Barts links energy saving to patient care and saves £105,000 in first year

May 2014: Guardian article on how St Bartholomew’s (Barts) and the Royal London Hospital in London wanted to cut a £12m annual energy bill. “The trust involved three external partners: behavioural change experts Global Action Plan, technology pioneers GE and facilities management specialists Skanska. Each has sustainability at the heart of its rationale and they set about involving employees in two of the trust’s six hospitals in behavioural changes. By concentrating less on the energy message and more on the provision of care, the campaign won the support of staff and saved more than £100,000 and the equivalent of 800 tonnes of CO2 in its first year.

Further details are set out on Global Action Plan’s website here and here.

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Retrofit London project announced

May 2014: News that the Greater London Authority has approved funding, through the European Development Regeneration Fund (ERDF) to award “£525,000  to LB Enfield for the Retrofit London project, to deliver business support to Small and Medium Enterprises in London”.

The approval document sets out that “The ‘Retrofit London’ project is led by LB Enfield, working in partnership with LB Haringey, LB Waltham Forest, LB Lewisham, Enterprise Enfield (EE) and North London Chamber of Commerce (NLCofC).
Retrofit London aims to support 175 SMEs based in Enfield, Haringey, Waltham Forest and Lewisham, to access new market opportunities, particularly market opportunities driven by the carbon reduction and energy saving agenda.

The approval document also provides some background to the ERDF and sets out that the total project cost is £1.05m as a result of match funding from the partners involved:

LB Enfield (Procurement team): £42,000
Enfield Council: £130,405
LB Haringey: £100,000
LB Lewisham: £75,000
LB Waltham Forest (Procurement team):£42,000
LB Waltham Forest (Economic Development team): £38,000
North London Chamber of Commerce: £47,595
Enterprise Enfield: £50,000

A tender was issued for a Project Manager for the programme, the deadline for which was earlier this week. The project is to set to run until December 2015.

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Rethinking Green Infrastructure

May 2014: A new Arup study Cities Alive – rethinking green infrastructure“shows how the creation of a linked ‘city ecosystem’ that encompasses parks and open spaces; urban trees, streets, squares; woodland and waterways can help create healthier, safer and more prosperous cities. To realise this vision, green infrastructure has to now take a more influential role in the planning and design of cities and urban environments.”

A number of London green infrastructure initiatives are touched on including:

The report also looks at how green infrastructure can help cities adapt to increasing temperatures as a result of climate change. All in all an interesting read!

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Cities of Opportunity

May 2014: A new PWC study “analyzes the trajectory of 30 cities, all capitals of finance, commerce, and culture—and, through their current performance, seeks to open a window on what makes cities function best”. Looking at the ‘Sustainability and natural environment‘ criteria – London came around midway.

Page 42 of the report provides some detail behind this sustainability criteira and the ranking of the cities, with London scoring 79 points – and Stockholm coming first with a total score of 121 points – against categories surveyed which included ‘thermal comfort’, ‘recycled waste’, ‘air pollution’, ‘public park waste’ and …’natural disaster risk’.

The study also reports that across all sectors surveyed, which include areas such as innovation, technology, and transportation and infrastructure, London has the highest overall score by “a good margin”.. which is nice!

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An invitation to the UK’s most Energy Efficient School Building

May 2014: Interesting news that the UK’s most energy efficiency school building is in Barnet, and was recently awarded winner in the ‘Non Domestic’ building category at the 2014 GreenBuild awards. Grasvenor Avenue Infant School is based on a modular building Schoolhaus design by UK Energy Partners (UKEP), which – as this ENDS case study sets out – was inspired by the James Review, which recommended standardised design and modern off-site building methods for schools. A standardised off-site construction processes enables big cuts in embodied carbon emissions in the production and supply chain and delivers a combined energy use and cost savings of 80% compared with traditional school buildings with a passive index-linked revenue from the integrated solar PV roof.

UKEP are organising a tour of the building on 29 and 30 May. Full details on how to register for a tour on UKEP’s website here.

