Tag Archives: Lambeth

“The power revolution could soon be moving from dream to reality”

10 August 2016: Welcome to see the Evening Standard today include a major comment piece by Leo Johnson on how “Small-scale projects such as those in Newham, Brixton and Islington give a glimpse of Britain’s energy future”.

Leo highlights three projects in London as signs of how the decentralised energy model is now in the ascendancy, shifting from the “dominant energy model, the centralised production and distribution of fossil fuel-based power through the grid”.

  • “In Newham, for example, the Combined Heat and intelligent Power plant (CHiP) aims to harness the energy from “fatbergs”, the bus-size balls of grease which cost Thames Water an estimated £1 million a month to remove, using teams of trained “flushers” decked out with protective white suits and shovels who descend into London’s Victorian sewer system to hack up the fat. CHiP plans to use the fat instead to power 40,000 homes.” This project is fascinating and received a lot of coverage when first announced back in 2013 – which was covered in some detail in an earlier post here – but not much further information has been forthcoming from the project on their website.
  • “In Brixton, the energy group Repowering is installing solar panels on the rooftops of housing association buildings to lower fuel bills, and is teaming up with Transport for London to introduce “energy gardens” across 50 London Overground sites.” In June of this yearRepowering was awarded a prestigious Ashden Award for their work – a case study and excellent video are posted on the Ashden website here. The Energy Gardens project was covered by ITV news a few weeks ago – see video here – and more can be seen at energygarden.org.uk
  • “At the Bunhill Energy Centre project in Islington, whose second phase was opened by Mayor Sadiq Khan last month, they’re using heat from the Northern line tube to power a thousand homes.” Lots more about Bunhill here.

Leo also highlights some work commissioned by the GLA by  engineers Buro Happold “have estimated that there is enough heat wasted in London alone to power 70 per cent of the city’s energy needs. What’s the potential for growth? Copenhagen provides 98 per cent of its space and water heating through district heating, at 45 per cent of the cost of normal oil heating bills. London’s uptake, better than the one to two per cent national average, is currently just five per cent.”  The 2013 London Secondary Heat study can be downloaded here.

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RE:NEW retrofit case studies

August 2016: The GLA’s home energy efficiency retrofit programme, RE:NEW, has posted a series of case studies on their website. These include a range of projects including:

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SE24 Community Energy

14 September 2015: Encouraging to see Dulwich & West Norwood MP Helen Hayes raise in the House of Commons London community energy group, SE24, concerns over the government’s current Feed in Tariff consultation (in short “it is hard to see how any community energy group can continue on this basis”). Read more on SE24’s website here.

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British Gas data on energy efficiency retrofits in London

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.

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Brixton Energy on the Beeb

November 2013: The recent BBC London coverage of the Brixton Energy solar schemes can now be viewed on Youtube here.  The new piece includes interviews with Brixton Energy and Repowering London Director Agamemnon Otero and Labour Council Leader of Lambeth, Lib Peck.

Cllr Peck states in her interview that local authorites should be looking to work on similar projects in their own areas but it will be about the will of councils to say they want to make these projects happen and get rid of the challenges and obstacles.

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New VNEB District Heating Feasibility Study released

September 2013: Building on the November 2012 Vauxhall Nine Elms Battersea (VNEB) Energy Masterplan (7.8MB) (also see a previous post here on the earlier Opportunity Area Planning Framework for VNEB), a more detailed  District Heating Feasibility Study has now been prepared for Wandsworth borough council and has been published online on the London Heat Map website.

The Nov 2012 study set out that the “Vauxhall Nine Elms Battersea Opportunity Area (VNEB OA) includes some of the highest density, large-scale development anywhere in London. As such, it offers huge potential for the development of a coherent, low carbon energy supply system.”

Key recommendations at the time included:

  • To implement kick-start networks based around early loads in three locations, with routes identified as i. Lambeth ii. Central iii Battersea
  • To continue dialogue with the new US Embassy development to show that a district energy network could be developed with benefits for the area and the Embassy.
  • To open discussions to reinstate the hydraulic link to the Pimlico District Heating Undertaking Energy Centre – this is referring to a tunnel under the Thames which originally supplied waste heat from Battersea Power Station to the Pimlico District Heating system on the north side of the river (see more on this here and here).

Building on this the new 2013 District Heating Feasibility Study seeks to demonstrate the “commercial case both for individual developers and a centralised operator of a district heating network” examining opportunities for two potential heat network options “the developers’ non-networked approach (as expressed in individual site energy strategy documents)… Heat prices are then set to offer a fixed level of whole life cost benefit to developers connecting to the system. Second, the economic performance of heat delivery for the central scheme operator is demonstrated based on the heat prices identified from the developer perspective.”

