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Tag Archives: RE:NEW
March 2016: …and so after eight years, we come to Boris’s last question time as London Mayor! And it’s good to see that energy and climate issues featured significantly yet again – a full list of which are posted here. In addition, a video has been posted online by London Assembly Green Party member Jenny Jones of her questions to the Mayor about a shortfall in his domestic energy efficiency programme RE:NEW.
And on that shortfall – Jenny Jones states that 95 per cent off the Mayor’s 1.7m home retrofit target has been missed with only 80,000 cavity and loft installations achieved out of a target set by the Mayor of 1.7 million. In response, the Mayor states:
- CO2 has reduced 14% since the programme began – in spite of London economic growth of 20%;
- London has significant challenges on insulation due to the low incidence of cavity wall homes and conservation areas;
- The Green Deal “wasn’t working well”
- To compensate he has recently introduced a London boiler scrappage scheme;
- After being called a “minnow” on London climate change action by Jenny Jones, when compared to other city leaders such as former New York Mayor Bloomberg and former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Mayor responded that ‘he hasn’t been swanning off around the world on climate change junkets … to give good green sermons”
The Mayor’s 2011 Climate Change Mitigation and Energy Strategy actually states a 2015 target of retrofitting 1.2 million homes. And the June 2015 update to the Strategy sets out that “By the end of the 2013-14 financial year, over 100,000 homes were visited through the Mayor’s retrofit programmes. Coupled with wider market delivery, 500,000 home have been retrofitted across the capital”, this wider market delivery referring to the number of homes delivered through the Government’s ECO programme.
The disastrous cuts to ECO and failure of the Green Deal have dramatically reduced the effectiveness of the Mayor’s energy efficiency programme RE:NEW, a recent MQ stating that in “the 12 months from October 2014 RE:NEW supported the retrofit of over 4,500 homes.”
A lot depends on what is meant by retrofit: the initial phases of the RE:NEW programme visited homes on a specifically identified area basis, providing households with a number of free “easy measures”. These visits where meant to unlock additional, more significant, retrofit action in the visited households, such as the installation of loft, cavity or solid wall insulation. Follow up action by households was however fairly limited (only a few per cent) – as has been set out in the following research paper.
It’s clear from a recent MQ that the RE:NEW programme has been adversely impacted by the Government’s disastrous changes to its ECO programme, and the flawed nature of the Green Deal. The latest Government data shows that, despite the RE:NEW programme being in place to stimulate the uptake of energy efficiency in the capital, London still has the second lowest number of ECO measures installed (per 1,000 households) across UK regions.
Provisional number of households in receipt of ECO measures by region, up to 30th June 2015 (DECC spreadsheet)
March 2016: This month Mayor’s Question Time – the last in Boris Johnson’s eight year tenure as Mayor – once again included a wide range of questions on energy and climate, which included:
capturing waste heat from London Crossrail stations; the Mayor’s record on climate change; London based generators and Licenced Lite; the ability for Londoners connected to a district heating scheme to complain about poor service performance; anticipated prices of district energy heat tariffs; announcing the start of the Licence Lite programme; improvements in electricity export sales price for generators through Licence Lite; the number of Excess Winter Deaths amongst Londoners; challenges in promoting gasification technologies at the Olympic Park; the GLA’s Environment Team budget over the last 8 years; targets associated with the Boiler Scrappage Scheme; publication of London district energy schemes heat tariffs; the publication of London Energy Plan studies; guaranteeing that there are no plans for an incineration plan at Old Oak Common; the Mayor’s Boiler Scrappage scheme and fraud; RE:NEW energy efficiency retrofit programme delivery problems; how government energy efficiency programmes have helped Londoners; the amount of London’s (non transport) energy is supplied through local decentralised energy systems; cuts to the Energy Company Obligation (ECO); the Mayor’s recent meeting with the Secretary of State for Energy; the absence of London Fuel Poverty Strategy; the roll out of smart meters in London
Sutton district heating scheme; embodied carbon; annual progress on decentralised energy growth in London; anticipated savings from the new GLA boiler ‘cashback’ scheme; visits by the Mayor to RE:NEW energy efficiency retrofit projects; TfL future energy costs and the Mayor’s meeting with the National Infrastructure Commission.
Previous months questions to the Mayor can be found here.
