Tag Archives: Mayor

The future of RE:FIT?

July 2016: Following a win by the RE:FIT scheme at the prestigious Ashden Awards last month, an interesting article in BusinessGreen asks whether the scheme will continue under the new Mayor:

“Mayor Khan has promised action on energy efficiency through building standards and his proposed Energy for Londoners not for profit company. But with the Mayor’s Office yet to choose an environment appointee and currently reviewing all ongoing programs, it was unable at time of writing to provide BusinessGreen with any details about future plans for the RE:FIT scheme.”

However, a recent MQ response from the Mayor seems to set the issue to rest for now with the Mayor not only stating that the programme will continue, but will need to be ramped up:

Tony Devenish

Do you intend to continue with the GLA’s RE:FIT and RE:NEW energy efficiency programmes? How effective do you understand the programmes have been?

The Mayor

I intend to continue with homes and buildings retrofit programmes. But to achieve my ambitious target of becoming a zero carbon city by 2050 we will need to rapidly increase the pace of retrofitting, so I am currently exploring what more can be done.

Much more can be seen on RE:FIT on the GLA website

Posted in Energy Efficiency, News | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

New GLA DE support programme announced

February 2016:  The Greater London Authority (GLA) has asked me to post the following online: “a new opportunity for interested contractors to be part of a new framework on Decentralised Energy (DE). The Mayor of London has set a target to meet 25% of London’s energy supply from DE by 2025. The DE Capacity Study (GLA, 2011) confirmed this target as being achievable based on both renewable and low carbon energy sources and that it represented an £8 billion investment opportunity.

The development of DE projects through the various phases to market requires significant resource and a diverse set of skills, knowledge and expertise. These elements combined with the risk profile of the project development phase act as real barriers for both public and private sector organisations.

Since 2011 the GLA has been supporting others to identify and implement DE projects through various programmes. Energy for London will be delivered by the GLA and will procure and direct technical, commercial, financial and other advisory and support services to help others develop, procure and bring into operation larger-scale DE schemes that deliver significant CO2 reductions at market-competitive prices.

Please take a look at the Prior Information Notice, which has just been issued and is available here.” Hmm… – the GLA have decided to call this initiative Energy for London…

Posted in Decentralised Energy, News | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Timeline for License Lite

June 2014: Progress continues by the Mayor to obtain a junior electricity supply license – otherwise known as ‘license lite’. A tender was issued in March to start the process of attracting support from a fully licensed electricity supplier to help with the Mayor’s application to Ofgem (details here) and further information was issued by the Mayor in a recent press release ‘Mayor to become London’s smallest electricity supplier‘ which stated that “The ground-breaking move will permit him to offer the capital’s small electricity producers up to 30 per cent more for their excess energy than existing suppliers do, which he will then sell on to TfL, the Met and others at cost price.” The Mayor’s announcement attracted significant media interest including this piece in the Guardian,

A very good paper presented at the GLA’s Investment & Performance Board last week provides some further detail on issues that need to be considered as the ‘License Lite’ process progresses. The paper highlights that:

  • A principal risk remains timing because the type of licence application is new to all parties and therefore timing remains difficult to predict.
  • There is strong government support for the Mayor’s Licence Lite project. In May 2014 Matthew Pencharz and a GLA officer attended a round table discussion on licence lite chaired by the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Ed Davey to discuss progress of licence lite.
  • A detailed draft economic model has been prepared in consultation with Transport for London, with whom discussions are in train for the purchase by it of electricity supplied from decentralised energy systems by the GLA under its licence.
  • The financial outcome of the model is positive, but cannot be confirmed until tenders for the provision of the market services have been received from tenderers who have responded to the preliminary questionnaire during August of this year.
  • Selected London boroughs have been briefed and provisionally identified the electricity capacity best sold under licence lite, together with other suitable public sector electricity generating capacity in London.
  • The objective is for submission for a Mayoral Decision to approve the grant of the licence to the GLA by Ofgem and to approve entering into the necessary contracts to enable the project to proceed to completion in October 2014. Subject to that, the licence may be granted to the GLA in November 2014, operations commencing in April 2015.

