An Energy Master Plan for London?

December 2013: The Mayor announced last week that he has commissioned work to “create the capital’s first Long Term Infrastructure Investment Plan”, which will make a high level assessment of the full range of infrastructure delivery in the city, looking at how it is managed currently and what could be improved. The scope of the plan will cover public transport, roads, energy, water, sewerage, waste, broadband and green infrastructure

As part of this work, a Call for Evidence has been issued setting out five ‘core questions’ (see link for details), open to all to respond to, with a deadline for submissions of 24 January 2014.

The Mayor’s Infrastructure Group has been leading on the development of the plan, and their December 2013 meeting set out a working paper with some further detail on what the plan will consider, including the consideration of climate change and future energy demands on London. Included in this paper are a number of important proposals including mention of developing a London-wide Energy Master Plan and a GLA-led body delivering Green Infrastructure:

  • “To address these issues, and address the implications of climate change, a range of recommendations are being proposed. All need further explorations in terms of feasibility and value for money, but provide a starting point for determining how London may need to respond to its infrastructure needs. The list of draft proposals to date is attached at Annex A; they include:   Develop an Energy Master Plan for London, based on favoured approach of either continued nationally led centralised provision, or a decentralised model based on local energy production from a range of low and zero carbon energy sources. (Favoured approach to be set out in the Infrastructure Investment Plan for London).
  • Create a GLA-led delivery body to deliver green infrastructure projects to reduce the amount of rainwater entering the drainage system. Potentially to be funded from the water companies and developers.”

Potential  concerns over future stresses to London’s electricity system led to the Mayor writing recently to Ed Davey, Secretary of State for Energy, and the formation of the Mayor’s High Level Electricity Working Group.

A strategic outlook on London’s future energy needs (both power and heat) is an absolute requirement of any future London infrastructure plan: much of London’s electricity distribution assets are in need of replacement, London’s population is set to grow significantly to 2020 and beyond, and  the the Mayor’s own target for London to source 25% of its energy needs from decentralised energy will require a significant shift to the introduction of low carbon, localised generation capacity being introduced onto London’s electricity network.

The Long Term Infrastructure Investment Plan for London will be produced in two stages – an interim report (inviting comment) in February 2014 and a final report in Summer 2014.

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