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Tag Archives: ECO
March 2016: This month Mayor’s Question Time – the last in Boris Johnson’s eight year tenure as Mayor – once again included a wide range of questions on energy and climate, which included:
capturing waste heat from London Crossrail stations; the Mayor’s record on climate change; London based generators and Licenced Lite; the ability for Londoners connected to a district heating scheme to complain about poor service performance; anticipated prices of district energy heat tariffs; announcing the start of the Licence Lite programme; improvements in electricity export sales price for generators through Licence Lite; the number of Excess Winter Deaths amongst Londoners; challenges in promoting gasification technologies at the Olympic Park; the GLA’s Environment Team budget over the last 8 years; targets associated with the Boiler Scrappage Scheme; publication of London district energy schemes heat tariffs; the publication of London Energy Plan studies; guaranteeing that there are no plans for an incineration plan at Old Oak Common; the Mayor’s Boiler Scrappage scheme and fraud; RE:NEW energy efficiency retrofit programme delivery problems; how government energy efficiency programmes have helped Londoners; the amount of London’s (non transport) energy is supplied through local decentralised energy systems; cuts to the Energy Company Obligation (ECO); the Mayor’s recent meeting with the Secretary of State for Energy; the absence of London Fuel Poverty Strategy; the roll out of smart meters in London
Sutton district heating scheme; embodied carbon; annual progress on decentralised energy growth in London; anticipated savings from the new GLA boiler ‘cashback’ scheme; visits by the Mayor to RE:NEW energy efficiency retrofit projects; TfL future energy costs and the Mayor’s meeting with the National Infrastructure Commission.
Previous months questions to the Mayor can be found here.
July 2014: This month the Mayor has been asked questions in relation to:
Mayoral involvement with the Local Government Climate Roadmap; organisations operating at the London Sustainable Industries Park; potential for the London Pension Fund Authority (LPFA) to invest in low carbon London projects; whether Energy Performance Certificate or Green Deal assessments will be provided for homes that go through the RE:NEW programme; monitoring high energy consuming buildings in London; reductions in forecasted projections of CO2 savings in Mayor’s energy supply programme; Transport for London’s (TfL) Energy Strategy; the Mayor’s Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with energy suppliers; visit by Mayor’s energy advisor to Camden’s biomethane refuelling station; correspondence with DCLG on the Mayor being able to set London specific energy efficiency targets in planning rules for new development; meetings with DECC over encouraging the use of solar PV on GLA land and building; new district heating network using heat from Greenwich Power Station; the low take up of ECO energy efficiency programme in London; connecting Whitehall District Heating Scheme to Pimlico District Heating Undertaking; the Mayor’s response to a recent London Solar Energy report by Green Party London Assembly member Jenny Jones; future TfL electricity costs; whether the Mayor responded to the Government’s recent solar PV consultation; concerns over government changes to the ECO as raised by the Mayor; funding for the next round of the RE:NEW programme; energy efficiency requirements in the private rented sector; monies received by the Green Bus Fund; work being undertaken to assess the economic impact to London as a result of climate change; attendance at the World Mayors Summit of Climate Change; planning offset funds; contract awarded for management of the RE:NEW programme; and if the Mayor’s High Level Electricity Working Group has considered solar PV.
Previous months questions to the Mayor can be found here.
June 2014: This month the Mayor has been asked questions in relation to:
Energy efficiency in the private rented sector; carbon offsets used by new developments;
How much energy is produced in London by decentralised energy systems;
heat recovery from London’s buildings; meetings with London community energy groups; total spend by the Mayor on domestic energy efficiency programmes;
Mayoral action following the publication of the government’s Community Energy Strategy; energy companies supporting the Mayor’s License Lite application;
progress against the Mayor’s decentralised energy target; the government’s new Urban Energy Fund; money spent by the London Energy Efficiency Fund (LEEF);
hospitals using the Mayor’s RE:FIT programme; visits to the Kingston heat pump development; visits to the London Array Wind Farm; Ofgem approval of the Mayor’s License Lite application; local authorities using RE:FIT; the Mayor’s first license lite supply deal; feedback from the C40 Johannesburg summit; consumer redress to high heat charges on district heating networks;
ESCO deals signed under the Mayor’s RE:FIT programme; Mayoral support for the Green Deal in London’; Green Deal Communities Fund; costs associated with applying to DECC’s Green Deal Communities Fund; green jobs created by Mayoral programmes;
low carbon sector jobs created; attracting green investment into London; the Mayor’s High Level Electricity Working Group;
Previous months questions to the Mayor can be found here.