Posted in Decentralised Energy, News | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Mayor starts process to become an electricity supplier

March 2014: As part of its ambition to be a ‘junior’ or ‘license lite’ electricity supplier, the GLA last week released a tender advert seeking the “provision of Electricity Market Services to an Applicant for a UK Electricity Supply Licence Services to the Greater London Authority (GLA).”

Under rules Ofgem issued in 2009 [and after a two year process (see para 3.59 (p99) of the 2007 Energy White Paper which kick started this activity!)] , Ofgem introduced additional licensing options to make it easier for small energy companies including decentralised energy schemes to operate as a licensed supplier on the public network. The key element of making a  ‘license lite’ supplier’s business  ‘easier’ is by releasing them from having to engage in a series of  complex electricity industry supply codes and actions (such as the Balancing & Settlement Code (BSC), data transfers, settlement, being party to the Master Registration Agreement (MRA), and being signed to the Grid Code and the Connection and Use of System Code (CUSC) – and more!)

However, the rules set by Ofgem still require the license lite supplier to have arrangements in place with a fully licensed third party, who is able to deal with these codes and action, and who can act on behalf of the license lite supplier to ensure that it is fully operating  under the rules of the electricity market. The tender released by the GLA is seeking to establish a relationship with a ‘third party full licensed supplier’ for these services. The key question to this whole process has always been  ‘what is the benefit to the third party – who has invested in complying with all these codes and actions – of offering these services to a license lite supplier’? The GLA tender is seeking to address this key issue and see if there is in fact any appetite in the market for a fully licensed supplier to offer these services to what is in effect a potential competitor.

Interestingly, the Mayor’s energy advisor, Matthew Pencharz, stated during an evidence session to the London Assembly Environment Committee earlier this week, that two companies have already expressed an interest in the tender to the GLA.

Some limited further details are posted on the TfL website here (TfL undertake tender work on behalf of the GLA)  – in the PQQ document under section 1.4.

“TfL is seeking tenders on behalf of the GLA for the provision of electricity market services as described below.

The GLA requires electricity market services to support an application for a GB electricity supply licence by the GLA under proposals of the UK Office of Gas and Electricity Markets Authority of 6th February 2009 entitled – ‘Distributed Energy – Final Proposals and Statutory Notice for Electricity Supply Licence Modification (Ref: 08 / 09).

Under Ofgem’s proposals, Ofgem may enable an applicant for an electricity supply licence (in this case the GLA) to be granted a licence without the applicant needing to become a party to the Balancing and Settlement Code and Master Registration Agreement and other codes, providing the licence applicant has presented a realistic implementation plan for robust alternative arrangements with another licensed electricity supplier to provide services, to enable the electricity market to function without the GLA being a party to the relevant codes.

The GLA is seeking parties interested in providing or securing the provision of robust and cost effective alternative arrangements from a licensed electricity supplier that will satisfy these requirements of Ofgem.”

Why do all of this? The GLA’s ambition is to purchase decentralised energy systems exported low carbon electricity (mostly from CHP plants in London) and then sell this output to a single consumer – London Underground (one of the biggest electricity users in the UK) – passing more of the value of this purchased electricity back to the generator than is currently the case (estimated at between 10-20 per cent more according the Mayor’s energy advisor), helping improve the business case for more low carbon generation plant in London.

Further background to GLA’s work in this area can be found here.

Posted in Decentralised Energy, News | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

GLA responds to Heat Enquiry

November 2013: The House of Commons Energy and Climate Change Select Committee is currently undertaking an enquiry into Heat. The terms of reference to the enquiry states that “so far much of government’s energy policy focus has been on low-carbon electricity generation (in particular, the Energy Bill, which aims to reform the electricity market).  Yet heat is responsible for 46% of UK energy use, approximately a third of UK greenhouse gas emissions, and is a major cost in both the domestic and non-domestic sectors.”

