Monthly Archives: October 2015

Energy & Climate Change Questions to the Mayor

October 2015: This month the Mayor has been asked questions in relation to: the number of London projects awarded funding from government’s Urban Community Energy Fund (UCEF); minutes of the London Plan Energy Advisory Group meetings; helping reduce energy bills for Londoners who have electric heating; GLA loan to Tempus Energy; the impact of the closure of the Green Deal; minimum energy efficiency standards on London’s Private Rented Sector; support for the Governor of the Bank of England’s recent comments on carbon disclosure (and again) ; the FIT consultation and it’s impact on London’s solar industry (and again here); suppliers on the Mayor’s new RE:NEW energy efficiency retrofit framework; London Pension Fund Authority (LPFA) investment in the fossil fuel sector; projected returns from investments made by the London Energy Efficiency Fund (LEEF); planning approval of the Beddington incinerator; a health impact assessment for Beddington incinerator; London Plan requirements for borough planning carbon offset funds; London business risk and financial exposure to a ‘carbon bubble‘; climate sceptic views; Greenwich Power Station update; LED lighting on the Great West Road; production of BioSNG in London; tackling fuel poverty; the rollout of smart meters in London; supporting London businesses resilience to climate change; and an update to the License Lite process.

Previous months questions to the Mayor can be found here.

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How Deep Does London Go?

27 October 2015: Great graphic and post on The Londonist website illustrating subterranean London which shows – amongst many other things beneath our feet – the newly constructed London Power Tunnels project.

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London benchmarks for cooling demand in new residential developments

October 2015: The Mayor’s has published a set of “good practice cooling energy demand benchmarks for typical apartment dwelling types, based on reasonable design measures”.

The work was undertaken by AECOM for the GLA and supports the London Plan’s cooling hierarchy as set out in Policy 5.9 of  Chapter 5 of the London Plan (London’s Response to Climate Change) which states the following [page 200 onwards]:

Major development proposals should reduce potential overheating and reliance on air conditioning systems and demonstrate this in accordance with the following cooling hierarchy:

  1. minimise internal heat generation through energy efficient design
  2. reduce the amount of heat entering a building in summer through orientation, shading, albedo, fenestration, insulation and green roofs and walls
  3. manage the heat within the building through exposed internal thermal mass and high ceilings
  4. passive ventilation
  5. mechanical ventilation
  6. active cooling systems (ensuring they are the lowest carbon options).

Two case studies where overheating in London developments has been identified are referenced in the study, including the Seagar Distillery redevelopment in Lewisham, as well as a paper, Forecasting future cooling demand in London, which estimates that the London residential sector could be responsible for an extra 100,000 tonnes CO2 per year by 2030 as a result of cooling.

A number of conclusions and recommendations are made in the study (p60 onwards) including:

  • GLA could produce a checklist for developers to complete with information about glazing ratios, shading methods, ventilation options etc. to help determine whether the development is likely to have overheating problems that should be investigated further. It could be used to identify when detailed modelling is required and could help monitor typical responses to the cooling hierarchy.
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London Heat Supply Workshop Presentations

October 2015: The GLA held a London Energy Plan: Heat Supply workshop on the 25th of September – the slides for which have just become available and can be downloaded here.  The workshop included presentations from the GLA on their forthcoming Energy Masterplan for London; from Camden Council on their decentralised energy plans; and from consultancy Element Energy on the work they are undertaking for the GLA through the development of a heat plan model.

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London Riverside decentralised energy plans develop

26 October 2015: Plans for the development of the London Riverside Opportunity Area have been progressing for some years now (see post here). Following a consultation earlier this year, final plans were adopted by the Mayor of London on 23 September 2015 as Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPG) to the London Plan and published online and launched at a public event at the NLA on 22 October 2015.

