Tag Archives: ECO

Energy & Climate Questions to the Mayor

November 2013: This month the Mayor has been asked questions in relation to:

the price of Londoner’s gas bills; the uptake of the Green Deal in London; details of schools going through the RE:FIT Energy Efficiency Programme; the recent GLA-commissioned study looking at London’s Zero Carbon Energy ResourceLondon Energy Costs; the London Energy Efficiency Fund (LEEF) Loan to Croydon; work undertaken on Energy Efficiency guidance to SMEs; buildings adopting the GLA Sustainable Design and Construction Standards; whether the Mayor had sent a copy of the GLA’s  ‘Energy Planning: Monitoring the implementation of London Plan energy policies in 2012‘ research to CLG;  the Mayor’s response to a recent Environment Audit Committee recommendation that local authorities should have a statutory duty to produce low-carbon plans for their area; the GLA’s response to CLG’s Allowable Solutions consultation; Mayoral concern over CLG’s Housing Standards Review consultation; organisations working alongside the Mayor’s Affordable Warmth and Health Action Plan; events proposed around the Mayor’s Affordable Warmth and Health Action Plan; London’s children and fuel poverty; evaluation of the Know Your Rights Campaign; the Mayor’s support for nuclear; the Mayor’s response to former PM John Major’s comments on households having to choose between heating or eating; an update report on the Mayor’s Climate Change Mitigation and Energy Strategy; the Mayor’s response to concerns that the ECO is to be scrapped; the Mayor’s strategy for delivering the ECO and Green Deal in London; whether the Mayor has been in contact with CLG over the Housing Standards Review consultation.

Previous months questions to the Mayor can be found here.

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External Wall Insulation and the Planning System

October 2013: Solid Wall Insulation (SWI) is critical in helping improve the energy efficiency of a large proportion of London’s homes and hence helpful that the GLA’s RE:NEW team have produced a short FAQ document on planning issues around the retrofit of External Wall Insulation (EWI).

The note highlights that a General Permitted Development Order (GPDO) was “clarified in regard to external wall insulation for single houses in technical guidance published by the Department for Communities and Local Government, in January 2013. It is stated that for the purposes of planning, external wall insulation is considered to be an ‘improvement’ rather than ‘development’, and, hence, does not require an applicant to make a planning application first to the local planning authority.”

Further information on the CLG planning order referenced above can be seen in an earlier post here. Further information on planning issues related to the roll-out of SWI in London can also be seen in this really helpful Future of London briefing note here.

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Green Deal & ECO in London – six months in

September 2013: Following the publication of the first quarterly set of detailed Green Deal and ECO (Energy Company Obligation) data back in July (details of which are outlined in the following post here) DECC has now published the much anticipated second quarter’s data set on 19 September 2013 (press release here).

In contrast to the regular monthly DECC datasets, the quarterly data provides a regional breakdown of  i.Green Deal assessments undertaken ii. ECO measures installed and data on iii. Green Deal cashback vouchers offered, allowing some idea of how the Government’s new energy efficiency regime is progressing in London.

Continue reading…

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Camden Energy Updates

July 2013: Camden’s Environment Scrutiny Committee met recently where a detailed environment report for the borough was presented. The Green Action for Change annual review provides a pretty exhaustive account of the range of programmes being taken forward in the borough, including the following energy-related actions:

  • Pilot enhanced retrofitting planning guidance for conservation areas adopted for Dartmouth Park and Holly Lodge. Format for new borough wide energy efficiency planning guidance for conservation areas agreed.
  • Euston Road/Somers Town CHP scheme now procurement ready
  • Gospel Oak Heat Network – which uses waste heat from the Royal Free Hospital’s CHP system to heat several Camden housing estates – was connected to 1,427 dwellings, saving an estimated 37,761 lifetime tCO2.
  • Energy masterplan completed for Bloomsbury area, with detailed assessment of British Museum link to university and Great Ormond Street to Tybalds estate
  • Euston Opportunity Area Planning Framework (OAPF) energy masterplan funding secured with completion pending HS2 judicial review.

On the Green Deal and energy efficiency retrofits, the report outlines that: Continue reading…

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BG commit to increasing ECO funding in London

July 2013: Claire Williams, MD of BG New Energy, provided a useful summary at BASELondon of key considerations by British Gas in complying with the delivery of the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) target, and its relevancy to London.