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“inner-city areas are often the most heat-energy efficient”

21 May 2014“New research shows that the compact, taller buildings typical of inner-city areas are often the most heat-energy efficient – research by LSE Cities at the London School of Economics and the European Institute for Energy Research looked specifically at the role building design can play at the impact of the basic configurations of residential buildings (“urban morphology”) on energy demand. This impact is a result of two principal determinants of the thermal performance of buildings: the level of exposure to sunlight, which allows buildings to absorb passive solar heat; and the relative amount of external walls, which lead to heat losses” – read full Guardian article here.

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Heatwave Plan for England

14 May 2014: A new Heatwave Plan for England has been published today by the Public Health England. With respect to London, the Plan mentions:

  • Extreme temperatures on the London Underground network could lead to a range of health and safety challenges.London Underground network operations monitor Met Office weather forecasts, and if temperatures are forecast not to fall below 24°C for three days running they will get ready to implement plans to deploy hot weather notices and bottled water supply, as well as measures to prevent track buckling.
  • On a critical issue for London which is air pollution, the Plan states that – smogs typically accompany heatwaves as these often occur during periods of limited dispersion and /or easterly continental air masses arriving in the UK. As a result pollutants are less well spread or added to a higher background concentration which can lead to high concentrations of nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter. Heatwave conditions often lead to increased ozone levels following interactions of other pollutants with sunlight.

The Heatwave Plan also mentions a number factors which are likely to put increasing pressure on the supply of electricity – something which is likely to become more important as climate change impacts grow:

  • At a time when energy companies traditionally maintain power stations for the winter by standing units down over the summer, rising temperatures increase the demand for supply due to the use of air-conditioning units and reduce the power-carrying capacity of the system, as it is harder to cool conductors – this will restrict the ‘maintenance window’ available and could ultimately require greater redundancy on the system to permit maintenance.
  • Rising temperatures cause cooling problems for power stations as they are unable to cool components. This effect has been experienced in France, but not yet to a serious extent in the UK.
  • High air temperatures are more of a problem and nuclear reactors can trip out at above 40°C, although this has never yet been reached at any site (38°C being the record).
  • Rising temperatures lower power station efficiency. This effect is of lower concern than the two effects above.
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Decentralised Energy Delivery: the Business Case

April 2014: On Wednesday 2nd April 2014 the Greater London Authority hosted a workshop focussing on the Business Case and Business Planning for Decentralised Energy projects. The event included an introduction from Matthew Pencharz – Senior Advisor, Environment and Energy (GLA), case studies and an open discussion amongst all attendees. The workshop hosted speakers from the London Borough of Enfield, Westminster City Council, Arup and the GLA. Attendees included energy consultants, engineers and local authorities.

Materials presented by the speakers can be downloaded using the following links:
Peter North, Greater London Authority
Robert Tudway Greater London Authority
Bruce Laidlaw, Arup
Jeff Laidler, London Borough of Enfield
Tim Starley-Grainger, Westminster City Council
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One million Londoners don’t open their energy bills

4 April 2014: Evening Standard report results of a survey commissioned by what appears to be a new collective switching business Results not published on the company’s website, and the numbers of people surveyed not revealed, but the story sets out that “almost a million Londoners do not bother to open their gas and power bills despite being worried about the cost, a damning survey revealed today”. Likely a 1,000 or so people surveyed, so some heroic extrapolation going on here – but issues raised such as consumers getting confused by their bills, and not even attempting to review their energy costs have been similarly identified in earlier studies. It’s not clear from the story if Londoners are better or worse than consumers in other regions.

DECC interestingly undertake a regular ‘Public Attitudes Tracker‘. The February 2014 release says the following (p4):

  • 47% of people were very or fairly worried about paying their energy bills, similar to September 2013 (48%). In December 2012 50% of people were very or fairly worried about paying their energy bills, compared with 45% in September 2012.
  • 32% of people said they will or may switch energy supplier in the next 12 months, unchanged since September 2013 (34%) and December 2012 (35%).
  • Four in ten (42%) of people trusted their energy supplier to inform them of the best tariff for them, similar to March 2013 (46%) and March 2012 (44%), when the question was first asked.
  • Half of people (49%) said they trusted their supplier to provide impartial and accurate advice on energy efficiency measures, similar to March 2013 (51%) and March 2012 (53%), when the question was first asked.

Nothing however on whether consumers understand their energy bill.

