Tag Archives: Decentralised Energy

Devolve more powers on energy to the Mayor

15 August 2016: Following a comment piece in the Evening Standard last week, on how London is supporting the growth of decentralised energy, here’s my letter in response which was published in the paper today.

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Energy and Climate Questions to the Mayor

July 2016: This month Mayor’s Question Time included the following:

an update on a GLA study to evaluate the potential for the use trackside solar power production; Post Brexit, how the Mayor will use his role in the Brexit negotiating team to preserve the hard-fought environmental protections; the number of decentralised energy projects that are projected to come online this year; how the Mayor can encourage Londoners to switch energy suppliers; an estimate of the number of connections that will be provided with heat from the Beddington energy from waste plant to the Sutton Decentralised Energy Network (SDEN) – and whether Barratt Homes has signed a heat agreement with the plant’s operator, Viridor; whether the Mayor will respond to the Government’s recently released Energy Company Obligation (ECO) consultation;
work to encourage energy efficiency improvements in the private rented sector (PRS);
the RE:NEW home energy efficiency retrofit programme’s strategy over the coming year; the number of jobs linked to the green economy in London; the Mayor’s role with C40 Cities, and borough surface water management plans

Previous months questions to the Mayor can be found here.

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New GLA Decentralised Energy Framework Notice

July 2016: The GLA have issued a tender to secure a range of services related to supporting the growth of decentralised energy projects in the capital:

The tender (GLA80814 – Decentralised Energy Framework) (direct download) sets out that the GLA seeks consultants with experience in:

  • developing business cases and business plans for DE projects
  • structuring templates for project delivery
  • providing commercial advise to private and public sector clients in negotiating key agreements
  • assessing different delivery vehicles and ownership structures, such as Public Private Partnership (PPP) options — Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) and Joint Venture (JV) structures
  • producing early project commercial documentation (including risk registers) and agreements
  • working with financial advisors in providing guidance on possible funding sources, including maintaining relationships with banks and investment boutiques
  • in-depth knowledge of energy markets, energy trading and negotiations.

Much of the work undertaken in this area to date, carried out by the GLA through the Decentralised Energy Project Delivery Unit (DEPDU) –  which officially closed in July 2015 –  is posted online at www.londonheatmap.org.uk.

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Islington District Heating Planning Guidance Published

July 2016: Islington have recently published new environmental design planning guidance on heat networks: The guidance is released in two parts – with Part 1 giving an overview of the existing and and planned Islington heat networks, as well as an introduction to the principal behind heat networks (referencing the GLA’s 2014 London Heat Network Manual). Part 2 provides technical guidance to developers looking to connect to Islington’s Bunhill heat and power network.

The Council sets out that it is “committed to working with partners to promote and develop decentralised energy (DE) networks, with a particular focus on areas of the borough with the greatest potential for such networks. Existing DE networks within the borough will be protected and their expansion supported. All development will be required to contribute to the development of DE networks, including by connecting to such networks where these exist within the proximity of the development.”

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Energy and Climate Questions to the Mayor

June 2016: Positive to see the focus on energy and climate issues by a number of London Assembly members at the first question time of the new Mayor, Sadiq Khan. This month’s questions included the following issues:

the quantity of electricity supplied to TfL through the Mayor’s Licence Lite operation and few other questions on Licence Lite (here and here); supporting the growth of London community energy schemes; the London Energy Strategy; committing to London’s 25 per cent decentralised energy target; the 2020 nearly zero energy buildings target; the publication of the annual update to the GLA Energy and Climate Change Mitigation Strategy; London Energy Plan supporting studies; supporting the growth of district heating projects; support for London’s 2025 60 per cent carbon reduction target; the future of the RE:NEW and RE:FIT building retrofit programmes; the number of domestic energy efficiency retrofits supported by RE:NEW since January 2015; numbers on the GLA’s boiler scrappage list; ring fencing London’s Zero Carbon Homes offset fund; the number of zero carbon homes that could be built by 2020; zero carbon buildings planning requirements will come into force in 2019; how much money could be raised through the Zero Carbon Homes offset fund; interim targets to the Mayor’s manifesto commitment for London to be a zero carbon city by 2050; climate change and water vapour; how the Mayor will support London’s low carbon economy; emissions from river traffic  (and another); zero emission cabs and PHVs abd if CO2 is a pollutant – and finally:

whether the Mayor understands “that further increases in carbon dioxide levels will not significantly increase average global temperatures due to near saturation absorption by COin the 13 – 17 µm band of the infra-red spectrum”.

Previous months questions to the Mayor can be found here.

