Author Archives: Admin

Climate-related incidents affecting eight in ten councils

11 December 2020: The Local Government Association (LGA) latest research on the effects of climate change on local authorities shows that eight in ten councils have suffered climate-related incidents in the last five years. The findings emerge from a survey (conducted to October 2020) of Directors of Environment or equivalent of all councils in England which is available here.

Nine London boroughs responded to the survey. The results are aggregated, so no specific London-results are set out. The survey had roughly a 30 per cent response rate, with a majority of councils who had declared a climate emergency responding. Key findings include:

  • Around 72 per cent of local authorities surveyed were measuring their own scope 1 and 2 emissions, and 36 per cent were measuring their own scope 3 emissions.
  • Over 80 per cent of responding councils indicated that there was an executive council member of their authority whose portfolio specifies a lead role on climate change
  • The areas of expertise and skills most frequently identified as in need of further development were green economic planning (95 per cent) and low carbon procurement and low carbon budgeting (92 per cent).
  • The most frequently identified barrier to tackling climate change was funding (96 per cent), followed by legislation or regulation (93 per cent) and lack of workforce capacity (88 per cent).

Much more detail set out the survey results.

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Highgate Cemetery Climate change risk to famous resting place

11 December 2020: “April Cameron, a horticulturalist at the cemetery, says the trees are being hit hard by climate change. Extreme heat, flooding and winds are making them much more susceptible to disease and therefore collapse onto the graves, she says.” Read full BBC story here.

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Mayor renews efforts to mobilise green investment for London

11 December 2020: A number of announcements made in this Mayor of London press release issued today:

  • Public sector finances alone will not mobilise the investment required to make London zero carbon and help a green recovery. Sadiq has commissioned the Green Finance Institute (GFI) to explore opportunities to maximise the flow of private capital into London’s environmental priorities. This includes the capital investment required to upgrade London’s buildings, transport and energy networks to net zero emissions. The Green Finance Institute will publish their recommendations to the Mayor in early 2021.
  • Further funding for MEEF (the Mayor’s Energy Efficiency Fund). MEEF, managed by Amber Infrastructure Group, has mobilised over £250 million of public and private capital enabling projects including heat networks and electric vehicle charging infrastructure. Today the Mayor committed a further £8.2m of ERDF which will leverage further finance and further deliver on his ambitions for London. MEEF built on the previous London Energy Efficiency Fund (LEEF) – case studies of projects supported under LEEF can be seen here. Recent MEEF loans can be seen here.

The GFI work commissioned by the Mayor builds on the work undertaken by the London Sustainable Development Commission (LSDC) Green Finance working group (of which I am member of) , the output of which was published in a report ‘Financing London’s Future‘ launched at an event at London Guildhall earlier this year (see press release here). Further information on the GFI-commissioned study here.

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Plans for fossil free Canada Water development

11 December 2020: Article in Building magazine (and here) reporting that major developer British Land has said its £3.3bn mixed use Canada Water scheme will be fossil fuel free to help meet its target for a net zero carbon property portfolio by 2030. Encouragingly British Land’s Head of Development, Philip Tait, states that “improvements in heat pump technology meant it was easier for buildings to be all electric than when the buildings were designed four years ago.” Tait goes on to say that “Site-wide heat networks are a popular choice for large developments but Tait said he was wary about adopting one at Canada Water. Tait said: “It’s easy to say go for a centralised heating network. We don’t know if this is exactly the right thing to do yet. We want to keep things open and flexible to do the right thing as technology changes.

The Canada Water scheme will eventually turn 53 acres of rundown land in south-east London into a new town centre and 3,000 homes. In February, it overcame the last major planning obstacle when London Mayor decided not to call it in. Further information on the energy strategy to be adopted for the site is set out in the Southwark Planning Committee report on the development from September 2019 – available here (see agenda item 5.1 main report) or directly here (see page 211 onwards).

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New substation for Islington

10 December 2020: UK Power Networks (UKPN) press release announcing “UK Power Networks has finished work on a new substation which is the key to unlocking extra electrical capacity in Islington and its surrounding areas. It is the first step of UK Power Networks’ strategy for North London, which will mean it can decommission older electricity cabling between Hackney-Holloway-Shoreditch and move into a new era with state-of-the-art equipment for the future.

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Grosvenor on carbon reduction drive across Mayfair and Belgravia

9 December 2020: Construction Index reports that “Landowner Grosvenor Britain & Ireland is set to spend £90m on revamping its historic London estate in a bid to become net zero carbon by 2030. Measures set out in Grosvenor’s new sustainability strategy including replacing gas boilers in 55 properties with renewable energy sources and not letting any diesel, petrol or even hybrid vehicles deliver to any of its properties.” Read the full article here. Further information on the Grosvenor website here and their new ‘Think Zero‘ sustainability strategy can be downloaded here (direct here).

The three major levers for change have been identified as:

  • Reducing energy use and greenhouse gas emissions from our historic London estate in Mayfair and Belgravia by over 70%
  • Reducing embodied carbon in construction projects to a maximum of 500kgCO2e/m2 from 2025 and developing buildings that are operationally net zero.
  • Reducing the carbon emissions from our supply chain
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Southwark Carbon Offset Fund

December 2020: Southwark Council have published a webpage providing some background to their implementation of carbon offset payments as part of new housing planning applications submitted to the Council. See Zero carbon homes and the carbon offsetting fund.