October 2015: This month the Mayor has been asked questions in relation to: the number of London projects awarded funding from government’s Urban Community Energy Fund (UCEF); minutes of the London Plan Energy Advisory Group meetings; helping reduce energy bills for Londoners who have electric heating; GLA loan to Tempus Energy; the impact of the closure of the Green Deal; minimum energy efficiency standards on London’s Private Rented Sector; support for the Governor of the Bank of England’s recent comments on carbon disclosure (and again) ; the FIT consultation and it’s impact on London’s solar industry (and again here); suppliers on the Mayor’s new RE:NEW energy efficiency retrofit framework; London Pension Fund Authority (LPFA) investment in the fossil fuel sector; projected returns from investments made by the London Energy Efficiency Fund (LEEF); planning approval of the Beddington incinerator; a health impact assessment for Beddington incinerator; London Plan requirements for borough planning carbon offset funds; London business risk and financial exposure to a ‘carbon bubble‘; climate sceptic views; Greenwich Power Station update; LED lighting on the Great West Road; production of BioSNG in London; tackling fuel poverty; the rollout of smart meters in London; supporting London businesses resilience to climate change; and an update to the License Lite process.
Previous months questions to the Mayor can be found here.
23 October 2015: The Mayor has posted his submission to DECC’s Feed in Tariff (FIT) consultation online today (the deadline for the response) alongside a letter to Energy Minister Andrea Leadsom, from Deputy Mayor for Energy & the Environment, Matthew Pencharz.
The letter pulls no punches, stating “Unfortunately, the proposals that have been consulted on, with little or no prior warning, to come into force, in the new year has created great uncertainty in the solar PV industry, potentially putting at threat thousands of jobs across the UK. The Mayor is concerned about the potential impact on the 3,100 jobs, mainly in SMEs, which make up the solar PV industry in London.”
“The Mayor’s view is that in order to ensure an orderly transition to subsidy-free solar PV industry, there should be a gradual tapering of the FIT over a two-three year period.”
The Mayor has voiced his concerns over DECC’s proposals for some months now (see previous statement here) and his sentiments for a ‘gradual tapering’ echo calls from industry organisations, such as the Solar Trade Association, who have strongly campaigned against the proposed ‘cliff edge’ withdrawal of support for solar, setting out their own recommendations in a ‘£1 plan‘ to 2019.
The Mayor’s response to the FIT consultation goes on to raise a number of highly relevant issues for London, including:
- the proposed cuts to the FIT could significantly hamper solar PV deployment rates in London, which already face major rollout challenges, including negatively impacting upon the delivery of Mayor’s retrofit programmes, RE:NEW and RE:FIT
- the proposed tightening of the energy efficiency criteria would prevent a large number of properties in London from installing solar PV without significant investment in energy efficiency improvements, for which there is no longer support available following the termination of the Green Deal
- whilst a move towards smart metering with net metering functionality is welcome, making it a requirement for receipt of the export tariff would require a commitment or obligation on the energy suppliers to install a smart meter in a timely manner, as well as ensuring that the property was currently suitable for installation of a smart meter – an issue which arises frequently in London.
The Mayor’s response also raise concerns about the impact of the proposals on community energy projects in London. All in all, this is a significant intervention by the Mayor in what has become a highly politicised consultation.
At a recent DECC FIT workshop, officials have said they are looking to respond to the consultation by late November/early December (this is needed as the consultation proposes to introduce changes to the FIT programme as early as January 2016!). With the number of responses predicted to be in the thousands (the shorter-run FIT pre-accreditation consultation had over 2,000 responses), and with the threat of major job cuts in the department, it looks like it’s going to be a busy few weeks over at 3 Whitehall Place…
September 2015: This month the Mayor has been asked questions in relation to:
data gathered through the Mayor’s Business Energy Challenge; the impact on the London Plan carbon targets as a result of the government scrapping the Zero Carbon Homes policy (and again) and again – and one more time; encouraging renewable energy investments through the London Pension Fund Authority (LPFA); a discussion around potential winter electricity ‘blackouts’; impact of the government’s proposals to change the Feed in Tariffs (FITs) on the Mayor’s retrofit programmes – and again; lobbying to reduce business rates to district heating – and again; whether the Mayor will attend COP21 in Paris this December; the Clean Bus Summit recently held in London; fuel economy of the New Routemaster bus (and again, and again); a dossier of problems associated with the New Routemaster; GLA and boroughs discussions on coordinating fuel poverty responses across London; the roll out of electric vehicles in London; and supporting zero emission taxi fleets.
