Investment in energy infrastructure crucial for driving jobs & growth

06 November 2012

Crucial investment in London's power network is needed to help boost jobs and growth and protect the capital's economy, the Mayor Boris Johnson told industry experts today.


Efficient delivery of electricity supplies plays a vital part in London’s ability to attract investment from developers and new businesses, and therefore help generate economic growth.


With demand for electricity in the capital expected to grow by up to four per cent a year over the next decade, the Mayor convened his first Electricity Summit, a gathering of stakeholders in the energy industry including representatives from Ofgem, London First and the major distributor UK Power Networks, to consider how investment can best be planned and used to secure an accessible and resilient electricity network.


Participants agreed to launch a working group, to be chaired by the Deputy Mayor for Planning Sir Edward Lister, which will meet regularly to help advise the Mayor, jointly plan and promote short and long-term cost effective investment.


Their work will help the Mayor achieve his target of ensuring at least 25 per cent of London’s energy is supplied from decentralised energy by 2025, while continuing to improve access to the electricity network across the capital and keeping connection costs low for developers and investors.


The Mayor is working with the energy industry to explore how local networks could become more effective and efficient, for example by investing in decentralised energy, tapping into unused heat sources including waste and recycling plants in the capital, and opening up electricity supply licensing to allow smaller electricity generators to enter the supply market, creating an innovative and flexible energy network for the future.


The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: “Developers, new start-up businesses and global corporations must have confidence in London’s power network if they are to continue to invest in the capital and drive jobs and growth.


“To maintain London's reputation as the best big city in the world to do business as our population continues to grow, we must look at cost effective, sustainable ways to make sure our electricity supply can meet demand.


“I’m grateful to the experts who have taken part in today’s summit and look forward to working with them to help create an energy network fit for the future.”


Ofgem’s Chief Executive Alistair Buchanan said: “Ofgem welcomes the opportunity to take part in the Mayor’s first electricity summit. Ofgem’s new regulatory RIIO model is designed to boost innovation and incentivise sustainability (the two ii’s of RIIO). London will benefit from this and is already benefitting from Ofgem’s Low Carbon Network Fund. The Low Carbon London project, which supports electric vehicles in the city, was one of the first winners for funding.”


Basil Scarsella, chief executive of UK Power Networks which delivers electricity to 2.3million customers across the capital, said: “We are delighted to be working with Mayor Johnson to develop plans for London’s world class energy infrastructure, supporting economic growth across its 32 boroughs and enabling the capital’s transformation to a low carbon city.


“This poses some major challenges but having just delivered the energy infrastructure for the Olympic and Paralympic Games, these are challenges we know we can meet head on.”

Notes to editors

1. Participants in today’s summit included: From the GLA: Mayor Boris Johnson and Environment and Political Advisor, Matthew PencharzFrom the electricity industry: Basil Scarsella (CEO of UK Power Networks), David Wright (Director of Electricity Transmission and Asset Management at National Grid), David Smith (CEO of the Energy Network Association), Graham Meeks (CEO of the Combined Heat and Power Association) From the electricity regulator: Alistair Buchanan (CEO of Ofgem) Representing London’s businesses: John Dickie (Director of Strategy and Policy at London First), Colin Stanbridge (CEO of London Chamber of Commerce and Industry), Brian Cress (Assistant Director at the CBI London) Representing London’s local authorities: Barry Smith (Operational Director of City Planning at the City of Westminster), Seema Manchanda (Assistant Director for Planning and Environmental Services at LB Wandsworth).They were asked to focus their discussion on Identifying growth hotspots and areas of existing network stress that require strategic infrastructure investment Establishing how key aspects of the Mayor’s energy strategy can reduce the identified investment requirements Estimating costs of the investments required and considering models for how they could be met/shared

2. The High-level Working Group will be chaired by the Deputy Mayor for Planning Sir Edward Lister and managed by GLA staff. Its membership is drawn from representatives from the Network Distribution Operators (DNOs), National Grid, Ofgem, from the business and development sector, from local authorities and Government. Its first meeting is likely to take place during January 2013.