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Tag Archives: Energy Efficiency
22 May 2013: After some delay, DECC have published their latest annual report for the Warm Front programme for the year April 2011-March 2012. Little information has been released on the Warm Front programme since early 2012, when measures delivered per parliamentary constituency were published.
The report indicates that London has – once again – been poorly served by the programme, with the capital having the lowest number of homes assisted. See graphic from the report below.
Warm Front was the Government’s principal fuel poverty alleviation scheme and the only energy efficiency scheme centrally funded by Government [ie the various energy supplier obligation programmes that have operated over the past decade (EEC, CERT, CESP) are paid through by charges added to UK householders electricity and gas bills by energy companies]. The incoming Government decided to significantly reduce the budget of Warm Front – from an annual spend of £345m to £110m in 2011/2012. This was further reduced to £100m in 2012/13 which was also decided to be the last year of the scheme.
The foreword to the annual report points out that “For the first time in the history of the scheme the budget available was not fully spent. The greatest reason for the budget not being fully spent was undoubtedly the low rate of applications received by the scheme.” The Government came under significant criticism in 2012 as a result of this underspend, coming as it did at not only at a time of increasing fuel price rises, but also after the budget of the programme had been cut by 68%! A House of Commons briefing note from February 2012 provides details to all of this – and further info on the impacts in London in post here).
In relation to the final year of the programme – 2012/13 – the annual report for which we may not see for another year (!?) – the Government actually withdrew funds late last year from the Warm Front budget to pay for a number of new initiatives - the Green Deal Pioneer Places programme, a fuel poverty programme and a collective switching scheme (details via the following link). It was not announced at the time that some £30m was drawn out of the Warm Front budget to fund these schemes - and only came to light earlier this year (see latter parliamentary questions from Shadow Secretary of State Caroline Flint to DECC here).
May 2013: Waltham Forest have posted details of work being done to establish a new network for ‘green’ SMEs.
“North London boroughs are working together to develop a network of SMEs (small and medium sized enterprises) located in the North London area delivering energy efficient retrofit services and installations. The Council is working to promote uptake of energy retrofit in each borough.
The Council wants to build upon and support existing local supply chains to deliver this work. This will grow the local green economy and develop an SME/labour market that can be exported beyond North London.
The aims of the North London Retrofit SME Network are:
- Create a directory of SME builders and installers who carry out green retrofit in North London. The North London SME Retrofit Directory is open to any SME delivering retrofit services located in the boroughs of Waltham Forest, Camden, Enfield, Haringey, Islington and Newham
- Start a forum to hear from local SMEs how Councils can support locally delivered retrofit in North London
- Create networking opportunities among SMEs working in the area
- Strengthen links with local training providers
- Sign post local retrofit SMEs towards the different initiatives offering support and training in this growing market both locally and London wide
To find out more about the North London Retrofit SME Directory and Network please email: email@example.com
April 2013: Back in February, at the launch of DECC’s ‘Energy Efficiency Mission’ in London – the special guest to the event was the Prime Minister himself who made a short speech on the key importance of energy efficiency to the economy. As the following Association of Conservation (ACE) post points out, the PM’s speech was - strangely – never mentioned, released or press released by Number 10.
April 2013: The Department for Communities and Local Government announced last week new funding to help councils fund the adaptations disabled people need to live independently in their own home. The press release states that “Ministers have protected the Disabled Facilities Grant programme for the last 3 years, with a further £185 million expected in next year’s funding“.
Included in eligible types of work for funding are:
- adapting heating or lighting controls to make them easier to use
- improving or providing a suitable heating system
A document setting out the allocation awarded to each local authority is provided here. Looking at London councils , it can be seen a total of £23.5m has gone to the capital – a breakdown of each borough’s funding is provided below:
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.
March 2013: DECC have just announced that the department has signed up to the Mayor’s RE:FIT public sector energy efficiency retrofit programme. Signing up to RE:FIT will allow DECC to access guidance from the RE:FIT Programme Delivery Unit (PDU). Support from the PDU is funded by the GLA and is only available as a no cost service to public sector organisations in the London region. Organisations can then use the procurement framework established under RE:FIT – and the PDU can also help facilitate access to available funding sources, such as Salix, the London Energy Efficiency Fund (LEEF), and the Public Works Loan Board amongst others.
The GLA have recently reported that “the RE:FIT programme was considered to be a highly effective, low cost model that the Department for Energy and Climate Change were considering as a model for a national scheme.“
It should be noted that the EU Energy Efficiency Directive (agreed in June 2012 and required to be fully implemented by Spring 2014) includes an obligation on the central government estate to meet annual targets for building renovation – the majority of this will of course be in Whitehall (see page 16 of the recent DECC Energy Efficiency Strategy from 2012 for background).
March 2013: A paper presented at the most recent GLA Housing Investment Group meeting has set out of the opportunities and challenges in expanding the Mayor’s housing retrofit programme, RE:FIT under the new landscape of the Green Deal and ECO. The paper sets out a proposal for additional funding for 2013/14.
“This paper seeks approval to allocate up to £150,000 for interim support to deliver early Green Deal and Energy Company Obligation (ECO) projects through the existing RE:NEW framework.