June 2014: Following an extensive evidence session on the Mayor’s domestic energy efficiency programme earlier this year – details of which are here – the Mayor has provided some additional information on work being undertaken by British Gas in London.
The letter states that “British Gas, with its London borough and housing association partners, has already committed to invest in excess of £36 million through eight schemes in London shown in the table below.
“These schemes are expected to deliver measures to over 26,000 homes across London.” British Gas has previously stated that they would earmark specific funding to London under the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) programme: how much this level has changed following the alternations to ECO proposed by government in their recent ECO consultation is not clear, but has been raised in a recent mayoral question.
June 2014: An independent evaluation of the first year (2013) of the operation of the Energy Company Obligation (ECO), undertaken by the Centre for Sustainable Energy (CSE) for industry trade association Energy UK, has recently been published and highlights the low levels of funding directed to the capital.
The study ‘The ECO: An Evaluation of Year 1‘ includes a comparison of regional distribution of ECO spend and previous energy supplier obligations and reports – that across these major energy efficiency programmes:
“London has fared the worst, because although it has the second highest population, it obtained the second lowest number of EEC-2 cavity wall insulation installations (after Scotland), the third lowest number of CERT measures (after Scotland and the North East, which have lower populations), and the third lowest number of HHCRO households (after the East of England and the South West). London has a higher number of CERO households, but relative to its population this is still low.”
The following graph from the CSE report provides an illustration of this:
Government has previously stated that the ECO would support the uptake of ‘hard to treat’ measures, which would work better for London, and hence a regional target would not be needed (see para 53 onwards from November 2011 DECC ‘Green Deal & ECO consultation document‘). It may be that DECC now needs to look at this issue again under the current ECO consultation.
June 2014: The government announced a review of its ECO (Energy Company Obligation) programme in December 2013, against a backdrop of considerable media coverage, across many months, on the rising costs of consumers’ energy bills – all of which culminated in the Prime Minister’s alleged ‘cut the Green Crap‘ quote .
The ECO sets a legal obligation on energy suppliers to provide a reduction in carbon emissions through supporting the uptake of energy efficiency measures in the domestic sector. Each supplier (effectively the ‘Big 6’) has a specific target assigned to it by government depending on the number of domestic gas and electricity customers they supply. The ECO is paid for through a charge on all household energy bills – which is then collected by suppliers and is in turn used by them to help subsidise energy efficiency programmes – such as reduced cost insulation measures. Each household is estimated to pay around £50 a year to pay for ECO (approximately – it depends on the level of charge passed on by the supplier to their customer to meet the costs of their ECO target), which amounts to around £1.3bn a year total ECO spend. The proposals put forward in ECO consultation, with reductions in supplier target levels, and ‘stretching out’ of the targets to March 2017 (see below), are thought to reduce the cost of ECO to households by £30-35 ie a small reduction in energy bills (around 2% against an average energy bill of £1,300) – but also an overall reduction in the amount of money going to fund the government’s main efficiency programme. It should be noted that predecessor ‘supplier obligation’ programmes have operated in the UK since the mid-90s (EESoP, EEC, CERT, CESP) and have contributed significantly to helping improve the energy efficiency of UK homes (see section 6.13 of latest DCLG English Housing Survey report here).
Following the December press release, a consultation paper – the ‘Future of the ECO‘ – was released on 5 March, which closed for comments on April 16th. The consultation set out a wide number of proposals – of which the major ones were to:
- Extend the operation of ECO beyond the current March 2015 deadline to March 2017
- Set new targets for the three sub-obligation targets (CERO, CSCO and HHCRO)
- Reduce the major sub-target of the ECO – the Carbon Emissions Reduction Obligation (CERO) – target by 33 per cent.