Previous months questions to the Mayor can be found here.
January 2015: This month the Mayor has been asked questions in relation to:
Fuel Povery and Children; Meetings of the Mayor’s London Green Infrastructure Task Force; Membership of the Mayor’s London Green Infrastructure Task Force; London Plan policies encouraging development of solar farms; consideration of carbon emissions in policy decision making
Invitation to attend the European Capital Cities meeting ahead of the Paris 2015 IPCC summit; Progress made in 2014 to delivering the London Climate Change Adaptation Strategy; Measuring CO2 emissions across the GLA Group; An update on the GLA group’s Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) reports; the Mayor’s concern over increasing signs of climate change; GLA Economics analysis on energy
Communication to the Treasury over tax incentives for community energy projects; TfL’s hedging policy on energy prices; Misleading information on shale gas; Reallocation of RE:NEW funds to RE:FIT programme; Havering Solar Farm planning application; New powers to Ofgem; RE:NEW programme underspend; An update on RE:NEW programme projections; Research commissioned by the GLA’s Environment Team
Previous months questions to the Mayor can be found here.
19 December 2014: A mayoral approval document outlines support to two new projects to save energy and carbon in properties in the private rented sector (PRS) and to boost membership of the London Rental Standard (LRS).
The Mayor has approved:
- Expenditure of £141,000 of capital grant funding and £45,000 of revenue funding including for assessments and testimonial material to support delivery of at least 50 demonstration projects with LRS-accredited landlords, each resulting in a retrofitted PRS home and raising awareness of the benefits that can be achieved.
- Expenditure of up to £80,000 revenue funding for the development and implementation of a pilot programme to trial the use of incentive payments to LRS-accredited lettings agents for achieving retrofit works on at least 400 PRS properties they let or manage on behalf of private landlords.
- Expenditure of up to £20,000 revenue funding for the evaluation of both projects.
The approval document sets out the strong rationale for driving ahead the energy efficiency message in the PRS:
- the PRS accounts for a quarter of London’s housing stock (850,000), is growing fast (nearly doubling in size since 2000)
- the Energy Act 2011 requires that from 2016 it will be unlawful for landlords to refuse reasonable requests from tenants for energy efficiency improvements, and from 2018 it will become unlawful to rent out EPC F and G rated properties (see DECC’s recent consultation on PRS Energy Efficiency regulations here
- the Landlords Energy Saving Allowance (LESA), a tax allowance of up to £1,500 per building per year, is available but will end on 6 April 2015
- the PRS is the worst performing sector in terms of quality of stock. 17% of PRS tenants are in fuel poverty, while 30% of PRS homes fall below the Decent Homes standard (compared with 10% and 21% across London overall).
Full details of each programme is set out in the approval form. The project will be overseen by the Mayor’s Housing Investment Group, which has previously discussed this initiative (see item 8 of minutes) and raised a number of issues including:
- reasons for targeting PRS properties rather than owner-occupied properties
- Energy Performance Certificates (EPC) had not yet had a big impact but this would likely to change as from 2017
- Questions were raised as to whether the scheme would be replicable on a greater scale. The Group heard that, if successful, the programme could be scaled-up and delivered through energy suppliers or contractors, as part of their marketing budgets. A discussion was held regarding the potential involvement of energy suppliers to incentivise the programme. It was agreed that while this could be looked at for future iterations of the programme, to engage energy suppliers at this stage would complicate and delay the start of the programme.
6 August 2014: There have been a number of major updates to the Mayor’s flagship home energy efficiency programme RE:NEW, which has been neatly set out in the August meeting of the GLA’s Housing Investment Group. These include:
- Following a successful bid for funding from the European Investment Bank (EIB), RE:NEW was awarded €3,016,440 (£2,513,700) on 15 July 2014
- This funding is being matched by a 10 per cent contribution by the GLA of €335,160 (£279,300), taking the funding for a three year support team to €3,351,600 (£2,793,000). The funding will provide a RE:NEW Support Team to 14 July 2017.
- As with the previous phase of the RE:NEW, the programme is to be delivered by Capita Symonds, who were the successful bidder in an OJEU-compliant procurement
- Capita will catalyse investment of £352 million through supporting retrofit to 175,000 properties in London over the next three years. This intervention is the largest and most ambitious retrofit programme anywhere in the UK and will save 93,000 annual tonnes of carbon by 2017.
