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Elephant & Castle plans to be ‘Climate Positive’

October 2013: London SE1 community website recently reported that  “Lend Lease’s Elephant & Castle programme has been formally recognised by C40 Cities Climate Leadership to become the third project of 18 globally to reach ‘participant’ status.
The ‘climate positive participant’ rating is conferred by sustainability experts acting on behalf of C40’s Climate Positive Development Programme in partnership with the Clinton Climate Initiative.
To achieve this status, Elephant & Castle developers have submitted a roadmap which demonstrates that the scheme is set to be climate positive by 2020.”

Further information on the Elephant and Castle regeneration website states construction started last month  on “the first 500 new homes …[which] will be some of the most sustainable, energy efficient and occupier-friendly places to live in Britain.” Amongst the ‘green’ initiatives to be incorporated in to what is one of the largest regeneration sites in Europe will be an ” on-site combined heat and energy centre [which] will not only provide heat and power to the homes and shops, it will also act as an interactive community and educational centre for the public.”

Some further background to this scheme and its carbon-reduction plans can be read in an earlier post here.

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Update on Energy Strategy for Elephant and Castle Regeneration Scheme

November 2012: This month’s Dept. of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) oral questions in the House of Commons included the following response from Secretary of State Ed Davey to a question from Southwark MP Simon Hughes:

1 Nov 2012 : Column 371

T4. [126066] Simon Hughes (Bermondsey and Old Southwark) (LD): Just over the bridge at the Elephant and Castle, a major regeneration scheme is under way. When the Liberal Democrats ran the council, we proposed that the scheme should have an energy centre whereby the community could generate its own energy as well as keep prices as low as possible. Will the Government commit to supporting such community initiatives, to make sure that we get the best deal in our communities, led by our communities?

Mr Davey: I could not agree more with my right hon. Friend, who has championed community energy for many years. As Secretary of State, I am determined that we promote even more ambitious polices. We will introduce a community energy strategy in the spring. We have already made a number of announcements to encourage community groups and democratic local authorities to support these types of schemes.

Proposals for the energy strategy for the Elephant and Castle regeneration plan have had a difficult time  over the past few years (some details of which can be found here) with the original plans for a multi-utility service company (MUSCo) now abandoned.  Outline planning permission has recently been submitted by developer Lend Lease to Southwark council for this major scheme – which comprises  between 2,300 and 2,462 residential units, along with new retail, business, leisure and community uses -and includes a revised energy strategy.

A new energy centre with a CHP plant on the site of the existing Heygate boiler house is now proposed with a site-wide heat network connecting all apartments and commercial units. The GLA’s planning report to the Mayor on the project states (para 112 onwards) that Lend Lease had investigated the potential to link the site-wide heat network to the proposed SELCHP district heating network, in Bermondsey. However this was found to be “unlikely to be viable in the near term.” The regeneration scheme will take time to develop and the GLA report sets out that Lend Lease  “is proposing the phased installation of combined heat and power (CHP) plant in line with the phasing of the development. This would begin with a 263 kWe gas fired CHP unit being switched on during 2019. This would then be followed by a 985 kWe gas fired CHP unit being switched on in 2021 as the lead heat source for the site heat network.”

An innovative approach being taken by Lend Lease in terms of using renewable energy,  is to work with biogas suppliers and offset emissions onsite through the use of biomethane injected into the national gas grid. Lend Lease says it will use the industry-led Green Gas Certification Scheme (GGCS) which tracks biomethane (also called ‘green gas’) through the supply chain to provide certainty for those that buy it.

Biomethane-injection is supported by DECC through the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) who believe it to be a key technology in helping  increasing the amount of renewable heat generation in the UK. Further information on biomethane can be found on the following Ofgem factsheet here. Lend Lease’s outline planning application to Southwark (submitted in August) can be accessed here and the Energy Strategy for the development here. A decision on the application is set to be made by the end of this year.

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Climate Positive Development Project in Elephant & Castle

June 2012: “The Elephant and Castle project is one of the original developments in the C40 Climate Positive Development Program, which was created to meet the pressing dual challenges of rapid urbanization and climate change.” Read more on the C40 blog here.

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Negotiations stall on Elephant and Castle’s MUSCo plans

8 February 2011: Southwark councillors have approved a proposal to call off negotiations with Dalkia to establish a mutli-utility services company (MUSCo) to provide provide locally generated heat, cooling, electricity and communications for the thousands of additional homes and businesses planned for the Elephant & Castle area. Read full news story here. (see 18 January news story here for further details).

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Southwark pulls the plug on Elephant & Castle green energy project

18 January 2011: News story on Southwark Council’s intention to to put on hold its plans for a multi-utility services company (MUSCo) to provide heating, cooling, electricity and communications to developments constructed as part of the Elephant & Castle regeneration. Full story here

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April 2015: Tfl have posted information online of a helpful initiative they’re calling ‘Quietways’.

“Quietways will be a network of radial and orbital cycle routes throughout London. Linking key destinations, they will follow backstreet routes, through parks, along waterways or tree-lined streets.”

