Monthly Archives: August 2014

London Business Energy Challenge Launched

August 2014: The Mayor’s Energy Advisor, Matthew Pencharz, writes on the GLA website “the Mayor is launching the Business Energy Challenge: a programme to stimulate action, encourage competition between companies taking that action and recognise what is being done by businesses in reducing the carbon intensity of their London portfolios.”
To find out more about the Business Energy Challenge, read the blog by the GLA’s Assistant Director for Environment, Stephen Tate. To enter the awards please email:

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RE:NEW sets out programme to 2017

6 August 2014: There have been a number of major updates to the  Mayor’s flagship home energy efficiency programme RE:NEW, which has been neatly set out in the August meeting of the GLA’s Housing Investment Group. These include:

  • Following a successful bid for funding from the European Investment Bank (EIB), RE:NEW was awarded €3,016,440 (£2,513,700) on 15 July 2014
  • This funding is being matched by a 10 per cent contribution by the GLA of €335,160 (£279,300), taking the funding for a three year support team to €3,351,600 (£2,793,000). The funding will provide a RE:NEW Support Team to 14 July 2017.
  • As with the previous phase of the RE:NEW, the programme is to be delivered by Capita Symonds, who were the successful bidder in an OJEU-compliant procurement
  • Capita will catalyse investment of £352 million through supporting retrofit to 175,000 properties in London over the next three years. This intervention is the largest and most ambitious retrofit programme anywhere in the UK and will save 93,000 annual tonnes of carbon by 2017.
  • An incentivisation model is built into the contract based on these three key performance indicators (KPI) and Capita have committed to achieving these through putting 20% of fees at risk.
  • Below is the three year KPI profile.
  • A RE:NEW Support Team ITT Schedule of Requirement provides additional programme aims, objectives and proposed benefits
  • A new GLA webpage sets out a revised and comprehensive list of RE:NEW Support Team Specialist Services available to local authorities.

The London Assembly has highlighted patchy progress reporting from the RE:NEW team to its members over the past few years (see here and here). In response to this criticism, the Mayor has now committed to providing quarterly reports.

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Focus on London’s Private Rented Sector and Energy Efficiency

August 2014: An important Early Day Motion (EDM) for London is currently doing the rounds in the House of Commons. EDM 95 ‘Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards for Private Rented Homes‘ sets out:

  • the Private Rented Sector (PRS) has over five times more homes in EPC Bands F and G than the social housing sector
  • nearly half the PRS households living in Band F and G properties are in fuel poverty
  • the Energy Act 2011, placed a duty on the Government to introduce a minimum energy efficiency standard for the PRS by April 2018
  • the EDM calls on the Government to ensure that the regulations are made clear and enforceable by specifying Band E as the minimum standard in all cases, and by keeping exemptions to an absolute minimum.

Suprisingly, only 4 London MPs have as yet signed the EDM:

  • Corbyn, Jeremy (Labour) Islington North
  • Jackson, Glenda (Labour) Hampstead and Kilburn
  • Love, Andrew (Labour) Edmonton
  • McDonnell, John (Labour) Hayes and Harlington

The Mayor’s recent consultation on a London Housing Strategy sets out how critical the PRS is to London and the challenges faced by Londoners living in rented accommodation. These include:

  • Rents are higher in the capital, with the median monthly rent for a private rented home at £1,300, compared with a national average of £595.20 Private sector tenants in London spend an average of 36% of their gross household income on rent.
  • the proportion of private renting households with children has increased sharply, from 19% to 29% between 2001 and 2011, indicating a growing reliance on this sector by families.
  • Retrofitting in the private rented sector has always been challenging, but the Mayor remains committed to seeing progress.

Together with the knowledge of the poorer levels of energy efficiency in rental properties, London clearly has much to do to help tackle energy costs and fuel poverty in the PRS.

The Mayor has introduced a ‘London Rental Standard‘ (updated in May 2014) setting out a voluntary set of minimum standards that the Mayor expects from landlords, managing agents and letting agents that operate in London’s private rented sector. Though London’s PRS faces particular stresses on energy, the Standard does not go above the national regulation requirements but simply points to the Energy Act’s defined minimum standard on energy efficiency:

  • Energy efficiency: landlords must work towards compliance with duties imposed upon them by the Energy Act 2011 especially related to requests for energy efficiency improvements by tenants and in relation to low ratings in energy performance.

And, in relation to this Energy Act 2011 duties, in July DECC issued a consultation on the of the introduction of the Private Rented Sector Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard Regulations setting out a series of questions around the scope and implementation of the regulations (with a deadline for responses of 2 September 2014). Minutes from a working group that lead to the development of the consultation can be viewed here.

London’s particular challenges are not picked up anywhere in the consultation document or impact assessment. Delivering energy efficiency to London’s PRS was however looked at in a National Energy Action (NEA) seminar earlier this year, which highlighted London’s added logistical, demographic and architectural challenges. Presentations from the event can be viewed here.