- An incentivisation model is built into the contract based on these three key performance indicators (KPI) and Capita have committed to achieving these through putting 20% of fees at risk.
- Below is the three year KPI profile.
- A RE:NEW Support Team ITT Schedule of Requirement provides additional programme aims, objectives and proposed benefits
- A new GLA webpage sets out a revised and comprehensive list of RE:NEW Support Team Specialist Services available to local authorities.
The London Assembly has highlighted patchy progress reporting from the RE:NEW team to its members over the past few years (see here and here). In response to this criticism, the Mayor has now committed to providing quarterly reports.
July 2014: This month the Mayor has been asked questions in relation to:
Mayoral involvement with the Local Government Climate Roadmap; organisations operating at the London Sustainable Industries Park; potential for the London Pension Fund Authority (LPFA) to invest in low carbon London projects; whether Energy Performance Certificate or Green Deal assessments will be provided for homes that go through the RE:NEW programme; monitoring high energy consuming buildings in London; reductions in forecasted projections of CO2 savings in Mayor’s energy supply programme; Transport for London’s (TfL) Energy Strategy; the Mayor’s Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with energy suppliers; visit by Mayor’s energy advisor to Camden’s biomethane refuelling station; correspondence with DCLG on the Mayor being able to set London specific energy efficiency targets in planning rules for new development; meetings with DECC over encouraging the use of solar PV on GLA land and building; new district heating network using heat from Greenwich Power Station; the low take up of ECO energy efficiency programme in London; connecting Whitehall District Heating Scheme to Pimlico District Heating Undertaking; the Mayor’s response to a recent London Solar Energy report by Green Party London Assembly member Jenny Jones; future TfL electricity costs; whether the Mayor responded to the Government’s recent solar PV consultation; concerns over government changes to the ECO as raised by the Mayor; funding for the next round of the RE:NEW programme; energy efficiency requirements in the private rented sector; monies received by the Green Bus Fund; work being undertaken to assess the economic impact to London as a result of climate change; attendance at the World Mayors Summit of Climate Change; planning offset funds; contract awarded for management of the RE:NEW programme; and if the Mayor’s High Level Electricity Working Group has considered solar PV.
Previous months questions to the Mayor can be found here.
July 2014: The results of a study of the Mayor’s home energy efficiency programme, RE:NEW, has recently been published in major academic journal Energy Policy (which – for once – is freely available online!) focussing on the first major roll-out of phase of RE:NEW, delivered between July 2011 and April 2012, where 50,683 homes underwent a RE:NEW home energy visit.
The conclusions set out in the paper are quite stark and concludes that with respect to the programme’s engagement with households, that RE:NEW:
- Visits do not generate significant pro-environmental behaviour change.
- Visits do not overcome the barriers to the installation loft and wall insulation.
The paper’s author researched the delivery of RE:NEW in three inner London boroughs and provides a helpful contribution in understanding the limitations and constraints of the programme. The paper also identifies why the design of the programme may have contributed to the challenges RE:NEW faced in achieving its goals and also in engaging effectively with householders. These include:
- “The RE:NEW programme and the specification of the visit were conceived at City Hall and were based on a policy intent of reducing carbon emissions, rather than as the result of demands or expressed desire from residents. As a result, the appetite for the programme, from householders, was questionable.”
- one of the limitations of the home energy visit was the time constraint on visits. Visits generally lasted about an hour and this was due to a number of reasons. Most of the advisors were employed as contract workers and were paid a fixed price for each visit delivered…there was a focus on the number of visits delivered, rather than the length or quality of the visit.
- the short visit length meant that advisors did not have adequate time to install all of the easy measures provided during the visit.
- The effectiveness of visits, specifically in relation to encouraging the adoption of curtailment behaviours, was limited by the expertise of the ‘energy advisors’ who had inadequate training prior to delivering visits.
- over 70% of the visits to the sample groups in local authorities B and C, the householder receiving the visit was living in rented (privately, council or RSL) housing and did not have control over the potential to install further measures.
- the GLA and the local authorities were focused on achieving different outcomes from the RE:NEW visits. For the GLA, the focus of the visits was on reducing carbon emissions, whereas for the local authorities, the focus was on reducing fuel poverty, but these differing aims are not necessarily complementary
- If an impact-oriented approach is taken to reducing carbon emissions then the focus of home energy visits may better placed be on high energy consumers, who are likely to be from more wealthy neighbourhoods and home-owners who will have the control over their properties to make structural changes. Though using tax-payers money to fund such work is unlikely to be politically acceptable
Overall, the study concludes: “Negligible savings were achieved as a result of the installation of significant measures. The impact of the visit on energy and water saving behaviours were also negligible. Overall, for these households, the impact of a visit led to an estimated average reduction in annual household emissions of 3%.”