Phasing of the build-out of the networks is considered alongwith an investment analysis of the different network options.  Key to the recommendations sets out on page of the report is identifying a “project champion’ within the delivery vehicle to provide impetus and encouragement to the private sector to participate in the scheme”.

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Energy and Climate Questions to the Mayor

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

How the Mayor’s programmes will respond to the forthcoming IPCC’s (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) 5th Assessment Report; the Mayor’s “climate sceptic views“; London’s growing energy demand; £145k spend on climate change adaptation;  the amount of energy generated from waste incineration; the number of GLA officers working on energy efficiency retrofit; the amount of ECO funding that could be directed to London; the operation of the RE:FIT schools energy efficiency programme in Harrow; the RE:FIT schools programme in Brent; Government’s proposed changes to building regulations and its potential impact on London Plan energy requirements; the Mayor’s response to DECC’s Community Energy – Call for Evidence; the Mayor’s support for community energy schemes in London – such as Brixton Energy; publication of the latest London Energy and Greenhouse Gas Inventory (LEGGI); the cost of producing Using Local Powers to Maximise Energy Efficiency Retrofit – How to’ materials for London’? (report here); the terms of loans provided by the London Energy Efficiency Fund (LEEF); extending LEEF loans to the private sector; details of the LEEF Advisory Committee; consultancy companies working on LEEF; the amount spent by LEEF; the number of loans given out by LEEF; rollover energy contracts for SMEs; Londoners energy bills; the amount of renewable electricity provided by Source London electric vehicle charging points; funds previously spent on adding energy efficiency measures to Metropolitan Police buildings currently for sale; developing a Fuel Poverty Action Plan for London; the supply of electricity to London’s electric vehicle charging points; the supply of electricity to London Underground; London Green Deal targets; a London Green Roofs map; the Mayor’s Green Deal assessment on his home; stimulating Green Deal finance packages; spend of the Green Bus Fund; funding received from the Green Bus Fund; identifying brownfield land in London suitable for sustainable energy projects; CO2 savings achieved by the Mayor’s climate change programmes; potential for the London Pension Fund Authority to invest in low carbon energy projects; when the next update to the Mayor’s Climate Change Adaptation Strategy is to be published; how climate change will affect London’s summer temperatures; new anaerobic digestion plant in Surrey; the level of waste being directed to the Beddington incinerator; the London Plan’s policies on incineration; the Mayor’s approval of the Beddington incinerator; if the Mayor had pressed for the Beddington project to develop as a anaerobic digestion plant; if the Beddington incinerator can operate in combined heat and power (CHP) mode; heat network around the Beddington incinerator; the growth of waste incineration in London to 2016; the role for future incineration in London; local planning controls and fracking; the fracking potential in London; details of the new RE:NEW domestic energy efficiency programme; targets for the new RE:NEW programme; the choice of the Capita Group to manage the new RE:NEW programme; GLA buildings that have been treated by the RE:FIT programme; whether the Mayor’s Environment advisor had visited the Kings Cross CHP and district heating scheme.

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Mayor’s Energy Advisor Visits Brixton Energy

September 2013: It seems the Brixton Energy Solar (BES) projects are the place to be seen! Following visits from Labour Shadow Energy Minister Luciana Berger back in 2012, and a joint visit by the Secretary of State for Energy and the Minister for Energy (Ed Davey MP and Greg Barker MP respectively) earlier this summer, where the Government’s Community Energy Call for Evidence paper was launched, the Mayor’s Energy & Environment Advisor Matthew Pencharz paid a visit to the team and project in August.

Flagging Matthew on the left and right are BES Directors Agamemnon Otero and Andre Pinho.

PS … And good to see Labour Shadow Secretary of State for Business – and Streatham MP – Chuka Umuna visiting the Brixton site on 13 September alongside Imogen Walker, Lambeth’s cabinet member for Environment & Sustainability & Labour councillor for Stockwell. It will be interesting to see what – if anything! – these high profile visitors can do to help support the growth of community-led energy schemes in London…

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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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Brixton Energy Solar 3 is go!

June 2013: Brixton Energy have just sent out an update (copied below) on the launch of their third community-led photovoltaic development, which was attended by Secretary of State for Energy Ed Davey, and Energy Minister Greg Barker (in photo below).
The launch of Brixton Energy Solar
“After months of hard work by the team at Repowering London and Brixton Energy’s committed volunteers, we are delighted to announce the launch of Brixton Energy Solar 3. The solar panels for Brixton Energy Solar 3 will be installed on four buildings on Brixton Hill within the Roupell Park Estate: Hyperion House, Fairview House, Warnham House and the Community Office.

