Monthly Archives: October 2016

Energy and Climate Questions to the Mayor

October 2016: This month Mayor’s Question Time included the following:

whether an annual planning and energy assessment report will be published; higher energy costs for Londoners due to the Hinkley go-aheadsolar action plan consultation; supporting community energy projects through the Zero Carbon Homes policy; Energy for Londoners budget; the number of zero carbon homes projected to be in place in 2025 in the London Energy Scenarios report; the Mayor’s support for the Energy Bill Revolution campaign; the use of biomass in large scale centralised coal generating plant which supply power to London; the proposed increase in business rates on solar PV installations; supporting the Zero Carbon Homes policy in future revisions to the London Plan; supporting boroughs in the implementation of the Zero Carbon Homes policy; the range of options open to developers to meet the Zero Carbon Homes target; how forthcoming revisions to the London Plan will support the Zero Carbon Homes policy; the Energy Gardens programme and LPG conversion of London cabs.

Previous months questions to the Mayor can be found here.

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Havering Council could switch to solar energy with panels in Upminster and Harold Hill

7 October 2016: Following on from an earlier post about Havering’s Solar Parks initiative – comes further news on the borough’s ambitions, with a press notice that Havering seeks to become London’s first solar powered Council. In addition to plans to build two solar parks, which could have the potential of generating £1m annual income, the councils is exploring the potential for residents to directly invest in a sustainable future for the borough through a solar financial investment fund. Further information on the following Romford Reader article and Havering Council’s website here.

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Managing London’s Exposure to Climate Change

Managing London CC6 October 2016: Number of interesting recommendations made in thinktank, Future of London’s new report on climate change adaptation. The report – Managing London’s Exposure to Climate Change – was launched at an event held at Arup’s offices yesterday morning.

The GLA’s lead officer on climate change adaptation presented at the event and stated that a revision to the existing London Climate Change Adaptation Stragegy was currently underway – and would be issued for consultation in Spring 2017.

Notes from a workshop ‘Funding Climate Change Resilience’ that fed into the report’s findings can be found here.

Tweets from the launch event can be seen on the hashtag #FoLClimateRisk

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‘London disposal authority calls for food waste ban’

5 October 2016: Let’s Recycle report on North London Waste Authority’s submission to the EFRA Select Committee inquiry into Food Waste in England with the NLWA stating that a: “ ban on commercial and industrial food waste to landfill would have the benefit of diverting industrial food wastes from disposal, including the quantity of food waste from small restaurants and shops, thus making food waste collections potentially more viable for these premises and potentially further stimulating the market for anaerobic digestion.”

The response goes on:

“However, it may have the unintended consequence of encouraging retailers to sell more short-life food to householders to avoid sending the food to relatively expensive AD and composting outlets; which would have to be guarded against.”

The NLWA response echoes recommendations made by the London Assembly Environment Committee in their Bag it or bin it?: Managing London’s domestic food waste

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Cleaner Energy Drive at TfL?

October 2016: Really interesting interview by BusinessGreen with TfL Board Member Michael Liebreich. Michael, who is the founder of Bloomberg New Energy Finance and an industry expert on clean energy, has recently been reappointed to the Board by new Mayor Sadiq Khan. In addition to Michael’s expertise, in a further positive move, Dr Nina Skorupska, Chief Executive of the Renewable Energy Association has been newly appointed to the Board. In his interview Michael highlights some of the challenges he has experienced as a Board member:

“…Liebreich does admit engagement with environmental issues has not always been as prevalent as he would have hoped. “The board as a whole, I’ll be honest, has never had a conversation about climate change,” he reveals. “And to the extent we’ve had conversations about carbon at the board or finance committee or even safety and sustainability panel it has only been because I’ve initiated them. During the four years I’ve been on the board we’ve never had a briefing on climate change at the board level. We’ve never brought an expert in and said ‘where are we going to be in 50 years on sea level or rainfall or whatever it is. What is going to happen here and what do we need to know to future proof the assets’?”

“Thankfully, he is confident the board’s approach to climate issues is about to change. Khan and Deputy Mayor for Transport Val Shawcross will set the agenda for the new board, but Liebreich has no doubts action on climate change and air pollution will be more central. “I started to push for a briefing on climate change and was told we are going to have a new board so wait until we have a new board,” he says. “I am delighted there will be more focus on these issues.”

A report Energy for London prepared earlier this year for former London Assembly Green Party member Jenny Jones, highlighted the incredibly slow progress TfL has made in securing cleaner power supplies for London Underground (see report here – in particular page 15 onwards). Similar points made in the report are echoed by Michael in his interview:

“As such a large and predictable energy consumer, TfL would be well placed to take advantage of highly competitive long term contracts with clean energy suppliers, Liebreich predicts. “We could enter into a 40 year PPA [Power Purchase Agreement],” he says. “We are going to be running trains on electricity for ever. We are a fantastic potential purchaser of renewable energy for a long period. If you went back a few years we would be a great purchaser but it would still be more expensive than the generic mix of electricity, [but now] could we enter a very long term contract which would be cheaper? You could imagine a scenario where the first onshore wind farm built without subsidy in the UK is built as a deal between some farmer who has a chunk of land and TfL which wants to lock in a deal that is cheaper than what we are paying currently for electricity. Do I know that can be done, no? But it is something we should be exploring.”

However, the Licence Lite project, led by the GLA, now appears the main action to try to source low carbon electricity for the tube – with the Mayor anticipating an announcement that the licence was to be granted in September (see para 2 of following GLA press release).

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3 October 2016: London’s Zero Carbon Homes planning policy officially started on the 1st of October. Attending a recent industry workshop around the new ZCH rules – it’s clear that many organisations involved in the sector are still not quite aware of what this this all means. Hence answers to some of the most frequently asked questions raised follow below.

  • What exactly started on 1 October 2016?

All new planning applications in London for residential projects above 10 units will now need to provide an energy assessment which will set out how the development will achieve a zero carbon status.

  • When was this first announced?

There have been no announcements by the GLA that this new ZCH policy was going to commence from 1 October. Instead, information has largely had to be gleaned from new planning documentation and a number of recent responses by the Mayor to questions.  The new policy and its implications were first picked up in a post on the Energy for London website here, following the publication of a new GLA Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPG) document on Housing.

  • Where is detail behind this policy set out?

Three GLA planning documents set out the new policy requirements to some extent: they are the SPG on Sustainable Design and Construction; the SPG on Housing and a GLA Preparing Energy Assessment guidance paper.

  • Erm…anything shorter..?!

Continue reading…

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New London Environment Lead starts work at City Hall

3 October 2016: The Mayor’s new Deputy for Environment, Shirley Rodrigues, whose appointment was announced by the Mayor in August, officially started work today.

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Energy and Climate Questions to the Mayor

September 2016: This month Mayor’s Question Time included the following:

progress on Energy for Londonersschools and community energy; schools and solar powercost to business of poor energy efficiency; renewable energy potential on TfL land and buildings; solar on London Overground land; energy efficiency and private rented sector; a discussion on Energy for Londoners; the London Sustainable Development Commission’s work plan; tube station lighting; carbon budgets; GHG emissions linked to London’s goods and services; carbon offsetting funds; cleaner, greener taxis.

Previous months questions to the Mayor can be found here.

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