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Tag Archives: RE:NEW
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.
February 2014: On 6 February, the London Assembly Environment Committee held an oral evidence session on the Mayor’s housing energy efficiency retrofit programme, RE:NEW, and its progress to achieving its stated CO2 targets. Details of the evidence session are set out here. A background paper to the evidence session is here. The session was available on webcast and can be viewed here.
January 2014: This month the Mayor has been asked questions in relation to:
the Mayor’s meetings with energy ministers; KPIs under the Mayor’s Climate Change Mitigation and Energy Strategy; establishing a London Energy Cooperative; ECO funding in London; the number of energy suppliers signed up to the Mayor’s MoU; the Mayor’s support for the Energy Bill Revolution’s Cold Homes Week; Kew Gardens decentralised energy scheme; London avoiding the ‘capacity crunch‘; solar installations on GLA buildings; the underheating of Londoners’ homes; the RE:NEW programme energy efficiency targets; the Mayor’s concerns over Government ‘Allowable Solutions‘ proposals; insulation industry jobs; Excess Winter Deaths; insulation projects stalled under ECO; the stalled Affinity Sutton insulation project; RE:NEW targets; retrofitting and planning restrictions; renewable energy installations on the GLA estate; GLA funding to Capita to manage the RE:NEW programme; British Gas funding to ECO; the Mayor’s High Level Electricity Working Group; LED streetlighting projects; CO2 savings achieved under RE:NEW; delayed CO2 savings under RE:NEW; the Climate Change Leaders for a Low Carbon London fuel poverty project; planning CO2 target requirements; meetings with DCLG; biofuel and London buses; GLA Environment Team budgets over next two years; Mayor’s application to the Government’s Green Deal Communities Fund; and tendering for License Lite services.
Previous months questions to the Mayor can be found here.
February 2014: At last week’s Mayoral Question Time, Green Party London Assembly member Jenny Jones questioned the Mayor over his retrofitting CO2 targets – which has been posted online and can be viewed here.
Assembly Member Jones states that by the end of the Mayor’s term of office, his CO2 reduction targets, as set out in London’s Climate Change Mitigation and Energy Strategy, will have been missed by three-quarters.
In response, the Mayor said that her comments should not be so dismissive: that he had protected the budgets for his retrofitting programme, over 90,000 homes had been retrofitted despite London’s population growing by 600,000 and London’s economy going ‘gang busters’, and that a 20% reduction in CO2 savings had been achieved since 2008. Ms Jones however promised to write to the Mayor setting out her analysis on the slow pace of London’s carbon reduction progress.
January 2014: The London Assembly’s Environment Committee is to hold an oral evidence session next week (30 January) on the Mayor’s carbon targets. A paper sets out that the evidence session forms part of an “investigation” into the delivery of the carbon targets, which will take place over February and March 2014.
At the evidence session – which is open to the public – the Committee will meet with Mayoral Advisors and GLA officers in the environment and the property portfolios, as well as external guests from the energy sector, local government and other external stakeholders to discuss targets to improve energy efficiency in homes, targets to increase decentralised and low-carbon energy supply, and general carbon reduction targets and strategy.
The targets are set out in the Mayor’s 2011 Climate Change Mitigation and Energy Strategy and include:
- Energy efficiency in homes and workplaces – particularly under
- RE:NEW (a support team to help social housing providers and local authorities to enable domestic retrofit projects to be delivered faster, bigger and with better value for money)
- RE:FIT (a building retrofitting scheme to support public sector organisations to reduce their carbon footprint and subsequent energy bills)
- non-GLA work such as the Green Deal (a Government initiative that is designed to help businesses and home owners to employ more green technologies in their properties);
- Low-carbon transport;
- Low-carbon energy generation;
- Tackling fuel poverty;
- Reducing carbon emissions in the GLA group;
- Measuring London’s carbon emissions; and
- Funding routes, business models and skills opportunities in the low-carbon economy.
January 2014: The GLA has decided to seek additional support in its bid to DECC’s Green Deal Communities Fund. The approval form states that:
“The GLA is seeking approval to commission Create and Sustain Limited through a Single Source Action to provide services up to a maximum value of £27,000 to support the RE:NEW programme from November to March 2014.
The key aims for this period are:
- to develop the GLA’s bid to the DECC Green Deal Communities Fund
- to liaise with, and gain buy in from key stakeholders including London boroughs, social landlords and delivery agents as necessary to complete the bid
- to work with the London Landlord Accreditation Service to develop the bid
- to provide additional support to the RE:NEW Programme which could include:
- finalising the MoUs with Energy Suppliers
- support with the paperwork and processes needed to establish the project management resource if successful with the DECC funding
- support a review of the RE:NEW Framework“
The £20m Green Deal Communities Fund was launched by Government in July 2013 – details here and then, in December 2013, as part of the announced changes to ECO, DECC stated that the Government “will increase the funds available to local authorities this year through Green Deal Communities from £20 million to £80 million, to help support ‘street-by-street’ programmes for hard-to-treat homes.” If London were to secure funding on a rough population basis – as much as £10m from this new fund could be directed to the capital’s energy efficiency retrofit programmes.