The shortfall in funding to London’s under previous energy efficiency schemes (the Government’s EEC and CERT programmes) was highlighted and Ms Williams set out that Londoners should get a ‘fair share’ of the estimated £85 per year that all households pay to fund the ECO. Other points raised included:

  • London’s housing stock was relatively old, with a higher proportion than the rest of the country of solid wall homes. Funding for insulation measures in solid wall homes had not been addressed by previous energy efficiency obligations
  • The logistics around delivering services remains a challenge in London: there are problems associated with parking, the congestion charge, suitable storage areas and secure deports.
  • The GLA and boroughs are supporting through the provision of housing stock analysis and helping speed up procurement.
  • The ECO timetable is tight: the programme operates for 27 months – but may initiatives funded may take a year to deliver – often three months along to get through planning

Importantly, Ms Williams went onto say that BG are committed to deploying a large proportion of their national ECO spend in London – at least 20% – with investment already going ahead with £16m targeted at 600 homes in Southwark over the next two years and discussions also going ahead with Lambeth.

The Mayor is currently working on establishing a Memorandum of Understanding with energy companies to help ensure that a larger proportion of energy efficiency funds come to London. Further information on the following post.

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London & the Green Deal: An initial assessment

July 2013: DECC issued the first set of detailed quarterly Green Deal Statistics last week which provide include some limited regional results on the roll-out of the Government’s flagship energy efficiency programme. Hence, a picture of the activity in London to date is beginning to emerge. A number of information releases were published simultaneously on June 27  and are set out below, along with points to note for the capital:

  • The data provided is for the Q1 2013 and hence only covers activity up to 31 March 2013. By that time, 9,294 Green Deal assessments had been undertaken in England. The press release issued on June 27 advises that the latest number of assessments carried out is 38,259.
  • 10% of these 9,294 assessments were undertaken in London (set out in Table 1 on p12 of the statistical news release)
  • An accompanying data spreadsheet provides a local authority breakdown of assessments undertaken. Southwark and Haringey observed the highest level of assessments  in London over the first quarter, with 105 and 100 assessments respectively. Kensington & Chelsea, and the City of London the lowest with 1 and zero respectively. A ‘league table’ of London boroughs is provided below
  • London boroughs (including the GLA) was awarded a total of £925,000 under DECC’s Green Deal Pioneer Places programme earlier this year. See earlier post for details. Consequently, a number of local authorities were providing Green Deal assessments to their residents free of charge. These offers ran up to May for some local authorities, hence assessment numbers for Q1 and Q2 will be boosted by the fact that homeowners are broadly having these services provided free over this period.
  • The DECC data spreadsheet also provides detail on houses assessed (type of home, energy efficiency rating of home) and the measures recommended in the assessment. Though useful, this data does not provide any real indication of how many homes will be eventually install energy efficiency measures. DECC’s press release has Minister Greg Barker stating that “78 per cent of people who have received a Green Deal Advice Report, following a Green Deal assessment, said they had, were getting or would get energy saving measures installed.”
  • In the run-up to the launch of the Green Deal and Energy Company Obligation (ECO), Government recognised that London had not received its fair share of funding from the energy supplier obligations in the past, however, they decided not to establish a  London-specific ECO target as they were of the view that London should benefit under ECO as the programme is strongly focussed on the installation of solid wall insulation (SWI) and London has a large percentage of such homes. A real measure of success in the future will hence be the number of SWI installs in the capital. The latest Green Deal & ECO monthly statistics – issued alongside the quarterly statistics – highlight that 1,565 SWI installs were completed over the first quarter of 2013 across the UK. This is at a far lower rate than previous quarters in previous years (see quarterly progress of SWI in Table 1 of DECC Estimates of Home Insulation Levels in Great Britain – released alongside the GD/ECO statistics). Unfortunately, neither the monthly or quarterly statistics provide a regional breakdown of where these installations took place. This is something DECC will need to provide to help better understand if the ECO is being delivered in London.
  • The Green Deal Cash Back offer, an initial ‘sweetener’ offered by Government on a first come – first served basis, has a pot of £125m. The quarterly statistics for vouchers issued by Government actually go beyond the first quarter – to 16 June 2013 – and show that £263k has so far been awarded. Unfortunately, no regional breakdown has been provided of where these vouchers have been awarded.