TfL are working in partnership with London boroughs and managing authorities to deliver seven Quietway routes by mid-2016:

  • Waterloo to Greenwich (Lambeth, Southwark, Lewisham, Greenwich) (

    route map)

  • Bloomsbury to Walthamstow (first phase to Mare Street) (Camden, Islington, Hackney, Waltham Forest) 

TfL say that maps for the further five routes are to be made available during spring 2015.

  • Regents Park to Gladstone Park (Dollis Hill) (Westminster, Brent, Camden)
  • Elephant & Castle to Crystal Palace (City, Southwark, Lambeth)
  • Aldgate to Hainault (first phase Whitechapel to Fulwell Cross) (Tower Hamlets, Newham, Redbridge, Hackney, and the London Legacy Development Corporation)
  • Waterloo to Wimbledon (via Clapham Common) (Lambeth, Wandsworth, Merton)
  • Clapham Common to Croydon (Lambeth, Wandsworth, Croydon).

Further proposals to support cycling in London can be read here.

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Southwark Heat Network Update

July 2013: Deborah Collins, Strategic Director of Environment and Leisure of Southwark Council provided a useful update of the Southwark Heat Network project at the recent BASELondon show.

1,200 Southwark properties will benefit from the district heating network, which will be fed from currently wasted heat from the SELCHP waste to energy plant, based in neighbouring Lewisham. Work has been ongoing on installing the heat mains for the scheme and it is anticipated that this month will see the completion of all remaining pipes being installed and final boiler room modifications. Testing and calibration of the scheme will run over August and September with October being the target month for heat delivery to residents.

Further information can be viewed on the following presentation.

Southwark will also see further decentralised energy systems in the borough, with CHP and PV systems being installed on the new Elephant and Castle leisure centre and also biomass and PV used in Camberwell at the new Sacred Heart school development.

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Heygate Energy Strategy

April 2013:  The Mayor and Southwark Council have recently given final planning permission to the development of the Heygate Estate in Elephant and Castle which, as the following GLA press release states, will see the “23 acre site demolished and redeveloped delivering up to 2,469 new homes, a quarter of which will be affordable, as well as new shops, offices, leisure and community facilities and a park.”

As one of the largest regeneration projects in the country, there’s been considerable focus on the development – including the energy strategy for the project (details on previous posts here and here).  The final energy assessment report for the development (and updated addendum) can be accessed at Southwark’s Planning website (and directly here Strategy, Addendum).

A site-wide district heating network is being proposed connecting all apartments and commercial units supplied from a single energy centre.  The energy centre building would also include an  education centre and cafe. Which is nice…

Further information is contained in the Mayor’s Planning report on the application – paras 210 onward highlighting that:

  • A potential to link the heat network to the proposed SELCHP district heating network, in Bermondsey has been explored. This is unlikely to be viable in the near term. The applicant has committed to designing the energy infrastructure to allow future connection to SELCHP should it prove viable at a later stage.
  • A phased installation of combined heat and power (CHP) is being proposed in line with the phasing of the development. This would begin with a 263 kWe gas fired CHP unit being switched on during 2019. This would then be followed by a 985 kWe gas fired CHP unit being switched on in 2021 as the lead heat source for the site heat network.
  • The preferred renewable energy strategy for the site  is to use biomethane fuel supplied over the gas network. This renewable fuel would be produced and injected into the national grid elsewhere and then purchased as a credit to supply some or all of the gas consumption requirements of the CHP plant and gas boilers in the energy centre.
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Getting into Hot Water…

March 2013: Presentation made at the the recent Combined Heat and Power Association (CHPA) district heating conference, by Bob Fiddik, Sustainable Development & Energy Team Leader at Croydon Council, giving some valuable insights into the challenges faced when developing heat networks. The presentation includes:

  • Some of the history behind the failure of the SELCHP energy from waste plant to develop the expected district heat network anticipated when it was built – and the recent work now being undertaken to help turn this around
  • The unhappy circumstances that led to the stalling of the hugely exciting Elephant & Castle heat network project, and
  • An update to the major district heating scheme currently being planned for Croydon.

Slide 14 of the presentation sets out – as challenging as circumstances have been in the past – things are not unfortunately getting easier:

Download ‘Getting into hot water…not always that easy’ here.

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‘How Green Will the New Heygate Be?’

December 2012: is an useful blog focussed on sustainability issues related to the massive new development proposed at the Elephant and Castle (see earlier post on this).

The top link to the site sets out some current concerns over the energy proposals on the site, especially in relation to connecting the different energy centres on site (which would hep form a more efficient area-wide heat network), and also the likelihood of using biomethane gas (the proposal in the developers application is to use the Green Gas Certification Scheme to link the London scheme to a site which is injecting biomethane elsewhere in the national gas transmission grid). The blog entry states that no such injection schemes are currently operating, which was true at the time of writing (early November 2012) but, coincidentally, the Poundbury anaerobic digestion (AD) in Dorset began operation just over a week ago (see here and here) and is injecting renewable gas generated from the AD into the gas grid.

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Mayor’s responses to London Assembly energy and climate change questions

May 2011: The Mayor’s responses to the London Assembly on energy and climate change questions questions included:

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