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PV storage trialled in Hackney

5 April 2014: The latest Feed in Tariff (FITs) statistics continues to show London’s abysmal progress on installing photovoltaic projects (see story here) – but at least today’s Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) Solar Strategy (PII) highlights that there is some innovative stuff going on with PV in the capital. Not surprisingly the ground-breaking Arcola Theatre is involved (the theatre company with a fuel cell business at the side…) – see case study from strategy copied below.

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Lighting London

April 2014: Interesting LSE Cities event: “With the arrival of LED and ‘smart’ technologies, lighting has become an increasingly important area of interest and concern for planners, architects and designers. Debates around urban illumination are driven by the global narrative of the ‘sustainable city’, but also specific aesthetic motifs, issues around safety and security as well as light pollution. Despite this centrality, light is relatively invisible….” How poetic… and how true. Gotta be worth going to!

Taking place at 10.30am on 24 April – details here.

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Mayor starts process to become an electricity supplier

March 2014: As part of its ambition to be a ‘junior’ or ‘license lite’ electricity supplier, the GLA last week released a tender advert seeking the “provision of Electricity Market Services to an Applicant for a UK Electricity Supply Licence Services to the Greater London Authority (GLA).”

Under rules Ofgem issued in 2009 [and after a two year process (see para 3.59 (p99) of the 2007 Energy White Paper which kick started this activity!)] , Ofgem introduced additional licensing options to make it easier for small energy companies including decentralised energy schemes to operate as a licensed supplier on the public network. The key element of making a  ‘license lite’ supplier’s business  ‘easier’ is by releasing them from having to engage in a series of  complex electricity industry supply codes and actions (such as the Balancing & Settlement Code (BSC), data transfers, settlement, being party to the Master Registration Agreement (MRA), and being signed to the Grid Code and the Connection and Use of System Code (CUSC) – and more!)

However, the rules set by Ofgem still require the license lite supplier to have arrangements in place with a fully licensed third party, who is able to deal with these codes and action, and who can act on behalf of the license lite supplier to ensure that it is fully operating  under the rules of the electricity market. The tender released by the GLA is seeking to establish a relationship with a ‘third party full licensed supplier’ for these services. The key question to this whole process has always been  ‘what is the benefit to the third party – who has invested in complying with all these codes and actions – of offering these services to a license lite supplier’? The GLA tender is seeking to address this key issue and see if there is in fact any appetite in the market for a fully licensed supplier to offer these services to what is in effect a potential competitor.

Interestingly, the Mayor’s energy advisor, Matthew Pencharz, stated during an evidence session to the London Assembly Environment Committee earlier this week, that two companies have already expressed an interest in the tender to the GLA.

Some limited further details are posted on the TfL website here (TfL undertake tender work on behalf of the GLA)  – in the PQQ document under section 1.4.

“TfL is seeking tenders on behalf of the GLA for the provision of electricity market services as described below.

The GLA requires electricity market services to support an application for a GB electricity supply licence by the GLA under proposals of the UK Office of Gas and Electricity Markets Authority of 6th February 2009 entitled – ‘Distributed Energy – Final Proposals and Statutory Notice for Electricity Supply Licence Modification (Ref: 08 / 09).

Under Ofgem’s proposals, Ofgem may enable an applicant for an electricity supply licence (in this case the GLA) to be granted a licence without the applicant needing to become a party to the Balancing and Settlement Code and Master Registration Agreement and other codes, providing the licence applicant has presented a realistic implementation plan for robust alternative arrangements with another licensed electricity supplier to provide services, to enable the electricity market to function without the GLA being a party to the relevant codes.

The GLA is seeking parties interested in providing or securing the provision of robust and cost effective alternative arrangements from a licensed electricity supplier that will satisfy these requirements of Ofgem.”

Why do all of this? The GLA’s ambition is to purchase decentralised energy systems exported low carbon electricity (mostly from CHP plants in London) and then sell this output to a single consumer – London Underground (one of the biggest electricity users in the UK) – passing more of the value of this purchased electricity back to the generator than is currently the case (estimated at between 10-20 per cent more according the Mayor’s energy advisor), helping improve the business case for more low carbon generation plant in London.

Further background to GLA’s work in this area can be found here.

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