So, early days as yet for both the Green Deal and the ECO. More detailed data would be helpful to determine the progress of the programmes in London and elsewhere. It will be interesting to see the Mayor’s response to the Green Deal after an assessment is completed for his own home.

Green Deal assessments by borough are provided below and have been re-ordered from that provided in the quarterly spreadsheet into a ‘league table’ order.

Continue reading…

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Interim Funding for London Energy Efficiency Programme

July 2013: The Mayor has approved further interim funding for his domestic energy efficiency funding programme RE:NEW. The approval form MD1199 states that an allocation of £150,000 will be provided to a new interim Programme Delivery Unit (PDU) which is to be part of a programme to “stimulate a step change in the level of domestic retrofit activity in London” . Other actions include:

  • An early delivery programme through DECC’s award of over £5 million funding for fuel poverty, Green Deal and Energy Company Obligation (ECO) projects in 18 boroughs.
  • A project to help boroughs remove barriers that can be overcome using local powers, such as planning and parking, which currently inhibit retrofit activity in London.
  • Development of a social housing retrofit programme: the GLA is working with social housing providers, boroughs, ALMOs and large private landlords to develop a pipeline of ECO projects that can be contracted through the RE:NEW framework. This pipeline now has over £87 million capital value of energy efficiency projects being reviewed.
  • Development of a RE:NEW delivery model that can best maximise Green Deal and ECO, as well as being adaptable to new funding schemes and sources. The model that has been identified is providing a Programme Delivery Unit to manage the analysis, tendering, delivery and tracking of delivery in social housing, private rented sector and owner occupier sectors across London for both Green Deal and ECO.

However, the approval document goes on to say “While the development of the ECO social housing pipeline has been successful, the resource will not be in place to deliver the projects through to the RE:NEW framework until the full business case has been finalised and funding sought. To avoid a slowdown in delivery during this period, we intend to procure interim support to help manage the early pipeline of projects that have been developed through our work with social housing landlords.”

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Energy and Climate Questions to the Mayor

June 2013: This month the Mayor has been asked questions in relation to:

the Mayor’s ability to help resolve the EU-China solar panel import tariffs conflict; savings achieved by householders going through the Mayor’s home energy efficiency programme RE:NEW; the number of Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) provided under RE:NEW; the number of schemes supported by the London Energy Efficiency Fund (LEEF); an update on the Whitehall and Pimlico District Heating Schemes project; the amount of money spent by the GLA from funds awarded by DECC; the number of retrofits delivered by this funding; and the number of jobs delivered; Greenwich Power Station; Transport for London’s energy strategy; discussions with energy suppliers; the impact of future energy price increases on London’s economy; the RE:FIT in Schools initiative; Sutton incinerator; the RE:NEW evaluation report; Green Deal assessments under RE:NEW; flats treated under RE:NEW; fuel poor houses treated under RE:NEW; solid wall households treated under RE:NEW; the number of pensioner households treated under RE:NEW; TfL’s support for biomethane buses; hybrid buses supported by the Green Bus Fund; carbon and the London Enterprise Panel; carbon and the Growing Places Fund; Whitehall District Heating scheme; research undertaken to develop the London Thames Develoment Gateway Network; research into welfare reform and fuel poverty; jobs and the insulation industry; the number of energy efficiency retrofits carried out under funding; the amount of the £5.6m DECC funding provided to the GLA for energy efficiency funding spent.

Previous months questions to the Mayor can be found here.

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New London Energy Efficiency ‘Programme Delivery Unit’ to be created

June 2013: The Deputy Mayor for Housing, Richard Blakeway, provided the opening address at the recent Energy UK/DECC ‘Energy Company Obligation (ECO)’ London event held at City Hall. Mr Blakeway spoke about the future ambitions for the Mayor’s RE:NEW home energy efficiency retrofit scheme stating that:

