Government should support London to help reduce UK ‘energy gap’, says Assembly

13 December 2011

The Government should support the capital's efforts to generate more of its own heat and power to help reduce the UK’s ‘energy gap’, a new report from the London Assembly says today.[1]

Plugging the Energy Gap by the Assembly’s Environment Committee also calls on the Government to take elements of the Mayor’s RE:NEW programme[2] as a model for its ‘Green Deal’ proposals[3] to help improve energy efficiency nationally.

The UK has an energy gap because it currently produces only 70 percent of the energy it uses.[4] The capital uses 13 percent of the UK’s electricity but only has two percent of national generating capacity.[5]

The report says the Government should work with regions like London to keep financial and environmental costs down as it works to replace older and more polluting power stations and halve carbon emissions.[6] This is anticipated to cost around £200 billion over the next decade, raising the prospect of higher energy bills in the future.[7]

District heating schemes, which can efficiently heat thousands of homes, should also be eligible for existing subsidies[8] and local generation projects being set up in the capital[9] should be part of back-up plans for shortfalls in the electricity supply.

The report additionally highlights how, in the past, the capital has missed out on energy efficiency works compared to other parts of the UK and so regional targets for a new scheme which is coming on board could help address this.

Murad Qureshi AM, Chair of the Environment Committee, said: “We all assume that when we turn on a switch, the power we need to run our homes and businesses will be there.

“But it will take huge investment to keep the lights on and, at the same time, we need to keep carbon emissions and household bills down.

“The Government could more effectively address the country’s energy gap by supporting the capital to produce more of its own heat and power. The energy companies also haven’t put enough into energy efficiency works in London and we want to see the capital get its fair share in future.”

The report recommends:

  • the Government support decentralised energy infrastructure, in particular review the Renewable Heat Incentive to include combined heat and power schemes with partial and/or potential renewable energy sources.
  • the Government adopt the London RE:NEW programme as a model for the Green Deal including offering a whole-building package of measures and promoting the deal street by street.
  • the Government use energy market reform measures to ensure funding is available to incentivise schemes such as local generation projects to relieve pressure on the national grid at peak times.

Notes to editors:

  1. Read the report - Plugging the energy gap: London’s energy generation strategy and national energy policy
  2. See details Mayor’s RE:NEW programme
  3. See details of the Government’s Green Deal programme
  4. See P9 of the report
  5. See P11 of the report
  6. See P9 of the report
  7. See P12 of the report
  8. The Government is also consulting on options for strategic funding for reserve capacity in the electricity network to protect against blackouts. The report argues that this funding should be on offer not just to large central power stations, but also to the kind of local generators to be established in London under the Greater London Authority’s (GLA) Climate Change Mitigation and Energy strategy
  9. Murad Qureshi, Chair of the London Assembly Environment Committee, is available for interview.  See contact details below.
  10. The report will be formally agreed on 2 February 2012.
  11. As well as investigating issues that matter to Londoners, the London Assembly acts as a check and a balance on the Mayor.

For more details, please contact Lisa Moore/Julie Wheldon in the Assembly Media Office on 020 7983 4228/4283.  For out of hours media enquiries please call 020 7983 4000 and ask for the Assembly duty press officer.  Non-media enquiries should be directed to the Public Liaison Unit, Greater London Authority, on 020 7983 4100.