Tag Archives: Green Deal

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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Green Deal Survey Output

25 June 2013: Ahead of Thursday’s (27th) release from DECC of their first detailed quarterly Green Deal statistics, which should include information on the take-up of Green Deal in London, the department have issued a press release highlighting findings from two Green Deal surveys.

Some findings from the Household Tracker Survey include:

  • In Wave 1, which was conducted prior to the official launch of the scheme, awareness stood at 10%. This increased significantly to 19% in Wave 2 and increased further to 22% in the May dip.
  • Despite the increase in Quality Mark recognition there was no increase in the level of reassurance offered by it.
  • The levels of claimed solid wall insulation and loft insulation were considerably higher than DECC’s own estimates, which are derived from official insulation statistics and robust evidence from the English Household Survey. These discrepancies are important as they suggest that there is a lack of awareness and understanding about different types of energy saving improvements which could affect take up of improvements offered under the Green Deal scheme.

Points of interest from the Green Deal Assessment Survey Report include:

  • Paying for an assessment: 85% of respondents said they did not pay for an assessment, with 59% saying the assessor company did not charge a fee and 26% saying it was paid for by a landlord, local authority or other organisation. Eight per cent paid for their assessment in full. [page 10 sets out why so many assessments were at no charge – which is mostly down to incentives being offered by Government earlier this year through the Green Deal Pioneer Places programmes to local authorities]
  • Overall, 64% said they would recommend a Green Deal assessment to a friend.
  • The data tables for the survey highlight that respondents to the questionnaire comprised 83% ‘Owner occupier’; 5% ‘Private rented’  and 12% ‘Social housing’.

Disappointingly, there doesn’t appear to be any breakdown of responses by region – and hence no data on whether assessments/recognition of the Green Deal are stronger in one part of the country than another, and why this might be happening.

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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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Fake Green Deal advisors

3 June 2013: The Haringey Independent reports that the local council have issued a warning to residents as it has been reported that “fake Green Deal advisors [are] coming door-to-door touting for business in the area. In some cases, callers claimed to be working on behalf of the council and tried to enter people’s homes to carry out assessments. They then pressured people to commit to having energy efficiency works carried out.” Full story here and Haringey Council news release here.

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A Haringey Green Deal Diary

April 2013: Great blog of a Green Deal ‘journey’ by sustainability expert Sofie Pelsmakers. Sofie started the process with a free Green Deal energy assessment offered to residents and business in Haringey (which is funded through DECC’s recently Green Deal Pioneer Places funding).  These free assessments are still on offer with the deadline recently extended to 30 April – more here.

Having had her assessment finalised – Sofie appears now to be struggling to secure Green Finance:

DECC issued their latest Green Deal and ECO monthly statistics last week with Greg Barker stating that “It is clearly very early days but the latest figures on the Green Deal show that this new market is gathering real momentum. 9,268 Green Deal assessments taking place in just over two months is very encouraging and shows a genuine interest from consumers.

The statistics do not however provide a breakdown of how many of these assessments came out of activities through the  Energy Company Obligation (ECO) process rather than directly as a result of households taking up the Green Deal. Additionally, the Green Deal Finance Company have stated that it is “yet to sign its first Green Deal Plan with a householder, but suggested it would not be long before it did. “There is one good to go and we are reviewing two others””.

Green Deal statistics for London will be available from DECC in June.

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Energy and Climate Questions to the Mayor

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

the number of applications to the London Energy Efficiency Fund; the Mayor’s correspondence with DECC on the ECO;  fuel poverty and health; Details of decentralised energy schemes being supported by the Mayor; visits to Brixton Energy Solar projects; energy efficiency targets in the Mayor’s London Rental Standard; fuel poor families in London – and RE:NEW delivery in the private rented sector; the Mayor’s work to plug the energy gapprogress under the RE:FIT programme in London boroughs; the level of Green Deal activity in London; Is the GLA a Green Deal provider; plans in place to spend the £5,627,342 DECC Green Deal and Fuel Poverty funding to the GLA; 2013/14 funding to the RE:FIT programme; evaluation of the RE:FIT programme;
RE:CONNECT programme budget for 2013/14; Better Building Partneship programme budget for 2013/14/; events attended by the Mayor’s Environment Advisor; Bunhill CHP scheme; attendance at the High Level Electricity Working Group; and participation on environmental issues on the Talk London website.

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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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Supporting the Green Deal in Social Housing

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 (!)
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Green Deal Workshop for Lewisham SMEs

March 2013:  Lewisham Council is holding a free Green Deal Workshop local for SMEs  at Lewisham Town Hall on Thursday 28th March.

The morning’s agenda and places for workshop can be booked here. Details of how to become a Green Deal can be found on DECC’s website here.

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