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Air Quality implications of the London Energy Plan

April 2016: Think tank Policy Exchange has produced two reports over the past few months on London’s air quality crises (Up In the Air: How to solve London’s air quality crisis – Part 1 and Part 2). Though the bulk of the two studies are concerned with pollutants from the transport sector, the issue of emissions from London’s growing decentralised energy generation capacity also come under consideration.

Part 1 suggests that London’s support of decentralised energy systems, based around the GLA’s focus on the growth of gas fired Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plant, may exacerbate London’s air quality problems:

  • The models also do not fully reflect the ongoing growth in decentralised power generation across London, including Combined Heat and Power (CHP). Decentralised energy is being promoted both by national government and the GLA, and there is now 195MW of CHP capacity across London (ranging from small units in homes to large units in industrial premises). Projections show that gas combustion in buildings could be responsible for 48% of NOx emissions by 2025 in Central London.14 There is a risk that measures to promote decentralised energy could increase local NOx emissions. [p7]

Part 2 goes on to recommend the following:

  • We have also identified a risk associated with the growth of “decentralised energy” in London. Decentralised energy is being promoted by the GLA and DECC as a means to reduce carbon emissions and ensure security of supply. However, certain forms of decentralised energy produce significant NOx emissions, for example small scale gas and diesel engines, biomass boilers and CHP (Combined Heat and Power) installations. We recommend that the next Mayor of London reconsiders London’s Climate Change and Energy Strategy to reconcile the potential conflict between decentralised energy and air pollution. We also recommend changes to national energy policies led by DECC in order to resolve potential conflicts with local air pollution. [p8]

The issue of CHP and air quality has been looked at before, highlighted by campaigning group Clean Air London, and through guidance issued by the City of London and Environmental Protection UK

Hence, it is interesting to note that the GLA have recently approved “expenditure of up to £30,000 to procure and appoint consultancy services   to model the air quality implications of the first four [London Energy Plan]  energy plan scenarios... This study will deliver:
•    A report detailing findings and recommendations
•    Spatial maps showing the concentration of air pollutants estimated from the emissions rates of the heating technologies considered in the LEP.
•    The dispersion of the air pollutants concentrations within the local area from the sources for four scenarios considered within the LEP.”

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Mayoral manifestoes energy and climate proposals

April 2016: With the publication last week of the manifesto of the Liberal Democrat’s Caroline Pidgeon, all four major London Mayoral candidates have now set out their proposals in relation to energy and climate if they were to become Mayor. I’ve produced a  summary of these proposals, across various categories of interest, in the following document.

The first thing to notice is the welcome inclusion of energy and climate proposals across all manifestoes: a wide number issues are addressed, but some common themes do emerge:

  • The first – and most significant – pledge around energy to emerge from the manifestoes is that all four main candidates have set out their intention to establish a new London government based energy business.  Zac Goldsmith references the work that Boris has taken forward  over the past few years in advancing Licence Lite – but states he “will go further to set up ‘Energy for London – a new clean energy company'”. Sadiq Khan will establish ‘Energy for Londoners’ and both Caroline Pidgeon and Sian Berry state the will establish a new London energy company  – Sian saying that this new business concern will be linked to Transport for London (the detail of which has been previously set out in a Jenny Jones commissioned report).
  • Worryingly, no candidate commits to working to achieve two long standing London climate targets: the 60 per cent 2025 carbon reduction target and the 25 per cent 2025 decentralised energy target.
  • All candidates are keen on electric cars, with Zac Goldsmith pledging to introduce Paris’s Autolib electric car rental scheme to London – something Boris has talked about doing since 2009.
  • There are warm words for support for developing community energy projects in London – with most detail set out in Zac Goldsmith’s manifesto.
  • Sian Berry and Zac Goldsmith haven’t given up on the Green Deal model – both propose to investigate a London pay-as-you-save energy efficiency retrofit initiative. Caroline Pidgeon interestingly supports working with London councils to introduce a ‘consequential improvements’ policy – a proposal that Government scrapped back in 2012 – a decision which significantly contributed to the eventual demise of the Green Deal.
  • All candidates support increasing the number of solar power installations in London with Caroline Pidgeon and Zac Goldsmith committing to specific targets – PV capacity equivalent to 200,000 homes/750MW/a 10 fold increase in solar – all of which amounts to around the same thing (see Greenpeace’s London solar report) which has contributed to candidates consideration on the future of solar in the capital.

All in all, it’s massively encouraging that energy concerns and their relevancy to the future of London have been recognised across all main manifestoes. Issues such as reducing the city’s contribution and response to climate change, increasing energy affordability, and  accelerating the deployment of measures to enhance energy efficiency and decentralised energy are promoted by all candidates, which gives confidence that GLA programmes in place, such as RE:NEW, RE:FIT, DEPDU and others will continue to be supported by an incoming Mayor.