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BEIS green light for biggest battery in the UK

30 November 2020: Outside of London, but relevant to managing the supply of offshore wind electricity supplies into the city. “Scottish company InterGen has been granted consent by the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to build the country’s largest battery energy storage facility on the banks of the Thames River in Essex, England. The 320MW/640 megawatt-hour DP World London Gateway project could ultimately deliver 1.3GWh of power, the company said. It added that, when fully charged, the battery could power up to 300,000 homes for two hours. However, it will mostly be used to support and stabilise existing electricity supplies. Construction is likely to start in 2022, with the battery plant becoming operational in 2024.” Read the full story on Renews here.

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Open Data: UK Power Networks

November 2020: An interesting new initiative from London’s (main) distribution network operator UK Power Networks (UKPN) providing “data for the first time, covering three themes: facilitating Net Zero, improving the network and informing strategy.” The initiative responds to the Energy Data Taskforce recommendations made in their 2019 report which highlighted that the energy transition is being impeded by often poor quality, inaccurate, or missing data, while valuable data is often restricted or hard to find.

There’s a lot here – a few quick points of interest to me:

  • UK Power Network set out their pathway for opening up data in their Digital Strategy paper from December 2019 – available here
  • Under the ‘Network Data’ tab an Embedded Capacity Register is available providing information on generation and storage resources (>1MW) that are connected, or accepted to connect to UKPN’s network. The spreadsheet does not mention the capacity of the asset connected – just the network characteristic the asset is connected to. The address search facility does allow for filtering just for London (UKPN covers the south-east and eastern regions in addition to London) – but does not seem to allow for London borough searches (at least not for all London boroughs). And as the register only lists those assets above 1MW, much of the distribution generation capacity in London isn’t captured here as it is below this level (they can be found through other tools however including the London Heat Map, Ofgem’s CHP register and also Feed in Tariff (FIT) datasets (here and here);
  • The ‘Facilitating Net Zero’ tab includes data on: Connecting Distributed Generation; Electric Vehicle Connections in London; Electric Vehicle – Network Capacity and Electric Vehicle Future Constraint Map.
  • And an interesting study undertaken by Element Energy for UKPN setting out Distribution Future Network Scenarios along with a large number of interesting forecast datasets of assets that could be connected to the network over the period to 2050.

Much more to explore here – and an important input for London boroughs working on their climate emergency plans. Great to see UKPN make this data available, and I hope they will continue to work with London local authorities to ensure that the datasets work for them.

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City of London Wants to Clean Up the World

20 November 2020: With reference to the Prime Minister’s 10 Point Plan announcement earlier this week – which included a goal to make the “City of London the global centre of green finance” a Bloomberg Opinion piece on how Britain is aiming to be a hub for carbon credit and green derivatives trading. “London… has a history in cutting-edge finance, a deep talent pool and a strong lead in the trillion-dollar swaps market. It’s a logical place to base the trading of carbon credits, and the derivative-like contracts that companies’ would want to tailor for their individual needs, were the worldwide carbon credit market to take off.” Read the full article here.

Unfortunately, it’s far from certain that it will.

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Net zero is not enough

18 November 2020: Another recorded London Climate Action Week (LCAW) event that can be viewed online – this time held by think tank Future of London. ‘Net Zero is not Enough‘ “discussed the roles of green infrastructure and regenerative architecture, the importance of tackling both health inequalities and environmental inequalities, and how we can better involve local communities and collaborate across sectors.

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Mayor invests £10m in Green New Deal to secure thousands of green jobs

19 November 2020: The Mayor today announced some of the first outputs from his Green New Deal for London mission which has operating over the past few months. This is one of nine missions established as part of the Mayor’s London wide Recovery programme, with the Green New Deal seeking to tackle “the climate and ecological emergencies and improve air quality by doubling the size of London’s green economy by 2030 to accelerate job creation for all.

Today’s statement announced a total of £10m of funding commitments by the Mayor to large number of programmes, some of which are summarised below (see the press release for full details and list) :

  • North London District Energy, which will fund the extension of the planned heat network planned from the Edmonton Energy Recovery Centre from Enfield into Hackney and Haringey (for further information on this funding – see following from Energetik, Enfield Council’s district heating company)
  • Support for a new fourth round of the London Community Energy Fund (LCEF4). I’m of course pleased with this being the Chair of Community Energy London (CEL), and that in addition to the feasibility/development funding provided for projects, as the three previous rounds of LCEF have done, this new round will also include £500,000 of capital support.
  • A new round of, Solar Together London, which “uses a group-buying model to unlock significant savings from suppliers (up to 35 per cent in previous rounds) which makes solar more affordable for Londoners. This round of funding will drive a London-wide programme which will also include up to £60,000 to support installers to boost their training and employment opportunities and grow the supply chain.”

Many more projects announced including a solar programme at Old Oak and Park Royal, a Future Neighbourhoods retrofit programme, and further funding for bus electrification and electric vehicle charging.

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