The Greater London Authority (GLA) has submitted written evidence to the Committee outlining the significant decentralised energy programme underway in the capital. The evidence sets out a number of interesting points related to the wider scale deployment of heat networks as well as recommendations to Government in terms of its policies to promote decentralised generation. These include:

  • The Mayor welcomes the Committee’s scrutiny of this often over-looked area of energy policy
  • There are “inconsistencies in government’s energy policy and regulatory regime that are preventing heat generation and distribution in citieswhich “…distort the market for heat by providing external financial support for some technologies, while largely ignoring heat networks.
  • Heat network deployment at the scale envisaged for London represents a significant infrastructural challenge, requiring approximately 3,600km of heat networks to be constructed by 2030 and equates to an investment opportunity of approximately £6bn
  • Whilst district heating schemes can qualify for funding under ECO, the current two year target as well as uncertainty regarding longer-term target discourage energy suppliers from investing in these schemes.  Government should consider setting longer term targets for the next phases of ECO, or provide guidance on how investment in district heating schemes can contribute to current or future targets
  • We estimate that London housing development will generate at the very least £25m per annum under the proposed Allowable Solutions regime – by far the greatest amount of any region. Yet, because measures are likely to be cheaper outside London, London businesses and households will again be subsidising other regions and receiving less investment into low carbon, heating bill reducing measures. In addition, as Allowable Solutions investment is likely to lever ECO investment, there is a risk that the proposed scheme will exacerbate the imbalance in ECO investment away from London.

The Committee’s evidence gathering process continues in November – more of which can be found here.

Posted in Decentralised Energy, News | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

When Boris met Ed…

October 2013:  In the most recent of his weekly columns in the Daily Telegraph, the Mayor relates a story of a meeting he had with Labour leader Ed Miliband a few years ago, when Ed was the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change. The Mayor’s account is in part a response to the announcement Mr Miliband made at last week’s Labour Party Conference that, if Labour were to come into government after the 2015 general election, they would enact a 18 month ‘energy price freeze’ on energy company tariffs.

The Mayor account prove interesting reading: “I don’t think I have ever told you about my last official meeting with Ed Miliband. I must have somehow blanked it out, as one of those experiences that is just too harrowing to relate. It took place a few years ago, and my City Hall team was very excited in the run-up. We had an absolute corker of a plan, you see. We had the spreadsheets, the data, the options – and all we really needed was for Government to get behind it, and make sure that London got its fair share of the funding.

“We were going to launch a huge drive to improve the energy efficiency in the capital’s homes. We were going to hit all sorts of nails pretty smartly on the head: we were going to cut CO₂ emissions, and thereby stop the polar bears from plopping off the ice floes. We were going to cut NO₂ emissions from our noisome old boilers, and so improve air quality. We were going to help get thousands of people into work as retro-fitters – people who went around helping to insulate homes.

“As I told my team during the preparations, Britain might be lagging in some respects, but once our programme was under way we would certainly not be lagging in lagging. Above all, we were going to achieve the number one objective of the scheme: we were going to help cut the cost of heating people’s homes and help stabilise fuel bills.

“I was interested in the plan as a way of helping the planet and helping people in tough times. As for Ed – well, it was, frankly, a bit disheartening. He wasn’t remotely interested. He didn’t want to talk about retro-fitting and, as I gabbled away about a new legion of “boiler bunnies” bouncing up to your door, I was aware that a deep tranquillity had settled on the minister.

“He didn’t want to talk about cutting the cost of living. He just wanted to trade jokes about the forthcoming general election; and as one of my team put it later: “He was only vaguely in command of his brief and had no interest in achieving anything.” We wrote a long and optimistic follow-up letter, hoping that perhaps he had been taking it in. Nada. Not a peep.”