Some omissions from the manifestoes which it would have been good to have seen including advancing smarter energy initiatives (such as building on the work the GLA are doing with Tempus Energy and Kiwi Power), addressing potential energy security of supply issues in the capital (an issue previously raised by the Mayor and an area of GLA activity through the Mayor’s High Level Electricity Working Group), energy efficiency in the commercial building sector (a significant and difficult issue for Mayor, with next to no regulatory powers over existing buildings…), and how new sustainable energy activities going forward will be financed.  However – despite these concerns – this has been a great start providing much to build upon!

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How London’s giant floating solar farm was put together

23 March 2016: A new BBC London TV news story providing some added background to Europe’s biggest floating solar farm which is being built in south west London.

The project:

  • Took three months to build
  • Is installed at the Queen Elizabeth Reservoir at Walton on Thames, just outside of Kingston, and is the size of eight football pitches
  • Consists of 23,000 solar panels attached to floats allowing the panels to sit on the water
  • Will contribute to Thames Water target to generate 33% of its energy demand from renewable energy by 2020
  • Has had to be installed quickly to meet the 31 March 2016 deadline for large solar projects under the Government’s Renewable Obligation policy.
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New GLA DE support programme announced

February 2016:  The Greater London Authority (GLA) has asked me to post the following online: “a new opportunity for interested contractors to be part of a new framework on Decentralised Energy (DE). The Mayor of London has set a target to meet 25% of London’s energy supply from DE by 2025. The DE Capacity Study (GLA, 2011) confirmed this target as being achievable based on both renewable and low carbon energy sources and that it represented an £8 billion investment opportunity.

The development of DE projects through the various phases to market requires significant resource and a diverse set of skills, knowledge and expertise. These elements combined with the risk profile of the project development phase act as real barriers for both public and private sector organisations.

Since 2011 the GLA has been supporting others to identify and implement DE projects through various programmes. Energy for London will be delivered by the GLA and will procure and direct technical, commercial, financial and other advisory and support services to help others develop, procure and bring into operation larger-scale DE schemes that deliver significant CO2 reductions at market-competitive prices.

Please take a look at the Prior Information Notice, which has just been issued and is available here.” Hmm… – the GLA have decided to call this initiative Energy for London…

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London Heat Supply Workshop Presentations

October 2015: The GLA held a London Energy Plan: Heat Supply workshop on the 25th of September – the slides for which have just become available and can be downloaded here.  The workshop included presentations from the GLA on their forthcoming Energy Masterplan for London; from Camden Council on their decentralised energy plans; and from consultancy Element Energy on the work they are undertaking for the GLA through the development of a heat plan model.

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Harrow Energy Masterplan to be developed

March 2015: Not much information here – but a tender from Harrow Borough Council looking for a consultant to help develop an energy masterplan for the Heart of Harrow regeneration area.

An earlier consultation document issued by the council sets out that “Within the Heart of Harrow, a district-wide combined heat and power network is promoted. There are already specific proposals to deliver district energy on a number of our major sites, but no masterplanning has yet been undertaken to establish the feasibility of a wider network. Neither has additional feasibility work been undertaken to develop business cases for individual schemes.Our strategy is to pursue district energy opportunities within the Heart of Harrow area, both on our own redevelopment sites and on other major development schemes. We will be preparing an energy master plan and, where appropriate,additional feasibility studies to map the potential district energy programme for the Heart of Harrow in more detail” – which must be what the consultant for this work must be undertaking.

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Victoria Decentralised Energy Project

November 2014: A major decentralised energy project in Victoria has moved a step further with the appointment of Clarke Energy to deliver a 3MWe Combined Heat and Power (CHP) engine. A  news release from Clarke Energy sets out that the mixed use Nova Victoria project, comprising residential, offices and commercial sites, will be connected to a district heating scheme where:

  • GE’s Jenbacher units will run a combined heat and power (CHP) configuration to generate 2.96 megawatts (MW) for the area enough electricity to power more than 5,700 standard U.K. homes.
  • Once operational in 2016, the CHP configuration will power the on-site Energy Centre, export electricity to the grid and provide heat to Nova residents and businesses as well as reduce carbon emissions.
  • Based on 8,000 operating hours per year, the gas CHP is expected to offset more than 6,500 tons of carbon dioxide.

The Mayor’s planning decision from 2012 provides some additional background to the energy strategy of the development. Energy strategies submitted as part of the planning application for the development can be downloaded here and here.

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