The Mayor has posted his response to the government’s proposals highlighting a number of key concerns including that:
5 March 2014: London Assembly press release calling “on Mayor Boris Johnson to press Whitehall to reverse cuts to programmes designed to reduce energy consumption in the capital. A motion agreed at a today’s Assembly meeting urges the Mayor to lobby the government to rethink reductions to the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) and a two year extension to the time limit for energy companies to fulfil the requirements. The Mayor should also lobby ministers to set out a national infrastructure project that will help to cut fuel bills for 1.2 million London homes by 2015.” Read the news release here.
Also today, the government released their consultation on the revised changes to ECO.
March 2014: The London Assembly Environment Committee held the first of two oral evidence sessions on progress made by the GLA’s energy and climate programmes. The first of these sessions was held on 6 February and focussed on the Mayor’s home energy efficiency programme, RE:NEW. Evidence was provided by representatives from a number of organisations, including EDF Energy, the Energy Saving Trust, Hillingdon Borough Council and the Mayor’s Housing Advisor. The full transcript can be accessed here – and a webcast can also be viewed here. Points of interest raised during the debate included:
- The RE:NEW programme is awaiting confirmation they they have been successful in their application to the European Investment Bank’s European Local Energy Assistance (ELENA) programme for £2.6m to put in place a support team over a three year period starting from April 2014 (the RE:NEW programme support team is currently operated for the GLA by Capita).
- RE:NEW is currently working with Greenwich, Havering, Newham and Westminster, Hyde Housing and Peabody Gallions developing “bigger projects that would be more attractive in terms of bringing in Energy Company Obligation (ECO) funding“.
- Borough responses suggested that RE:NEW was “not very hands-on with project development.” RE:NEW is keen to find out what boroughs are doing but “there is very little support there for boroughs in terms of developing projects and overcoming planning issues.“
- RE:NEW should be instead be focussing on what the GLA could do to “enhance [borough activities] even further if it wants to deliver ambitious carbon reduction targets“
- Further criticism was targeted at the RE:NEW programme stating that the funding resource was mainly going to Capita : “We see that the resources are actually on those people, basically, for the Capita resource. Local authorities are not really getting the benefit of that on the whole“.
- An often confusing debate takes place on how many homes were retrofitted through the RE:NEW programme and how many homes were insulated across London in total. A number of 400,000 homes is quoted by the Mayor’s Housing Advisor during the session. Though not explained, this number is most likely made up of the following: 327,00 treated through the Government’s CERT programme over the period April 2008 – December 2012 (see cell V35 of EST CERT data here), and 70,000 homes visited by the RE:NEW team and provided with ‘easy measures’ over the period July 2011-December 2012 (see MQ here for details). For more on this, see earlier post here.
- RE:NEW Phase 3 has a target of retrofitting 175,000 homes.
Just ahead of the evidence session – somewhat belatedly – the Mayor published the full evaluation report of the main RE:NEW roll-out phase which ran from July 2011-May 2012 (a summary report had previously been issued – details here). A second oral evidence session will take place on 26 March, focusing on the Mayor’s decentralised energy programmes, with the Mayor’s energy advisor, Matthew Pencharz, in attendance.
January 2014: This month the Mayor has been asked questions in relation to:
the Mayor’s meetings with energy ministers; KPIs under the Mayor’s Climate Change Mitigation and Energy Strategy; establishing a London Energy Cooperative; ECO funding in London; the number of energy suppliers signed up to the Mayor’s MoU; the Mayor’s support for the Energy Bill Revolution’s Cold Homes Week; Kew Gardens decentralised energy scheme; London avoiding the ‘capacity crunch‘; solar installations on GLA buildings; the underheating of Londoners’ homes; the RE:NEW programme energy efficiency targets; the Mayor’s concerns over Government ‘Allowable Solutions‘ proposals; insulation industry jobs; Excess Winter Deaths; insulation projects stalled under ECO; the stalled Affinity Sutton insulation project; RE:NEW targets; retrofitting and planning restrictions; renewable energy installations on the GLA estate; GLA funding to Capita to manage the RE:NEW programme; British Gas funding to ECO; the Mayor’s High Level Electricity Working Group; LED streetlighting projects; CO2 savings achieved under RE:NEW; delayed CO2 savings under RE:NEW; the Climate Change Leaders for a Low Carbon London fuel poverty project; planning CO2 target requirements; meetings with DCLG; biofuel and London buses; GLA Environment Team budgets over next two years; Mayor’s application to the Government’s Green Deal Communities Fund; and tendering for License Lite services.
