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Neighbourhood power can save 3.5 million tonnes of London carbon

London First: Supply waste heat from district energy centres to social housing and hospitals

A report to be launched today (Wednesday 22nd October 2008), by business organisation London First offers a route to achieving London’s ambitious carbon reduction target.

Cutting the Capital’s Carbon Footprint was produced by engineering consultancy Buro Happold for a London First-led steering group of business and public sector agencies. It calls for collaboration between central Government, the Mayor and his agencies, energy companies, developers and boroughs to ‘decentralise’ a quarter of London’s energy. Linking large heat users such as housing estates, leisure centres and hospitals to locally-placed electricity plants can deliver massive efficiency gains, instead of centralised generation with its huge waste heat losses and losses from many miles of high voltage cables or expensive to install and low output roof-top solar panels or mini-wind turbines. Some local energy centres may produce power from renewable sources such as unrecyclable waste.

Judith Salomon, Director of Planning and Development at London First, said:

“Decentralised energy has an important role to play in reducing London’s climate impact. At the moment there are few incentives in place and too many barriers preventing the success of local heat and power generation. We are stuck with considerable distribution losses from high voltage pylons and the occasional tokenistic roof-mounted wind turbine or solar panel. We need to bring existing high-heat-demand buildings into local networks to make the economic and sustainability case for local generation stand up.

“Our report offers a series of recommendations which can deliver on the Mayor’s 25% decentralised energy target, by unlocking the £7 billion of private sector investment required.”

Sir Simon Milton, Deputy Mayor for Policy and Planning, said:

“The Mayor is very keen to encourage the development of decentralised energy in the capital in order to cut carbon emissions and household bills. We welcome London First’s report setting out the clear business case for decentralised energy, and the critical role it can play in meeting the Mayor’s target to slash emissions by 60 per cent by 2025. We are developing a wide programme of work as part of our own drive to expand decentralised energy, including the direct investment by the London Development Agency into new schemes.”

Rod Macdonald, Chairman of Buro Happold, said:

“Investment in infrastructure is critical to the continued success of London. Decentralised energy will allow us to use energy currently wasted in large power stations in a more carbon-efficient manner. Our proposals will deliver a good portion of the carbon savings planned by the Mayor by 2025, and position London as a leader in decentralised energy amongst major free-market cities. Buro Happold is committed to continuing to support London First in promoting and helping to unlock investment in the capital’s infrastructure.”

The Cutting the Capital’s Carbon Footprint report identifies parallel benefits of reduced carbon emissions, improved energy security and more efficient electricity distribution, but also sets out challenges which must be overcome in order for decentralised energy to become more widespread in London. Its recommendations include:

New incentives for combined heat and power from Government and the energy regulators
Strategic planning at London and borough level to identify sites for local energy centres and ‘anchor loads’ – existing facilities with high heat demands
A ‘green energy fund’ whereby developers would build the necessary infrastructure into housing and offices while making payments to support the establishment of future heat networks,
Energy for London (EfL) to be established as part of the GLA family to champion and deliver a strategic implementation plan for decentralised energy across the capital

Note to Editors

The Mayor’s Climate Change Action Plan envisaged 7.2 million tonnes of carbon savings from energy supply measures. Today’s report earmarks how half of this amount can be saved. Download the executive summary or full research report here
London First is a business membership organisation whose mission is to make London the best city in the world in which to do business. London First mobilises the experience, expertise and enthusiasm of the private sector to develop practical solutions to the challenges facing London. London First also seeks to persuade central and London government to make the investments that London needs in its infrastructure.
London First delivers its activities with the support of the capital’s major businesses in key sectors such as finance, professional services, property, ICT, creative industries, hospitality and retail. Membership also includes all of London’s higher education institutions as well as further education colleges and NHS hospital trusts. London First members represent a quarter of London’s GDP.
Buro Happold is a multi-disciplinary international practice of consulting engineers established in 1976. Buro Happold now employs over 1,700 staff in 21 offices worldwide with an aim to produce high quality engineering design in concept, in detail and in execution, on time, to programme and delivering excellent value for money. Buro Happold’s distinctive culture and ethos is still based on the same principles of care, value and elegance that were established when the practice was founded.
Buro Happold offers structural, building services, civil, infrastructure and façade engineering, as well as a broad range of specialist consultancy services including sustainability, ground and environmental engineering, fire and security design, health and safety management, inclusive and urban design, project management, and specialist CAD and computer simulation provision.

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