The paper notes that some of the limitations of the RE:NEW programme have been recognised, and were set out in an evaluation report published earlier this year by the GLA (see earlier post here for background and link to paper).
A third phase of the RE:NEW programme has recently been initiated by the GLA.
June 2014: This month the Mayor has been asked questions in relation to:
Energy efficiency in the private rented sector; carbon offsets used by new developments;
How much energy is produced in London by decentralised energy systems;
heat recovery from London’s buildings; meetings with London community energy groups; total spend by the Mayor on domestic energy efficiency programmes;
Mayoral action following the publication of the government’s Community Energy Strategy; energy companies supporting the Mayor’s License Lite application;
progress against the Mayor’s decentralised energy target; the government’s new Urban Energy Fund; money spent by the London Energy Efficiency Fund (LEEF);
hospitals using the Mayor’s RE:FIT programme; visits to the Kingston heat pump development; visits to the London Array Wind Farm; Ofgem approval of the Mayor’s License Lite application; local authorities using RE:FIT; the Mayor’s first license lite supply deal; feedback from the C40 Johannesburg summit; consumer redress to high heat charges on district heating networks;
ESCO deals signed under the Mayor’s RE:FIT programme; Mayoral support for the Green Deal in London’; Green Deal Communities Fund; costs associated with applying to DECC’s Green Deal Communities Fund; green jobs created by Mayoral programmes;
low carbon sector jobs created; attracting green investment into London; the Mayor’s High Level Electricity Working Group;
Previous months questions to the Mayor can be found here.
March 2014: The London Assembly Environment Committee held the first of two oral evidence sessions on progress made by the GLA’s energy and climate programmes. The first of these sessions was held on 6 February and focussed on the Mayor’s home energy efficiency programme, RE:NEW. Evidence was provided by representatives from a number of organisations, including EDF Energy, the Energy Saving Trust, Hillingdon Borough Council and the Mayor’s Housing Advisor. The full transcript can be accessed here – and a webcast can also be viewed here. Points of interest raised during the debate included:
- The RE:NEW programme is awaiting confirmation they they have been successful in their application to the European Investment Bank’s European Local Energy Assistance (ELENA) programme for £2.6m to put in place a support team over a three year period starting from April 2014 (the RE:NEW programme support team is currently operated for the GLA by Capita).
- RE:NEW is currently working with Greenwich, Havering, Newham and Westminster, Hyde Housing and Peabody Gallions developing “bigger projects that would be more attractive in terms of bringing in Energy Company Obligation (ECO) funding“.
- Borough responses suggested that RE:NEW was “not very hands-on with project development.” RE:NEW is keen to find out what boroughs are doing but “there is very little support there for boroughs in terms of developing projects and overcoming planning issues.“
- RE:NEW should be instead be focussing on what the GLA could do to “enhance [borough activities] even further if it wants to deliver ambitious carbon reduction targets“
- Further criticism was targeted at the RE:NEW programme stating that the funding resource was mainly going to Capita : “We see that the resources are actually on those people, basically, for the Capita resource. Local authorities are not really getting the benefit of that on the whole“.
- An often confusing debate takes place on how many homes were retrofitted through the RE:NEW programme and how many homes were insulated across London in total. A number of 400,000 homes is quoted by the Mayor’s Housing Advisor during the session. Though not explained, this number is most likely made up of the following: 327,00 treated through the Government’s CERT programme over the period April 2008 – December 2012 (see cell V35 of EST CERT data here), and 70,000 homes visited by the RE:NEW team and provided with ‘easy measures’ over the period July 2011-December 2012 (see MQ here for details). For more on this, see earlier post here.
- RE:NEW Phase 3 has a target of retrofitting 175,000 homes.
Just ahead of the evidence session – somewhat belatedly – the Mayor published the full evaluation report of the main RE:NEW roll-out phase which ran from July 2011-May 2012 (a summary report had previously been issued – details here). A second oral evidence session will take place on 26 March, focusing on the Mayor’s decentralised energy programmes, with the Mayor’s energy advisor, Matthew Pencharz, in attendance.