  • On the basis of London’s population, when compared with the rest of the country, up to 21% of the £1.3bn ECO fund should be coming into the capital each year. London has however fared poorly under the Government’s energy efficiency obligation schemes to date.
  • Hence, the GLA have been talking to the ‘big 6’ major energy suppliers are are looking to establish a Memorandum of Understanding to help increase the delivery of energy efficiency measures to Londoners’ homes.
  • These have been “really positive discussions” and the GLA are now working to identify a pipeline of homes that benefit from the ECO
  • The GLA are also examining the “niggles in the system” which are hindering progress, such as parking issues for energy companies when visiting homes.
  • The GLA are working with social landlords – who maintain around 800,000 homes in the capital – to identify ‘at scale’ homes that could qualify.
  • Initial work has identified a pipeline of 100,000 properties that could be “early beneficiaries of the ECO”. (for further information see consultancy Verco’s research paper on this earlier post).
  • To channel this work, the GLA are establishing a new Programme Delivery Unit. The PDU will work with boroughs, social housinglandlord and other stakeholders to support and increase uptake of the Green Deal and ECO schemes.
  • Positions are now being appointed for the PDU which should be operational by June.
  • Similar to other Mayoral programmes, such as RE:NEW and RE:FIT, the PDU will establish a framework contract for delivery agents, helping speed up the procurement process for local authorities and other housing providers.

A recent presentation by the GLA provides some further background to the new PDU.

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Energy Efficiency in London

March 2013: Helpful new briefing paper presented to the London Councils Leaders Committee on ‘Energy Efficiency in London’, which highlights:

  • The bulk of recent funding from DECC to the GLA (see here and here)  will be spent on replacing/repairing boiler and heating systems within the participating boroughs, as well as improving the insulation properties of homes, utilising the framework contracts already in place from the RE:NEW scheme. A smaller part of the funds will be spent on both domestic and business Green Deal assessments.
  • Almost one in five London households is in fuel poverty, currently defined as householders spending more than 10 per cent of their income on energy to keep warm. This is significantly higher than the national average as a result of a greater proportion of older and hard-to-treat homes. The problem is likely to get worse too,with one in four households projected to be in fuel poverty by next year as a result of rising energy costs and the UK’s homes being some of the most energy inefficient in Europe.
  • London Councils is actively pursuing Government to include measures to simplify tariffs and provide clearer information to consumers. We are lobbying for more competition to enable suppliers to offer market-beating tariffs in cases, such as the Collective Energy Switch currently pursued by London Councils and to ensure that fuel poor households will continue to benefit from centrally funded measures for retrofitting activities.
  • Due to the higher costs of delivering retro-fitting in London, there is a danger that London will lose out on its fair share of ECO funding, as it did under the CERT scheme. London Councils, with the GLA, lobbied for regional targets, which Government did not accept and has resulted in adapting the RE:NEW work to include a larger element of working with retrofitting providers to address some of their main concerns (local planning matters, parking issues and sharing of benefits claimants data). The Energy Bill, however offers a new opportunity to reinforce this point, which London Councils is actively pursuing.
  • Due to the types of homes in London and the prevalence of fuel poverty, vulnerable households are unlikely to meet the golden rule of the Green Deal without further financial support.
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Regional Green Deal statistics available …but not quite yet

14 March 2013: DECC published their first statistical release today on activity under the Green Deal over the months of January and February 2013 (statement by Secretary of State here). This revealed that 1,803 assessments of properties have taken place over the two months. The statistics however do not set out where these assessments were undertaken – ie no regional breakdown has been provided – which is hugely disappointing. Hence – the following twitter conversation took place.

So – Green Deal (and ECO also …?) regional statistics (hopefully at the local authority rather simply the regional level) will be made available in the fuller dataset released in June of this year. DECC should also consider reporting on a regional basis in the monthly stats …a discussion that will likely continue. Interested parties do feel free to contact DECC to request this happens!

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Update on the ECO brokerage

March 2013: DECC have provided a summaries on the first four auctions undertaken under the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) brokerage (for more on the brokerage – see here and here).  Details can be viewed on DECC’s website here . They’re not the easiest thing to decipher…hence, useful that Inside Housing have produced the following analysis highlighting that:

  • Energy companies are paying as much as double last year’s high for carbon savings from energy efficiency works on homes
  • The identity of the organisations selling the savings is hidden until a deal is struck to make the process more transparent and competitive.
  • Many of the lots did not meet the reserve price set by green deal providers.
  • A spokesperson for DECC said: ‘Ultimately, the ECO brokerage market is in an early stage of development and it will take a few auctions for the price to settle.’
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