“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.
“Response to this project has been very positive and currently there are over £10m of potential projects currently being reviewed which could be ready to tender in the next 3-6 months, with a further £77m of identified projects under review. The total pipeline includes over £950m worth of potential projects and over 100,000 dwellings.“
Additional information is available in Appendix A- RE:NEW project pipeline and Appendix B- Pipeline projects currently under review – status update
The process to identify projects was kicked off in a workshop at City Hall in December 2012: a great paper on Financing retrofit in London social housing by Verco was presented – and post workshop Verco have also prepared a summary of proceedings. Amongst the outputs the key points for future success in attracting funding for energy efficiency retrofit in the social housing sector included:
- Senior leadership buy-in (e.g. to overcome barriers)
- Economies of scale
- Get dedicated lead
- Accurate stock data
- Build relationships with suppliers and contractors ASAP
- Know your stock – to be able to negotiate
- Data – Tower Hamlets have a database of all properties in the borough (do surveys, get EPC data from DECC, not HEED – automatic calculation of Golden Rule) and;
- There are wide differences in the helpfulness of planners in different London boroughs – if planners are less cooperative, try a multi-prong approach via sustainability officers or ward councillors (!)
15 March 2013: Details have been released that funding has been approved by the Mayor for a energy efficiency programme targeted at London’s small and medium enterprises (SMEs). The approval form sets out that “up to £21,000 will be allocated to commission work to deliver energy efficiency retrofit services. The project seeks to develop SME engagement, improve knowledge of the SME retrofit landscape, and establish suitable financial and delivery models using learning gained from the RE:FIT and RE:NEW programmes, with work to be completed by end-March 2013″.
The Mayor’s 2011 energy strategy set out findings that:
- small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are reluctant to take action on installing energy efficiency measures and low and zero-carbon microgeneration technologies without seeing that government is taking action on it first (see para 2 or research here)
- There are currently over 830,000 SMEs in the capital and collectively SMEs emit 20 per cent of the UK’s total CO2 emissions. Due to their size, SMEs often do not have sufficient resources and expertise to allocate to energy management, and therefore require support and advice to reduce their energy use.
- However, it is also often hard to reach SMEs and much of the support or drivers through legislation and other programmes are geared towards large organisations (SME data can be found here and here)
And set out the following action:
- Action 8.5 – The Mayor will support SMEs to reduce their energy use by working with partners and using his programmes to signpost SMEs to existing sources of energy efficiency support. The Mayor will also review the provision of energy efficiency support to SMEs in London, identifying areas where further action is required, and developing support in areas where the Mayor can contribute to its quality, availability and accessibility.
“This work would directly feed into a paper submitted to the Housing Investment Group for approval of GLA funding and resources to deliver pilot projects in 2013-14, and develop a pan-London SME programme. It is currently anticipated that procurement for the full programme would be commenced from 2014, with a full roll-out from 2015 onwards.”
Hence any pan-London programme would, if approved, fully start under a new Mayor after the next London election.
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.’
February 2013: This month the Mayor has been asked questions in relation to:
the Mayor’s position on nuclear and its role in securing London’s future energy supplies; the number of ‘low carbon generators’ currently helping power Transport for London’; the Mayor’s application to DECC’s Fuel Poverty and Green Deal Pioneer Places funds; European Investment Bank (EIB) funding for energy efficiency retrofits in housing; the amount of energy consumed by The Shard; the potential for the Green Deal in London; further funding for the Mayor’s RE:NEW home energy efficiency programme; promoting the Green Deal to Londoners over-65; publication of the latest TfL Environment report; GLA environment publications; hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles; the number of fuel poverty households treated under RE:NEW; revised publication date of the RE:NEW evaluation report; the total number of homes treated under RE:NEW; funding and evaluation of the RE:CONNECT Low Carbon Zones programme; zero carbon developments on the Greenwich Penisula; the Mayor’s Low Carbon Prize; the RE:FIT Schools initiative; the number of jobs created under RE:FIT; progress on the LED traffic lights initiative.
Previous months questions to the Mayor can be found here.
January 2013: Mayoral announcement made last month stating that “Energy conservation measures are already complete or near completion in 111 public buildings in London. The pipeline shows that 400 buildings could benefit from the Mayor’s award-winning RE:FIT programme, saving the public purse in the region of £7 million each year”. Read the full news release here. Further information on the new framework adopted for the programme at www.refit.org.uk .
January 2013: The transcript of discussions at the last Mayoral Question time has just become available and includes a number of interesting comments by the Mayor on both fuel poverty and his domestic energy efficiency programme, RE:NEW:
4046/2012 – Fuel Poverty Murad Qureshi: Is fuel poverty getting worse in London?
Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): The blunt answer is yes; in my view fuel poverty in London is getting worse. There is a problem in London because the price of fuel is increasing at a faster rate than household income. We have an increasing problem and that is why the Know Your Rights campaign is so important, the retro fitting is so important to reduce people’s fuel costs. I also think that, as a city, we need to campaign against the fuel companies who are ripping off the consumer, and I have made representations, as you would expect, on that. I think we need to start thinking about security of supply in London, and indeed in the country generally.