Previous months questions to the Mayor can be found here.
December 2013: This month the Mayor has been asked questions in relation to:
a debate on how the Mayor will look to address the number of excess winter deaths in London; the impact on London as a result of the Government’s redefinition of fuel poverty; the Mayor’s plans to help tackle fuel poverty (MQs referred to in this answer can be seen here 4251 and 3836); the long terms impacts of climate change; RE:NEW targets to 2015; the Mayor’s view on the recent ‘Green Crap‘ debate; the level of increase in London domestic energy bills over the past three years; funding to improve energy inefficient damp London housing; windfall tax on energy suppliers (see following for link to answer referenced); the energy costs to Londoners as a result of gas fracking; Canary Wharf waste heat offtake; details of the recent £5.6m DECC funding to tackle fuel poverty in London; promoting low cost low carbon energy supplies in London (also see the following MQ 4254); the impact to London as a result of the recent changes to ECO; supporting community-led energy projects such as Brixton Energy; the Mayor’s Low Carbon Entrepreneur competition; opportunities for the London Pension Fund Authority (LPFA) to invest in low carbon projects; thes costs of nuclear power (read Liberum Capital note referred to in question here); London’s top 500 energy-consuming buildings; Nuclear Power versus decentralised energy; the Mayor’s support for fracking and nuclear power; the Mayor’s ambition – as set out in his recent draft Housing Strategy to retrofit London’s “entire stock for improved energy performance by 2020″; the late publication of the RE:NEW evaluation report; the Mayor’s energy advisor visit to heat pump system at One New Change; the Mayor’s energy advisor visit to the Barkantine CHP system; the Mayor’s work with the Better Buildings Partnership; the Mayor’s energy advisor’s work with the C40; the Mayor’s energy advisor visit to Islington’s Bunhill CHP scheme; the Mayor’s energy advisor visit to the Olympic site CHP system; recent events the Mayor’s energy and environment advisor has spoken at; the Mayor’s view on Labour’s proposals for an energy price freeze; future funding for the RE:NEW support team; the Mayor’s comments on wind power; RE:NEW housing retrofit targets; the award-winning Bunhill CHP; the number of fuel poor households to be delivered by RE:NEW; London’s resilience to a nuclear power station radiation leak; fuel poverty advice given to callers to the Mayor’s Know Your Rights helpline; the impact on solid wall insulation as a result of changes to the ECO; tower block residents assisted under the RE:NEW programme;
Previous months questions to the Mayor can be found here.
December 2013: An oral evidence session between officials and the London Assembly Budget & Performance Committee (see earlier post for details) highlighted the slow progress of the Mayor’s domestic energy efficiency retrofit programme RE:NEW. A new paper (06a(v)) presented to the 18th December meeting of the London Assembly Budget Monitoring Sub-Committee provides some data helping illustrate the extent of the shortfall.
The current forecast for 13/14 (right hand chart) shows that RE:NEW is predicted to just miss the project target – however, the performance level to date indicated shows that even this reduced level of delivery is still some way off. The oral evidence session (referred to above) in fact suggests that only 3% of the 13/14 target has as yet been achieved (996 tonnes of CO2 compared to a target of 29,416 – earlier post). Paper 06a(v) provides some explanation for the slow progress:
- Delivery of the RE:NEW Phase II carbon targets is significantly delayed and contractors will miss their obligations. This is largely due to delays in availability of ECO (government subsidy). Delivery of the carbon savings from the interim Support Team has exceeded targets for quarter two
- Performance payments have been withheld from contractors and the funding is being reallocated to the RE:NEW Support Team in order to reduce the shortfall in performance. However, this is not sufficient to completely mitigate the lower savings from RE:NEW Phase II and this, combined with a delay in confirmation from the European Investment Bank for ELENA funding prior to commencing procurement of the full RE:NEW Support Team, means its is forecast 75 per cent of 2013/14 carbon targets will be achieved.
- The targets for future years have been reviewed and updated in light of the above and as planned. They have been reduced for 2014/15 and 2015/16, but an additional year of delivery (2016/17) has been added, which leads to an increase in carbon savings overall – albeit over a longer period.
