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Tag Archives: Mayor
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“.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
June 2013: The Mayor has set out priorities for the capital over the following decade in a new publication 2020 Vision – The Greatest City on Earth:Ambitions for London. Examples of some of the challenges highlighted in the accompanying press release include that “London’s population will hit ten million by 2030. London also needs 400,000 new homes in the next ten years alone.”
Despite the Mayor stating in the report that “The country as a whole is facing an energy crisis” (see below), disappointingly, across the 84 pages of the report, little is said in relation to practical measures the Mayor will undertake in helping secure London’s energy requirements to 2020 and beyond. There is also no specific reference at all to climate change in the report or how the capital may need to adapt to changed weather patterns. The ‘Securing our Energy Supplies’ section (p44) sets out many of the problems – but few future actions:
“New homes and new transport links will put pressure on other forms of infrastructure, notably water, sewage and energy. The country as a whole is facing an energy crisis, as nuclear power stations reach the end of their lives and as coal fired stations are closed to comply with EU regulations.
For too long London has been reliant solely on the National Grid and we need six new £40m substations urgently. It is time to take much bolder steps towards self-sufficiency. We are reducing wasted energy – retrofitting tens of thousands of buildings and helping to reduce fuel bills.
London’s CO2 emissions have actually fallen by 13.7 per cent since 2000, and are now back at 1990 levels. Our retrofitting schemes have so far improved the efficiency of 111 public buildings and 82,000 homes.
By 2020 we must have in hand a project to retrofit every badly insulated home in the city, and every badly insulated office -not just to save energy, save CO2 but to save Londoners’money in tough economic times. As they have discovered in Germany, these retrofitting schemes can be formidable creators of employment.
A building the size of the Shard can use as much electricity as Colchester – and so we need to meet London’s energy needs as independently as possible. By 2025 we intend to supply 25 per cent of the city’s power from decentralised energy generation within London itself – and it is clearly right that these plants should run, as far as possible, on renewable fuels.
It is a little known fact that TfL has its own power station in Greenwich, and we are now working with the private sector to convert that station to provide heat and power from low carbon energy sources; and this could be the first of many.” (for more on this see here and here)
There is, not surprisingly, a strong emphasis on the creation of new jobs for Londoners running as major thread through the report. The Mayor has previously highlighted the opportunity presented to London through the adoption of low carbon programmes – a 2011 study for the Mayor suggesting up to 14,000 jobs could be created. Boris’s 2012 Mayoral election manifesto stated that 4,300 ‘green’ jobs could be created through his retrofitting and decentralised energy programmes alone. Despite the mention in the report (see above) on how Germany has managed to boost employment by adopting major energy efficiency retrofit schemes, though there are 55 references to jobs in the ‘2020 Vision’ document, there is no single specific mention to how ‘green jobs’ will be further promoted.
Finally, the odd factlet stated in the report comparing the electricity use in Colchester to The Shard (see above) was first used in a column the Mayor wrote in the Daily Telegraph in December 2012…and was disputed soon after.
June 2013: The GLA’s Environment Programme budget for 2013-14 has recently been approved by the Mayor, setting out a total spend of £946,000 to support the delivery of the GLA’s environment policy and programmes. The approval form sets out in detail priorities being focussed on across the environment programme, but listed below are those actions specifically related to energy and climate:
- £100,000 to fund consultancy support for Energy Assessments: The London Plan sets out a requirement for developers to submit an energy assessment as part of their planning application.The Environment Team appraises at least 300 applications per year and requires part time expert consultancy support to assist on some highly technical issues. More on this here.
- £125,000 for the preparation of the London Energy & Greenhouse Gases Inventory (LEGGI) and London Atmospheric Emissions Inventory (LAEI) which provide baseline information on London energy use, greenhouse gas and air pollutant emissions.
- £30,000 for a CHP in social housing study. This research will help demonstrate the commercial viability of Combined Heat and Power schemes in social housing over the installation of individual boilers and support the application of the energy hierarchy in the London Plan.
- Guidance for developers on revised Building Regulations. The review of Part L of Buildings Regulations will lead to revised standards for new buildings coming into effect in October 2013. This study will recalibrate the standards in the London Plan (Policy 5.2 – see page 141) and provide guidance to the London Plan team and developers.
- £30,000 to London Climate Change Partnership (LCCP) to undertake 3 projects: a) working with commercial landlords to reduce climate risks to the premises and tenants, b) working with social housing landlords in 4 boroughs to reduce overheating risks, c) undertaking a scoping study to define and increase the ‘adaptation economy’.
- £30,000 for Hydrogen London – The Hydrogen London 2013-2014 programme will deliver the Mayor’s vision of London as a global centre of hydrogen and fuel cell activity, services and early adopter of these technologies.
- £10,000 to review London’s CO2 emissions from waste – including to monitoring CO2 emissions from municipal waste management and reviewing CO2 metrics for waste (for previous work on this issue by the GLA see the following links here and here)
- £160,000 to retrofitting London – £110k will support the development of interventions with London Councils and the boroughs to remove barriers to delivery of energy efficiency. These include guidance for conservation areas and areas with a high density of listed buildings; procurement and analysis of energy performance certificate (EPC) data to enable the targeted identification of properties, quantification of the impact of emerging energy legislation and build the investment case for increasing the ‘success rate’ for delivery of measures. £50k will support the development of delivery models to maximise engagement to increase uptake in the private rented and owner occupied sectors (70 per cent of London’s housing stock).
