Blackfriars Bridge solar panels

Publication from Jenny Jones: London Energy Company proposal

Jenny Jones AM commissioned a report from a consultant to explore setting up a fully licensed municipal energy company for London.

Download the report

Why should the Mayor set up an ‘Energy Supply Company’?

It would enable the Mayor to sell zero/low carbon electricity direct to individual Londoners, businesses, schools and hospitals. In effect it would offer the public an alternative to the Big 6 energy companies.

It would be a not-for-profit organisation buying electricity from low carbon generators and the wholesale energy market. With no middlemen involved, it has the potential to generate a healthy income stream for re-investing into more renewable energy in London. For instance more solar panels, anaerobic digestors and larger low carbon decentralised energy schemes. 

Because the profits would be re-invested for the benefit of Londoners, it would have the advantage of being a trusted brand to help encourage Londoners to switch energy companies.

It will help boost our energy generating capacity and we need it. London’s electricity demand is expected to grow 4% each year and there are already energy shortfalls looming. On top of this, the expanding underground network and night tube, Crossrail and buses switching to diesel-electric hybrids or fully electric buses will increase this pressure and increase costs. TfL expect their energy bills to rise by £30million within five years on present day costs.

The Transport for London estate has enormous potential for solar deployment, with about 300 sites across London spanning 5,700 acres. Yet the Olympic Car park has more solar power capacity installed than that installed on the whole of the TfL estate. 

London has the lowest installed solar PV capacity of any region on mainland Britain. We have just 71 megawatts installed, supplying 1 percent of London’s electricity needs, with just over 0.5 percent of the cities 3 million homes benefitting from solar PV panels. In my report, London is ready for a brighter future, I showed that solar PV could supply about 20 percent of London’s electricity needs.

Bristol and Nottingham have set up Municipal Energy Companies which will allow them to sell electricity to the public and to business. This will provide a template for the London Energy Company.

As the Government is rapidly scaling down its support for renewables such as solar and wind, it’s even more critical for cities like London to scale up solar and other renewable deployment and their efforts to decarbonise energy supplies, alongside carbon reduction and energy efficiency retrofit of London’s buildings and homes.

The difference between this and the Mayor’s ‘License Lite’

License Lite – gives the Mayor the ability to procure electricity from low carbon generators, paying them a favourable tariff for their excess energy, and selling it to mostly Transport for London.

A fully licensed ‘Energy Supply Company (ESC0)’ - goes much further than ‘License Lite’ and gives the Mayor the ability to sell electricity directly to the public, to business and to compete with other energy companies. The ESCO also gives the Mayor additional powers to deliver energy efficiency retrofit and insulation services to help London homes and business reduce costs and carbon emission.

How much would it cost: Based on Bristol City and Nottingham City’s municipal energy companies, set up costs were between £1m and £1.5million.