It would be great to read a response from the Labour leader of his account of this meeting…but it seems unlikely that one will be forthcoming anytime soon. It is true that national governments – of all political persuasions – have neglected to provide the tools to London-government to exploit in full its carbon-saving and sustainable energy potential. And a recent letter from the Secretary of State for Energy to the Mayor suggests a similar indifference continues today…

Posted in Energy Efficiency, News | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Mayor’s concerns over London’s future electricity supply – correspondence with Ed Davey

September 2013:  The Mayor’s concerns over “uncertainties of our energy supply and growing chances of supply disruption in the coming years” have been highlighted in correspondence between Boris Johnson and Ed Davey, the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Ed Davey,  released this week.

The Mayor writes that his “priority is delivering the jobs and growth that will ensure London remains the best big city in the world in which we live, work and invest, and having a secure energy supply will be absolutely crucial to achieving this… I am adamant that we must do everything in our power now to ensure that the lights will stay on in the future.”

The Mayor calls for major changes to the regulatory control framework rules for distribution network operators (DNOs). As these are predominantly monopoly businesses, the operating framework is set by energy regulator Ofgem. DNOs are the companies operating the local electricity grid (as opposed to the higher voltage ‘national transmission grid’) and in London the majority of the distribution network is managed by UK Power Networks and parts of west London by Scottish & Southern Energy. The Mayor letter calls for a “urgent review of the currently regulatory regime to ensure that DNOs are able to invest in energy infrastructure and install capacity ahead of need”.

The Mayor highlights problems with current legislation and – interestinglypoints to “the way Ofgem interprets and exercises its regulatory functions [which] are not fit for purpose” and finally calls upon the Secretary of State for ideas on how to give “DNOs in London substantially more scope and flexibility to reduce the level of network stress and improve strategic investment in London’s electricity infrastructure.”

In response to the tightening of electricity supply capacity over the next few years Ed Davey refers to possible extensions to existing balancing services operated by National Grid and in the “medium term …steps to ensure sufficient investment in capacity via the Capacity Market, with the first auction taking place in 2014 for 2018/19 delivery.”

On the issue often brought up by businesses – the speed of installing electricity connections to new users – the Minster’s letter touches upon current Ofgem work to set the new electricity distribution price control (called RIIO ED1) and sets out that “the existing framework provides the flexibility to drive efficiency outcomes in the vast majority of cases.”

The Mayor’s correspondence with Ed Davey is set out in Appendix 6a of the following GLA document.

The Mayor has established a ‘High Level Electricity Working Group’ to look at many of the issues raised above and minutes and papers from the three meetings that have taken place to date of this group can be found here. A further recent paper looking at London’s electricity infrastructure  by the London Infrastructure Group can be viewed here.

Posted in News | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

“The Mayor’s promise of clean and cheap energy from fracking is ‘fool’s gold’”

16 September 2013: News release from London Assembly member, Jenny Jones of the Green Party, in response to the Mayor’s article in The Sun this weekend, which called on  Government to accelerate the use of new nuclear power and exploiting shale gas resources via fracking. Ms Jones release ‘The Mayor’s promise of clean and cheap energy from fracking is ‘fool’s gold'” states:

“Instead of putting enough resources into measures such as home insulation that will cut our energy demand, and into renewables such as wind turbines, the Mayor is gambling our future by backing risky technologies such as nuclear and fracking.”

A further response has been posted by online news journal Carbon Brief. Echoing comments in the earlier post on this site on the timeframe to bring in new nuclear and fracking sites, Carbon Brief provides a detailed response to the Mayor’s vision setting out that Boris’s energy policy quick fix will take a decade to kick in“.

Posted in News | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Boris sets out his support for both nuclear & fracking

15 September 2013: The Mayor has decided to set forth his views on UK energy policy in the national press once again. After writing to The Times back in July (see below), Boris has now penned a piece for The Sun (behind paywall…but fortunately reported elsewhere), where he states that: “the country needs to ‘grow some collective cojones and launch the nuclear energy programme that this country has too long delayed… Next, we must stop pussy-footing around, and get fracking. Even if we have 100s of fracking pads, they are nothing like as ugly as windmills, and they can be dismantled as soon as the gas is extracted.”

