25 lowest ranking local authorities for solar installations and the entire bottom 10 in the national league table. Westminster, Tower Hamlets, the City of London, Kensington and Chelsea, Hammersmith and Fulham, and Southwark are all found in the bottom five.
The report points out that: “Even The Orkneys at 232/10,000 houses comes 55th out of 760 on installation rates – higher than every local authority in Surrey, Kent and London – areas which receive much more sun than Scotland. To get most bang for buck, incentives should encourage the sunniest areas to get more panels than the furthest north. This, however, isn’t the case – the reality of politics over good green policies.”
Reasons for London’s limited success with PV put forward include: “While we might think that cities should be happy hunting grounds for solar sales, in reality houses in towns are smaller, their roofs are more likely to be obscured and there’s also less owner occupation.”