- £66,000 to delivering decentralised energy – Funding the London Heat Map (£16k in 2013/14 and £9k per year thereafter) – which identifies opportunities for local energy supply projects. The costs involve the GLA maintaining the current site hosted by RADE includes cost of ArcGIS server licence (a one off fee), hosting and admin costs for the site. LWaRB have agreed to pay 50 per cent towards the licence and hosting services.
- £30,000 for Energy master plans (EMPs) – these provide the strategic planning function that underpins the delivery of strategic DE projects. The EMP provides a high-level feasibility and viability assessment and puts forward a ‘preferred solution’ for the energy infrastructure of that area. Funding will support three EMPs . EMP costs around £50k to produce. GLA will make £~10k contributions, developers and boroughs will contribute the remaining required budget. Recent energy masterplans undertaken include major regeneration sites in Croydon, Vauxhall Nine Elms Battersea, White City and London Riverside.
- £20,000 in 2013/14 and £50,000 in 2014/15 to Licence Lite – following our recent application to become a supplier we will need to work with Ofgem and the electricity supply market to develop business model and submit for Mayoral approval. We will work with market advisors on completing matrix of services needed and completion of formal legal agreements for services. (see here and here for further detail).
June 2013: A RE:NEW roll-out evaluation summary report has just been published by the GLA (direct link to document here). RE:NEW is the Mayor’s home energy efficiency programme originally launched in April 2009. The scheme has had various targets in place and currently RE:NEW Phase II is in operation. Much past detail on the Mayoral flagship carbon programme can be found from previous posts here.
The evaluation report sets out that:
- Following technical trials the roll out the programme across London operated from July 2011 – April 2012 and the “aim for the roll-out stage of project was to develop a ‘pan-London’ approach – with at least one RE:NEW area in every borough. This is the phase evaluated in this report”.
- 50,683 homes were visited under the RE:NEW programme and offered energy efficiency advice, energy and water saving devices, referred to as ‘easy measures’ [see footnote 4 of the report for the full list of easy measures offered]
- However, the proportion of homes visited for the installation of further measures energy efficiency measures from Government programmes such as CERT & CESP was only 3.05%
- The report goes on to say that “The focus of RE:NEW is saving carbon emissions and so for RE:NEW to be a success it is vital that referrals for installing further measures are made…It was anticipated that cavity wall, loft insulation and heating measures would be funded through the Carbon Emission Reduction Target, Warm Front or other funding levered in. …Whilst the take-up of easy measures and advice was high and a real success for the scheme overall, referrals for further measures, such as loft and cavity wall insulation were low.” p5
- Page 6 of the report is useful in setting out the common reasons for the low take up from referrals to installations – these included: discrepancies between identified measures and referrals reported from sub-contractors – where delivery agents felt that further training of their advisors would prevent discrepancies between identified measures and possible installations. Additionally, drop-outs occurred due to not all residents granted access for the follow up visit. Also contributing was the significant lag time between referral to installation
- “These issues affected the conversion rate from home visit to further installation measures, causing consistently low numbers across the programme. Almost all boroughs recorded a conversion rate of less than 3% and a number of boroughs did not progress beyond installation of easy measures.” p6
- P8 of the report onwards sets out a comprehensive series of programme recommendations which make interesting reading. Included is that the GLA spearhead a pan-London marketing campaign as a way to warm up residents.
Much more detail is set out in the report, included borough-level data tables in Appendix 1.
15 April 2013: The Mayor tweeting from a visit to Dubai: “Fascinating visit to @MasdarCity; a new city entirely powered by solar energy”
- The excellent Cornwall Energy were commissioned by the GLA and others to look at this issue and have produced the following summary article; and
- The output of Cornwall Energy & law firm Nabarros work – undertaken for Haringey – can be found on Haringey 4020 website here
And some more tricky detail on the issue in the following helpful blog. Energy for London will monitoring process on this development over the coming months.
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.
“Leonie Greene of the Solar Trade Association said London was taking a “pioneering” step that could encourage other towns, cities, and communities to follow suit. London is the first to apply for a Licence Lite.“We’re much more excited about this than anything else in the Electricity Market Reforms process going through Westminster,” she told BusinessGreen. “People who live near renewable projects often say they want a way of buying the electricity directly, and through this kind of licence they can.”She added that the licence would allow independent generators to sell their electricity at a retail price via the GLA, rather than having to sell it much more cheaply on the wholesale market.”
DECC’s Secretary of State Ed Davey (also the London MP for Kingston) also welcomed the initiative stating: “This is a hugely encouraging development and I welcome the London Mayor’s announcement today and fully support councils such as Haringey with this project. Opening up our energy market to smaller companies is good news for competition and therefore good news for consumers. This is a welcome initiative that will make better use of energy produced locally and help Londoners get the best bang for their buck.”
The Electricity Market Reforms – or EMR – refer to the proposals currently going through Parliament in the Energy Bill. These include the introduction of Contracts for Differences (CfDs) for low carbon generators – guaranteed market prices which will be paid for the production of power. The new system proposed has been widely criticised as being overly complex and a significant barrier to smaller power generators (see the following post for more detail).