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Monthly Archives: August 2016
August 2016: Really great to see three share offers have recently gone live in London providing opportunities to invest around £200,000 in community energy projects across schools, university and church buildings.
- Solar SOAS are seeking £40,000 for a solar installation on the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) Old Building. The project will install 114 solar panels – and the student union have already pledged £10,000 to the cost of the install. A list of useful FAQs can be seen here along with a video outlining the project. Solar SOAS state that “The solar panels are considered permitted development under Camden planning guidelines, therefore we do not need planning permission. As it is a listed building and in a conservation area, we do need listed building consent. Together with SOAS we have commissioned an extensive heritage impact report and submitted our application for listed building consent. We are awaiting the outcome of this but are confident we will get it.” The Heritage planning application is currently with Camden Council, some of the details of which can be seen here and here. Read more on the project on the Solar SOAS blog. The project succeeded in securing funding in May 2015 from the government’s Urban Community Energy Fund (UCEF) which was, sadly, terminated as of last month. Further info on the project on the following story on Solar Power Portal.
- Power Up North London’s project involves the installations of solar panels at St. Anne’s Church, Highgate. PUNL are seeking to raise £30,100 through a Community Share Offer to install 19kW. The project faced difficulties back in June when, as the Camden New Journal reported “a conservation officer at the Town Hall has queried the project on the grounds of the panels being visible and potential damage caused to historic fabric” which prompted “a letter-writing campaign to force Camden Council to give the scheme the go-ahead”. The planning application was subsequently approved by the council in July, as reported in the Ham & High. Full details of investment offer are available on their website.
- South East London Community Energy (SELCE) have been working for over a year to develop a number of solar projects on schools in the area. Their share offer was officially launched at City Hall in July and, as their website states, the “offer was so popular that it was oversubscribed and had to close a few days before the official end date of August 4th 2016. We have now raised £120,000 of investment from the community to install solar panels on three sites in South East London. These are: Alderwood Primary School, Deansfield Primary School
and Bannockburn Primary School.” This new project builds upon earlier successes – a £250,000 community share offer for a 184-panel solar array at Mulgrave Primary School in Woolwich.
August 2016: Community Energy Fortnight starts on September the 3rd, kicking off with a major conference in Oxford. A wide number of events are taking place across the country – including a good number in London, links to which are listed below:
- 6 September Storage and Opportunities for Community Energy
- 9 September The Solar Schools Solarbration
- 12 September Community Energy Drinks
- 14 September Entrepreneurial Women in Renewables – Ginopoly
- 18 September 100% Green Energy By 2050? – How Mosques Can Help
- 21 September Pure Leapfrog LED Community Project and Workshop
Further events may come forward – check the main CEF website for further details.
Energy for London will helping at an event on 8 September with Community Energy England, Repowering London and 10:10 – initiating work for the launch of a new hub for community energy groups in London – Community Energy London. If you’re working on a community energy project, exploring a potential opportunity, or simply want to find out more information on the community energy sector in London, do come along!
15 August 2016: Following a comment piece in the Evening Standard last week, on how London is supporting the growth of decentralised energy, here’s my letter in response which was published in the paper today.
August 2016: Looking through the 2016 issues of academic journal CITIES, there are a number of interesting papers with an energy/environmental theme posted online which are also Open Access – and hence available to download free of charge. These include:
- City dweller aspirations for cities of the future: How do environmental and personal wellbeing feature?
- Quality of life in cities – Empirical evidence in comparative European perspective
- Streamlining urban housing development: Are there environmental sustainability impacts?
- Where are urban energy transitions governed? Conceptualizing the complex governance arrangements for low-carbon mobility in Europe
- Cities and climate change mitigation: Economic opportunities and governance challenges in Asia
- Governing cities for sustainable energy: The UK case
- Methodologies for city-scale assessment of renewable energy generation potential to inform strategic energy infrastructure investment
- How website users segment a city: The geography of housing search in London
10 August 2016: Welcome to see the Evening Standard today include a major comment piece by Leo Johnson on how “Small-scale projects such as those in Newham, Brixton and Islington give a glimpse of Britain’s energy future”.
Leo highlights three projects in London as signs of how the decentralised energy model is now in the ascendancy, shifting from the “dominant energy model, the centralised production and distribution of fossil fuel-based power through the grid”.
