London identifies need for £148 billion energy infrastructure

August 2014: A major consultation has been issued by the May0r setting out the capital’s infrastructure challenges over the period to 2050.

The press release states that amongst the many needs London will face over the coming decades: “Demand on energy supplies is set to increase by 20 per cent during a period where demand on electricity supplies is forecast to more than double.”

The Mayor is to establish a new London Infrastructure Delivery Board which, amongst other issues, will consider:

“With energy demands at risk of outstripping supply and key developments such as those at Nine Elms at risk of delay as a result, the Mayor argues a strong long term plan to use energy more efficiently and bring in new capacity where we can is vital. A short term investment of £210m on electricity substations is required but in the long term changes to the regulatory regime must be considered as well as plans to supply a quarter of London’s energy from local sources and exploit the capital’s waste heat resource.

The consultation paper goes on to highlight that:

  • London may be facing an energy crisis in the very near future, as demand begins to outstrip supply
  • More local energy production will be needed to provide greater resilience
  • Local energy production will also help to reduce the national investment requirement and keep energy costs down for consumers
  • The GLA will ensure that further large-scale local projects to generate energy locally continue, by working with TfL (the capital’s largest energy consumer)
  • 40 per cent of London’s substations are already under stress; and that
  • the GLA will be working with UK Power Networks, developers, the London boroughs, Ofgem and the Government to ensure necessary regulatory changes are enacted to maintain London’s energy supply.

Table 1 (page 70) of the consultation paper provides an estimate that an incredible £148 billion of capital expenditure is required on energy infrastructure in London by  2050. The energy estimate assumes over 50 per cent of London’s energy is produced locally by 2050.

A major Arup study accompanies the consultation,  ‘The cost of London’s long-term infrastructure‘, and provides much more detail around the two modelling scenarios (‘hybrid’ and ‘centralised’) undertaken – which are based around DECC’s 2050 Pathways calculator – to reach the £148bn cost estimate.

A further report – ‘Enabling Infrastructure: Green, Energy, Water and Waste Infrastructure to 2050‘ – provides a summary of priorities to be taken forward by the Mayor on energy issues over the coming year, including that the GLA will:

“…produce a detailed spatial London energy infrastructure plan by the end of 2015 that accounts for infrastructure requirements and costs, supply decarbonisation and distribution capacity over time. We intend to produce it in collaboration with the DNOs. It will establish options for cost effective energy demand and the contribution that London as a whole can make to reducing the costs of decarbonisation and increasing system resilience.”

The consultation period will last for three months with responses requested by 31 October 2014 ands plans to publish a final report in early 2015.

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