The paper goes on to report latest CO2 saving estimates of two further Mayor’s climate change projects – RE:FIT (the public sector building retrofit project) and the London decentralised energy programme. The latter states that “Significant progress has been made on several projects, particularly with regards the Lea Valley Heat Network, Lakeside Energy from Waste, Greenwich Power Station and the Kew Gardens Decentralised Energy scheme.“
1 December 2013: …is not anywhere on Number 10 or DECC’s websites but behind a ‘paywall’ in today’s edition of the Sun on Sunday. But is now also reproduced below:
Cameron: We can help the poorest and stick to our green policies
Coalition on pledge to keep energy bills down
By DAVID CAMERON, Prime Minister, and NICK CLEGG, Deputy Prime Minister
LABOUR leader Ed Miliband rocked Westminster with his pledge of a 20-month freeze on energy bills.
While ministers scoffed it wouldn’t work, they were stung by its popular appeal with voters.
Now after two months of head-scratching, they have come up with an alternative plan to keep prices down.
Here the Prime Minister and his Lib Dem deputy reveal plans to slash £50 off the average bill – and explain how they’ll do it:
BECAUSE of the hard work of the British people, and because we have stuck to our long-term economic plan, Britain’s economy is now on the mend – and we’re determined to help families in every way we can.
The Coalition is offering real help in these hard times: income tax cuts, a council tax freeze, a fuel duty freeze and free school meals for young children.
We have only been able to do this because we have taken difficult decisions and our economic plan is working.
This week, we will announce further help: proposals that will be worth around £50 on average to energy bill-payers.
We’re doing it without taking any help away from poor families or sacrificing our green commitments; and in a way that will keep Britain’s lights on in the long-term too.
When you look at your bill you see it is made up of various costs. Some of these we can’t control.
Most of what you pay is determined by the price of energy in the global market – the gas and oil we’re buying from the Middle East or Europe.
Politicians in the UK cannot wave a magic wand over these prices. To pretend you can is fantasy politics.
But there are bits that government can control – the parts of your bill that go to helping the poorest families heat their homes and to making Britain more energy efficient.
Some say we should drop these commitments entirely but we do not agree. As we approach winter, we refuse to turn our backs on the worst-off families. And if we abandon our green commitments, it is our children and grandchildren who will pay the price.
This Coalition Government has never pursued quick fixes today when they’ll hurt people tomorrow – and we’re not going to start now.
So we are going to stick to these commitments but we are not going to ask you to pay for all of them through your bills.
The two million poorest families who currently receive a discount on gas and electricity will continue to do so, but Government will pay for it. We’re able to afford this because we have cracked down on tax avoidance – leaving us more money to help struggling families. We are also changing the way we fund improving energy efficiency in Britain’s homes.
We will all be better off when our homes lose less heat, so we want the energy companies to help insulate as many homes as possible over the next decade.
But – apart from in the worst-off homes – we’re going to spread the costs of these programmes over a longer time frame, reducing people’s bills.
And to make sure we carry on cutting enough carbon, the Government will pay for new incentives for people to insulate their homes.
Alongside the Green Deal, when you buy a new home you could get up to £1,000 from Government to spend on energy-saving measures – equivalent to half the stamp duty on the average house – or even more for particularly expensive measures.
It is an all-round win. Better insulation means cheaper bills, it will cut carbon emissions and boost British businesses who provide these services.
On top of that, we will offer cash incentives to landlords of the least energy-efficient properties so that, when they are between tenants, they can better insulate their properties. And we’ll also make sure our schools and hospitals are more energyefficient, too.
Taken together, these things mean we will meet our green commitments and support those employed in the insulation industry but, crucially, without putting the cost on energy customers.
Labour have promised a temporary price freeze on energy bills. But they’re taking people for fools. Energy companies would hike up prices both before and after the freeze – so families would end up paying more.
Not only that, by cutting investment in green energy, their freeze would threaten thousands of jobs.
Labour’s con is the worst of all worlds. When an offer sounds too good to be true it usually is.
The Coalition has come up with a serious and credible plan that actually works.
By taking the time to get this right, we’ve got the best outcome all round. No poor family will lose a penny of help.
Our clean energy sector will get the investment it needs, the lights will stay on and we will cut just as much carbon as we planned.
Instead of a fake giveaway, we’ve found another way to support Britain’s hard-pressed families when they need it most.