How is Brixton Energy Solar 3 even better?

  • We have involved young people from the estate with paid work experience from the very beginning. They have been doing everything from knocking on doors carrying out surveys, to learning about energy efficiency and how to make solar panels. With your support, they will now be installing solar panels on their estate!
  • The returns on this project are even higher! We project an annual return of around 4% (in addition to the the 50% tax relief received via SEIS) for Brixton Energy Solar 3, as we will be using more energy onsite. That’s great for Roupell Park too, as more of the buildings will now be powered by clean renewable energy. We will also be generating more money for our unique Community Energy Efficiency Fund.
  • More clean electricity! The combined array for Brixton Energy Solar 3 will have 52.5kW installed capacity and is expected to save approximately 22 tonnes of CO2 every year.
  • Even more people can now get involved and take ownership of renewable energy. To support this, we have reduced the minimum investment to £50 for residents of the Roupell Park estate.
  • It’s now even easier and quickier to purchase your shares! Just go to http://www.repowering.org.uk/projects/roupell-park, fill out your details and you’re done.

So please download the share offerbuy shares in Brixton Energy Solar 3 today and spread the word by forwarding this email to your friends!”

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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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Brixton Energy and the Future of Community Energy Schemes

January 2013: Labour’s Shadow Energy Minister, Luciana Berger MP, recently visited the team at Brixton Energy to see the excellent work undertaken there in developing a community-led PV project. The scheme has been getting a lot of attention and was raised during a recent House of Commons debate on the Energy Bill, where it was refrenced as the kind of community energy initiative the Bill should be supporting – something which it is sorely lacking to do so at the moment.

The issue of the Energy Bill and community energy schemes – and the forthcoming Government Community Energy Strategy – was picked up again during the committee stage oral evidence sessions last week, with the Secretary of State being quizzed by another Labour Shadow Energy Minister, Tom Greatrex:

“Q 37 Tom Greatrex:  I would like to ask the Secretary of State about community energy projects, because he has talked in the past about wanting to foster a community energy revolution. Will he explain why, contrary to the Select Committee’s report and other representations, he decided against increasing the threshold for the small-scale feed-in tariff above 5 MW?

Mr Davey: I know that there has been a lot of focusing on that. I would say first that community energy strategy is far wider, richer and deeper than simply that particular issue, although I know the Select Committee paid a lot of attention to it. Mr Barker and I will be publishing a consultation paper on a community energy strategy in March—I think that is the current working timetable. Mr Barker will correct me if I am wrong, but I think that we are working to March.

The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Gregory Barker)  indicated assent.

Mr Davey: Yes. We would then hope to finalise that community energy strategy before the summer recess, or it might end up going into the autumn. The community energy strategy will cover many more issues than the one that you have identified.

Q 38 Tom Greatrex:  This strategy will be after the Bill, though, so the opportunity to increase that threshold, if that were an appropriate thing to do, is therefore lost.

Mr Davey: The Bill is before the Committee. Of course, we keep those things under review, but let us be clear that the Bill’s major focus is not on community energy. It is about many other things, as we have been discussing. As you will be aware, community energy does not have to go into this Bill. As I have said, it goes much broader than the particular point that you are focusing on, important though that is.

Q 39 Tom Greatrex:  But the thresholds for where the small-scale tariff and the contract for difference come in are in the Bill, are they not?

Mr Davey: Let us be clear. In our discussions on that, the vast majority of community energy schemes that we are seeing are below that threshold.

Q 40 Tom Greatrex:  Because that is what the threshold is. That is why they are below it. It does not follow that they would not be—

The Chair:  Just let him answer the question.

Mr Davey: To invest in bigger schemes than that, you need quite a significant amount of money. You are talking about several more millions than most of the communities will be putting in. When you get to that size of scheme, there is a question mark about how much of a community scheme it remains. There is no science here. I cannot say absolutely that that is the right threshold. There is a legitimate debate to be had about it. I am not pretending that there is not a legitimate debate, but one can slightly over-egg the pudding and not see the overall picture of what we are trying to achieve with community energy.”

Though the Minister is right with respect to London -that we have not as yet seen community-led schemes of the MW size/millions investment – there are however such projects now going ahead elsewhere in the country which are likely to be the pathfinder schemes for other similar initiatives – including ones hopefully in the capital. An excellent scheme worth mentioning is the West Mill Solar Co-op, recently launched in Oxfordshire, which is spread over 30 acres with more than 20,000 solar panels!

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