London A Strategic Vision on Renewable Energy Supply and

Solar Power Design Manual

Do It Yourself Solar Energy

Get Instant Access

London's energy planning picture is complex, bound up in the recent reformation of regional government linking together the 33 local authorities that make up London.2 Unlike prior forms of regional government, for the first time London now has a popularly elected Mayor operating in a strong mayor form of government (Travers 2004). First elected mayor in 2000, and then again in 2004, Ken Livingstone has made energy planning a priority since he took office. In doing so, the mayor inserted regional government squarely into the local energy policymaking picture, something that had not occurred in many decades.

Prior to 1947, individual London boroughs and London regional government were actively involved in energy matters, issuing franchises to private firms or directly managing

2 These 33 local authorities include what is referred to as the City of London, the one-square mile area where the city was originally founded. London regional government has existed in one form or another since 1855, but it was disbanded by the British Parliament in 1986, at the urging of then - Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. When the Labour Party reclaimed power in 1997, they set out to reconstitute regional government, creating what is now known as the Greater London Authority (GLA).

electricity supply and distribution utilities themselves. After the industry was nationalized that year, local government was largely removed from the picture as electricity planning, power generation, and transmission and distribution responsibilities were shifted to the UK government. This changed in the late 1970s, when local government began to reengage on this issue out of concern over the high cost they were paying for energy due to the oil crisis. Since then, various entities have established working groups to look at electricity issues in London, quantified energy use in the Greater London region, and developed locally oriented action and policy plans they believed were necessary complements to central government policies (Greater London Council 1978; Greater London Council 1981; Greater London Council 1982; Greater London Council 1983; London Research Centre 1993).

The push for local action is partly explained by the sheer scale of local energy use. In 1999, London's total energy use exceeded that of all of Ireland, and was roughly equivalent to that of Portugal or Greece (Greater London Authority 2004) ; This level - and the corresponding environmental impact associated with this energy use - was one reason that London mayor Ken Livingstone announced shortly after assuming office in 2001 that he would develop an overarching energy strategy for London.

The mayor's decision to voluntarily develop an energy strategy was also related to the fact that the 1999 Parliamentary legislation creating the GLA required the new mayor to prepare a ;state of the environment; report and eight distinct strategic plans for the city, on topics ranging from biodiversity to culture to land use to transportation (HMSO 1999). Energy use was a recurring theme in many of these strategic plans, leading the mayor to conclude there was a need for a ninth strategic plan. This report ultimately became known as Green Light to Clean Power - The Mayor's Energy Strategy.

In developing his energy strategy, the mayor laid out three overarching objectives (Greater London Authority 2004):





P 1000

Ireland London Portugal Greece


Fig. 6.1. Final energy demand in London and selected European countries, 1997 (Greater London Authority 2004).

1. Reduce London's contribution to global climate change.

2. Help eradicate fuel poverty.

3. Contribute to London's economy by delivering sustainable energy and improving London's housing and building stock.

It took nearly four years to develop and refine the Energy Strategy. The task of authoring the first draft fell to an in-house Energy Team, managed by one of the mayor's principal environmental policy advisors, and staffed by civil servants and political appointees, several of whom had a background on local energy issues. Outside support and feedback came from the general public and a 13-member Energy Strategy Advisory Group, consisting of academics, local authority representatives, developers, and energy and public health experts. Drafts were issued in early 2002 and 2003 to solicit public comment and feedback from the London Assembly. The final report was released in February 2004, making 33 distinct policy statements and 70 programmatic proposals endorsing (Greater London Authority 2004):

• The expanded use of CHP/district heating in built-up areas of London.

• Energy recovery from the waste stream.

• Initiatives to reduce fuel poverty by expanding energy efficiency and energy conservation programs around London.

• Land-use policies that result in increased public transport and bicycle use and pedestrian access to shops and businesses.

• Energy-related business development in London.

• The conversion of Transport for London's vehicle fleet to cleaner power sources.

• The development of planning policies that leads developers to consider the environmental impacts of their projects.

• The development of public/private partnerships to guide action on energy issues in London.

• The use of hydrogen and sewage gases as fuel sources.

• An expansion of the local public transport system, and the implementation of a congestion charging scheme, both designed to reduce automobile use in Central London.

Some of the most noteworthy aspects of the mayor's Energy Strategy relate to its focus on renewable power. Currently, 40% of London's power is generated at large (primarily natural gas-fired) power plants located in the city; the balance is imported via the high voltage transmission grid connecting London to the rest of England, Wales, and Scotland. London thus shares the general power profile with the rest of the UK, meaning its electricity is heavily derived from nuclear, natural gas, and coal-fired power plants (see Fig. 6.2).

In his Energy Strategy, Mayor Ken Livingstone set out to change that, establishing a goal that 2.2% (or 665 GWh) of London's electric power should be derived from renewable sources by 2010. By 2020, the mayor hopes to triple that figure. The targets were based on a central government-funded assessment3 examining how London could contribute to the UK's overall target of 10% renewable power by 2010 (ETSU/AEA Technology 2001). A breakdown of the renewables targets is found in Box 6.1.

3 The mayor's renewable targets are somewhat misleading, as the study found that achieving 665 GWh of power generation would require significant amounts of power to be derived from waste incineration, pyrolysis, gasification, or anaerobic technologies. Many commentators do not see these technologies as comparable to other 'new' renewable technologies (i.e. solar, wind, tidal) which rely on naturally repeating energy flows. Using this narrower definition, the study found the renewable technologies cited in Box 6.1 would be capable of generating only 0.88% of London's energy needs by 2010.

Hydro & other

Hydro & other

Gas 38%

Fig. 6.2. UK electricity generation fuel mix 2000 (Greater London Authority 2004).

Gas 38%

Fig. 6.2. UK electricity generation fuel mix 2000 (Greater London Authority 2004).

Was this article helpful?

0 0
Solar Power

Solar Power

Start Saving On Your Electricity Bills Using The Power of the Sun And Other Natural Resources!

Get My Free Ebook

Post a comment