London Riverside is one for 4 Opportunity Areas (OA) covering a wide scale development in the East of London comprising London Bridge, Canada Water, Deptford Creek/Greenwich Riverside, Isle of Dogs, Lower Lee Valley, Upper Lee Valley, Ilford, Greenwich Peninsula, Charlton Riverside, Woolwich, London Riverside, Bexley Riverside and Abbey Wood and Thamesmead. The planning frameworks across they areas are at at different stages of development: further information on them can be found here.

The London Riverside OA covers some 2,500 hectares encompassing parts of Barking and Dagenham and Havering, adjoining the borough boundary with Newham in the west, and forms part of the Thames Gateway growth area.

The planning framework has always discussed proposals for an area wide district heating initiative and the revised set of Opportunity Area Planning Framework (OAPF) documents includes a ‘Decentralised Energy‘ chapter which identifies “opportunities for decentralised energy production and the development of a satellite district-heating networks across the OA that interconnect over time to supply locally produced low to zero carbon energy“.

The chapter also captures the significant amount of work going on in relation to decentralised energy across the region: “Havering Council, with the support of the DECC and the GLA has produced an Energy Masterplan focussing on a Rainham and Beam Park district heat network delivering low carbon heat. It also sets out therole of satellite district-heat networks across theopportunity area that could interconnect over timeto supply locally produced low to zero carbon andwaste energy sources. The Rainham and Beam Park Energy Masterplan should be taken into consideration alongside this framework.”

There are number of planned and existing decentralised energy schemes within the London Riverside area (as shown in graphic above) which the planning document considers as part of the area’s energy strategy, .

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Mayor pulls no punches in FIT consultation response

23 October 2015: The Mayor has posted his submission to DECC’s Feed in Tariff (FIT) consultation online today (the deadline for the response) alongside a letter to Energy Minister Andrea Leadsom, from Deputy Mayor for Energy & the Environment, Matthew Pencharz.

The letter pulls no punches, stating “Unfortunately, the proposals that have been consulted on, with little or no prior warning, to come into force, in the new year has created great uncertainty in the solar PV industry, potentially putting at threat thousands of jobs across the UK. The Mayor is concerned about the potential impact on the 3,100 jobs, mainly in SMEs, which make up the solar PV industry in London.”

“The Mayor’s view is that in order to ensure an orderly transition to subsidy-free solar PV industry, there should be a gradual tapering of the FIT over a two-three year period.”

The Mayor has voiced his concerns over DECC’s proposals for some months now (see previous statement here) and his sentiments for a ‘gradual tapering’ echo calls from industry organisations, such as the Solar Trade Association, who have strongly campaigned against the proposed ‘cliff edge’ withdrawal of support for solar, setting out their own recommendations in a ‘£1 plan‘ to 2019.

The Mayor’s response to the FIT consultation goes on to raise a number of highly relevant issues for London, including:

  • the proposed cuts to the FIT could significantly hamper solar PV deployment rates in London, which already face major rollout challenges, including negatively impacting upon the delivery of Mayor’s retrofit programmes, RE:NEW and RE:FIT
  • the proposed tightening of the energy efficiency criteria would prevent a large number of properties in London from installing solar PV without significant investment in energy efficiency improvements, for which there is no longer support available following the termination of the Green Deal
  • whilst a move towards smart metering with net metering functionality is welcome, making it a requirement for receipt of the export tariff would require a commitment or obligation on the energy suppliers to install a smart meter in a timely manner, as well as ensuring that the property was currently suitable for installation of a smart meter – an issue which arises frequently in London.

The Mayor’s response also raise concerns about the impact of the proposals on community energy projects in London. All in all, this is a significant intervention by the Mayor in what has become a highly politicised consultation.

At a recent DECC FIT workshop, officials have said they are looking to respond to the consultation by late November/early December (this is needed as the consultation proposes to introduce changes to the FIT programme as early as January 2016!). With the number of responses predicted to be in the thousands (the shorter-run FIT pre-accreditation consultation had over 2,000 responses), and with the threat of major job cuts in the department, it looks like it’s going to be a busy few weeks over at 3 Whitehall Place…

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UK’s most sustainable historic building in London’s West End

22 October 2015: The Guardian reports: “Hailed as the UK’s most sustainable historic building, the Regent Street office scheme, 7 Air Street, comes with an ecological roof incorporating flowers, vegetation, grasses and habitats for insects, birds and bats.  The building has received BREEAM outstanding rating, the highest award possible from the industry body which judges best practice for sustainability in the built environment.

“It features solar panels, low energy air conditioning, LED lighting and a unique central energy centre, powered by fuel cell technology, which saves around 350 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions each year, while providing power to 500,000 sq ft of commercial and residential accommodation on Regent Street, including the Cafe Royal Hotel and the 20 Air Street office building.

A previous post provides some additional details behind the fuel cell technology used.

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London Power Tunnels latest

October 2015: On Sunday 25 October an electricity transformer, the size of a large truck will be delivered to National Grid’s new Highbury Substation, on Seven Sisters Road, Islington – all part of the major London Power Tunnels Project. More here on this new piece of infrastructure. And more on the London Power Tunnels project here.

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Carbon Neutral Arcola

22 October 2015: “The Arcola Theatre in Dalston is a step closer to becoming the world’s first carbon-neutral theatre after it won funding for a new heating system”. Full story on Arcola’s plans to use a “biomass boiler, which generates heat from waste and scrap wood that would otherwise go to landfill”, following their recent funding award from Marks & Spencer’s Community Energy Fund, in the Hackney Citizen.

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London and the Electric Double Decker

21 October 2015: Building on announcements made earlier this year at the world’s first Clean Bus Summit at City Hall, that electric double decker buses were to be trialled in London, comes news that a deal has been signed between the Chinese bus company BYD and Scotland based, Alexander Dennis Ltd, to manufacture “200, 12-metre (40ft) single deck buses a year, representing turnover of around £660 million over the next 10 years. They are also in discussions to extend their alliance to include double decker buses which could triple the deal to almost £2 billion.”

A number of cities around the UK already have single decker electric buses in operation – including London (see below) – however, there have always been significant challenges in bringing forward an all-electric double decker bus due to the bus load and distance travelled.  A TfL press release from earlier this year announced that electric double-decker trial will run on route 16 between Cricklewood and Victoria Station, starting in October – however it’s not clear if this trial has in fact started (the Mayor responded to a recent MQ stating that “It is hoped they will enter passenger service later this year”).

At the same time, TfL’s hybrid (diesel-electric) bus fleet has grown to 1,500 vehicles – the largest in Europe – but there are now increasing concerns over the use of diesel and its impact on air quality emissions in London – even those used in hybrid vehicles, as a result of uncertainty on the reliability of the electric batteries used, and doubt over how often the buses are operating in hybrid mode – see recent story in ‘Air Quality News’ here based on a FOI request by London Assembly Member Stephen Knight AM. It appears more work will need to be done to ensure that hybrid double decker buses will deliver a low pollution mode of transport in the Mayor’s proposed Ultra Low Emission Zone.

A single decker pure electric bus route, the 312 – which runs between Norwood and South Croydon – details of which are on the following TfL press release. Further single decker electric bus services are due to start in 2016 – routes 507 and 521  – which link Waterloo station to Victoria and London Bridge stations respectively: 51 electric buses will operate across the two routes.

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Community Energy in London – Question Time

October 2015: Planned first get together of all London’s community energy groups!
Where – City Hall.
When – Thursday 12 November 6 – 9pm. More info here.
Energy for London is helping organise – and looking forward to see there:

and also Merton Power, Vauxhall Power, Streatham Power…and more!

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The Role of Energy Efficient Buildings

15 October 2015:  New study by those excellent boffins at Ecofys for European insulation trade body Eurima which highlights that “Beyond the main benefits of energy efficiency, such as reduced energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions, energy efficiency in buildings also has the potential to reduce costs and increase efficiency on the supply side.

Why would that be the case? It’s due to the amount of heating that is anticipated to shift from gas to electricity (boilers to heat pumps) over the coming decades:

Continue reading…

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