Much more information on the PRS is set out in the April 2014 ‘Housing In London‘ evidence base document.

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Boris on energy, marmite and marmalade

August 2014: The Mayor provided the following insight in his latest #AskBoris Twitter session.

I quite liked this – and so did several others it seems – with the issue picked up in the Telegraph, Fox News,and Evening Standard.

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Lewisham Free Home Energy Makeover

August 2014: Lewisham Council is looking for “a home we can use to showcase energy efficiency measures. We will install improvements worth up to £10,000 free of charge to make your home less energy hungry. This might be insulation for your walls, roof, doors or windows; more efficient lighting or heating or even renewable energy installed so you can generate your own energy. You’ll get a free assessment of your home to help you decide which measures you want installed.”

The deadline for entries is 31 August 2014.

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London identifies need for £148 billion energy infrastructure

August 2014: A major consultation has been issued by the May0r setting out the capital’s infrastructure challenges over the period to 2050.

The press release states that amongst the many needs London will face over the coming decades: “Demand on energy supplies is set to increase by 20 per cent during a period where demand on electricity supplies is forecast to more than double.”

The Mayor is to establish a new London Infrastructure Delivery Board which, amongst other issues, will consider:

“With energy demands at risk of outstripping supply and key developments such as those at Nine Elms at risk of delay as a result, the Mayor argues a strong long term plan to use energy more efficiently and bring in new capacity where we can is vital. A short term investment of £210m on electricity substations is required but in the long term changes to the regulatory regime must be considered as well as plans to supply a quarter of London’s energy from local sources and exploit the capital’s waste heat resource.

The consultation paper goes on to highlight that:

  • London may be facing an energy crisis in the very near future, as demand begins to outstrip supply
  • More local energy production will be needed to provide greater resilience
  • Local energy production will also help to reduce the national investment requirement and keep energy costs down for consumers
  • The GLA will ensure that further large-scale local projects to generate energy locally continue, by working with TfL (the capital’s largest energy consumer)
  • 40 per cent of London’s substations are already under stress; and that
  • the GLA will be working with UK Power Networks, developers, the London boroughs, Ofgem and the Government to ensure necessary regulatory changes are enacted to maintain London’s energy supply.

Table 1 (page 70) of the consultation paper provides an estimate that an incredible £148 billion of capital expenditure is required on energy infrastructure in London by  2050. The energy estimate assumes over 50 per cent of London’s energy is produced locally by 2050.

A major Arup study accompanies the consultation,  ‘The cost of London’s long-term infrastructure‘, and provides much more detail around the two modelling scenarios (‘hybrid’ and ‘centralised’) undertaken – which are based around DECC’s 2050 Pathways calculator – to reach the £148bn cost estimate.

A further report – ‘Enabling Infrastructure: Green, Energy, Water and Waste Infrastructure to 2050‘ – provides a summary of priorities to be taken forward by the Mayor on energy issues over the coming year, including that the GLA will:

“…produce a detailed spatial London energy infrastructure plan by the end of 2015 that accounts for infrastructure requirements and costs, supply decarbonisation and distribution capacity over time. We intend to produce it in collaboration with the DNOs. It will establish options for cost effective energy demand and the contribution that London as a whole can make to reducing the costs of decarbonisation and increasing system resilience.”

The consultation period will last for three months with responses requested by 31 October 2014 ands plans to publish a final report in early 2015.

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London Innovates…back in the 1930s

August 2014: Interesting foreword by Department of Energy and Climate Change Secretary of State Ed Davey – also MP for Kingston – to a new DECC document ‘Next Steps on CCS‘ which provides some background to Battersea Power Station:

“In the 1930s, in the midst of London’s pea-soup fog, Battersea Power Station was the first power station in the world to deploy an innovative technology known as “Flue Gas Desulphurisation” (FGD) to clean up sulphur dioxide in its toxic fumes – a key cause of London’s air pollution.

“The cost of that technology was significant and in the 1930s there were no financial or regulatory incentives to deploy FGD. Battersea was ahead of its time – for a variety of reasons, it took another 70 years before the technology was fully commercialised. But FGD is now installed in over 1700 power stations across the world and the energy industry expects to invest around $8bn in the technology in 2015 alone.

“Today the problem is not sulphur dioxide, but carbon dioxide. And to solve this problem we need more clean energy from renewable and nuclear sources, alongside cleaner energy from gas. But we also need a new generation of coal and gas power stations equipped with Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) for the 21st century.”

The Minister’s information is referenced to a case study by the UKERC which goes into a lot more detail – and highlights the role that councils played in bringing forward new energy technology!

Continue reading…

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“Where does Boris stand on climate change”?

8 August 2014:  RTCC website article ‘Bicycles and bluster: Boris Johnson, wannabe prime minister‘ asks “The notoriously ambitious London mayor says he will run for parliament, but where does he stand on climate change?”

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