- “In Newham, for example, the Combined Heat and intelligent Power plant (CHiP) aims to harness the energy from “fatbergs”, the bus-size balls of grease which cost Thames Water an estimated £1 million a month to remove, using teams of trained “flushers” decked out with protective white suits and shovels who descend into London’s Victorian sewer system to hack up the fat. CHiP plans to use the fat instead to power 40,000 homes.” This project is fascinating and received a lot of coverage when first announced back in 2013 – which was covered in some detail in an earlier post here – but not much further information has been forthcoming from the project on their website.
- “In Brixton, the energy group Repowering is installing solar panels on the rooftops of housing association buildings to lower fuel bills, and is teaming up with Transport for London to introduce “energy gardens” across 50 London Overground sites.” In June of this year, Repowering was awarded a prestigious Ashden Award for their work – a case study and excellent video are posted on the Ashden website here. The Energy Gardens project was covered by ITV news a few weeks ago – see video here – and more can be seen at energygarden.org.uk
- “At the Bunhill Energy Centre project in Islington, whose second phase was opened by Mayor Sadiq Khan last month, they’re using heat from the Northern line tube to power a thousand homes.” Lots more about Bunhill here.
Leo also highlights some work commissioned by the GLA by engineers Buro Happold “have estimated that there is enough heat wasted in London alone to power 70 per cent of the city’s energy needs. What’s the potential for growth? Copenhagen provides 98 per cent of its space and water heating through district heating, at 45 per cent of the cost of normal oil heating bills. London’s uptake, better than the one to two per cent national average, is currently just five per cent.” The 2013 London Secondary Heat study can be downloaded here.
August 2016: Interesing press release from Havering issued earlier this week which stated that “Havering Council is looking to harness the power of the sun by developing solar parks on its own land to generate a significant extra income for the borough.“
“These solar parks will allow Havering to become the first borough in London to generate renewable energy on a large scale to make money, which would be used to protect and improve frontline services. Energy produced in this way is clean, sustainable and renewable.
“The land on which the solar parks will be constructed will be underused space that will result in few if any adverse effects on community usage. Once the solar park is past its useful life, the panels can be removed and the site will revert to its previous condition.”
A public consultation will be released by the council on the proposal sometime in the future.
Havering have supported solar for sometime with a range of rooftop projects across existing council buildings – and the council cites a “recent report by Greenpeace [which] placed Havering as having the second highest percentage of solar power generated by homeowners in London, with over 1100 solar panel systems installed on domestic roofs.”
Havering councillors did however turn down an application in December 2014 for a solar farm in the borough. The developer went to appeal – but national government also refused the application earlier this year.
The press release also mentions that “The proposed solar parks will also have a positive impact on local biodiversity for a range of plant and animal species, in particular broad leaved plants, grasses, wild flowers, butterflies, bees and birds. Part of the Council’s proposals would be to work with local beekeepers to promote healthy honeybee populations, as well as Britain’s rarer bumblebees, in and around the solar parks.” The National Solar Centre’s Biodiversity Guidance for Solar Developments provides further information on the ways in which solar projects can support local ecology.
August 2016: The GLA’s home energy efficiency retrofit programme, RE:NEW, has posted a series of case studies on their website. These include a range of projects including:
- Retrofit of 204 properties at Lansdowne Green in Stockwell across
12 blocks all with a SAP rating of below 65.
- Converting individual electric heating to communal gas heating in 800 units across 10 blocks in Hackney
- Other projects profiled include retrofits in Tower Hamlets and Merton.
August 2016: The last set of sub regional Feed in Tariff (FIT) statistics published by DECC – before it is merged with the business department into BEIS – were published last week (available here). London PV data – alongside other UK regions – is reproduced below.
Table 1. Cumulative installations confirmed on the Central Feed-in Tariff Register by Region
Table 2. Cumulative capacity confirmed on the Central Feed-in Tariff Register by Region
So – as at the end of June 2016:
- London had 20,551 PV installations (95% of which were domestic installations) with a total combined electrical generating capacity of 83.911MW.
- London’s capacity represented just 2% of total UK PV generating capacity
- The last FIT quarterly data set (for data up to the end of March 2016) reported that London had 20,123 PV installations in London and 81.623 MW – indicating a 2.28MW increase in capacity over the last three months.