The Mayor continues in a similar vein in the article (also reported here ‘Boris on our ‘pathetic apology’ for an energy policy‘) railing against wind turbines – echoing views from a radio interview he undertook on LBC earlier this year (Wind farms couldn’t pull the skin off a rice pudding, says Boris Johnson).

Boris has previously used his weekly Daily Telegraph column to champion gas fracking (Ignore the doom merchants, Britain should get fracking) and much of the commentary for The Sun article was previously set out in a letter the Mayor sent to the The Times a few months ago:

” Sir, Many people have not yet woken up to the reality that the population of London is now growing faster than any city in Europe. As I make clear in our 2020 Vision, this demographic explosion is placing huge demands on our infrastructure — including power generation. It is a tragic comment on Labour’s failure to plan ahead that in only two years our electricity capacity headroom (the difference between demand and supply) will be down to 2 per cent. We will have to ask some of our more energy-intensive industries not to operate at peak times, the kind of policy we last saw in the 1970s. It is time for maximum boldness in energy supply. I fully support the Government’s drive for nuclear power, and if reserves of shale can be exploited in London we should leave no stone unturned, or unfracked, in the cause of keeping the lights on.
Boris Johnson Mayor of London” July 2 2013

That letter was a response to energy regulator Ofgem’s capacity report which set out that “electricity supplies are set to tighten faster than previously expected in the middle of this decade”. Energy security appears to have become a greater concern to the Mayor since raised by London businesses, and has led to the establishment of a London ‘High Level Electricity Working Group‘ coordinated by the GLA.

Whilst security of energy supply issues are a real concern, the Mayor’s choice of solutions are of no real help at all. Nuclear negotiations have stalled over the past year, and even if agreement were reached today, the first power produced by a new nuclear plant is the best part of a decade away – well after the 2015 capacity concerns. Discussions around shale gas have become increasingly polarised: whatever the final outcome, it is unlikely that fracked gas will have any significant role to play in the nation’s energy mix for some time.

Posted in News, Renewable Energy | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

“It’s not the Met Office’s fault Boris”

June 2013: As expected, there has been some response to the Mayor’s ramblings on climate change prediction, made earlier this week in his Daily Telegraph column. Somewhat unexpectedly however, some much needed sense and science has been provided by Tom Chivers, a columnist also on the Daily Telegraph! Read It’s not the Met Office’s fault if you wasted money on a swimming pool, Boris’ here. It’s a gentle response…a little less so that Greenpeace who say “let’s be completely clear – Boris is deliberately lying to Telegraph readers.” Shadow Secretary of State for Energy Caroline Flint MP also picked up on the Mayor’s article stating“It is a distraction from the main debate, when we have Conservatives like Boris Johnson saying ‘ditch our climate change targets’ – or that’s what they seem to be saying – because it doesn’t take us forward”.

The Mayor has recently announced that he will be updating his Climate Change Mitigation and Energy Strategy this summer: from the following statement, it doesn’t appear that he will be addressing the issue of sunspot activity and climate change, an issue that exercised the Mayor earlier this year, but perhaps he will take the Met Office to task over their predictions..? The Met Office have regularly had to respond to correct media reports on climate change – see here: however, it doesn’t appear they felt necessary to respond to the Mayor on this occasion.

Posted in News | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Mayor announces 2013 Low Carbon Prize

14 June 2013: The Mayor presented £20,000 to the winners of this year’s Low Carbon Prize, William Hines and Rachel Clemo, both students at UCL. The press release highlights that the winning entry “‘Reseed’, is an idea to remove the need for paper receipts and allow users to access their receipts online using their smartphones. Receipts are costly to produce, easy to lose, and add to consumer waste, so the new system would save money for retailers who would be encouraged to donate a percentage of their savings towards planting more trees. The students receive not only the title of winners of the Mayor’s Low Carbon Prize but the opportunity to turn their idea into a commercial reality with cash and practical support.”

A full list of runners up can be seen here. Many congratulations to the winners William Hines and Rachel Clemo – further information on their initiative can be found at reseed.co.uk

Posted in News | Tagged , | Leave a comment

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.

Posted in Energy Efficiency, News | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment