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Policy SI3 Energy Infrastructure


  1. Boroughs and developers should engage at an early stage with relevant energy companies and bodies to establish the future energy requirements and infrastructure arising from large-scale development proposals such as Opportunity Areas, Town Centres, other growth areas or clusters of significant new development.
  2. Energy masterplans should be developed for large-scale development locations which establish the most effective energy supply options. Energy masterplans should identify:
    1. major heat loads (including anchor heat loads, with particular reference to sites such as universities, hospitals and social housing)
    2. heat loads from existing buildings that can be connected to future phases of a heat network
    3. major heat supply plant
    4. possible opportunities to utilise energy from waste
    5. secondary heat sources
    6. opportunities for low temperature heat networks
    7. possible land for energy centres and/or energy storage
    8. possible heating and cooling network routes
    9. opportunities for futureproofing utility infrastructure networks to minimise the impact from road works
    10. infrastructure and land requirements for electricity and gas supplies
    11. implementation options for delivering feasible projects, considering issues of procurement, funding and risk, and the role of the public sector.
  3. Development Plans should:
    1. identify the need for, and suitable sites for, any necessary energy infrastructure requirements including upgrades to existing infrastructure
    2. identify existing heating and cooling networks and opportunities for expanding existing networks and establishing new networks.
  4. Major development proposals within Heat Network Priority Areas should have a communal heating system
    1. the heat source for the communal heating system should be selected in accordance with the following heating hierarchy:
      1. connect to local existing or planned heat networks
      2. use available local secondary heat sources (in conjunction with heat pump, if required, and a lower temperature heating system)
      3. generate clean heat and/or power from zero-emission sources
      4. use fuel cells (if using natural gas in areas where legal air quality limits are exceeded all development proposals must provide evidence to show that any emissions related to energy generation will be equivalent or lower than those of an ultra-low NOx gas boiler)
      5. use low emission combined heat and power (CHP) (in areas where legal air quality limits are exceeded all development proposals must provide evidence to show that any emissions related to energy generation will be equivalent or lower than those of an ultra-low NOx gas boiler)
      6. use ultra-low NOx gas boilers.
    2. CHP and ultra-low NOx gas boiler communal or district heating systems should be designed to ensure that there is no significant impact on local air quality.
    3. Where a heat network is planned but not yet in existence the development should be designed for connection at a later date.

The Mayor will work with boroughs, energy companies and major developers to promote the timely and effective development of London’s energy system (energy production, distribution, storage, supply and consumption).

London is part of a national energy system and currently sources approximately 95 per cent of its energy from outside the GLA boundary. Meeting the Mayor’s zero-carbon target by 2050 requires changes to the way we use and supply energy so that power and heat for our buildings and transport is generated from clean, low-carbon and renewable sources. London will need to shift from its reliance on using natural gas as its main energy source to a more diverse range of low and zero-carbon sources, including renewable energy and secondary heat sources. Decentralised energy will become an increasingly important element of London’s energy supply and will help London become more self-sufficient in relation to its energy needs.

Developments should connect to existing heat networks, wherever feasible. Stimulating the delivery of new district heating infrastructure enables the opportunities that district heating can deliver to be maximised. The Mayor has identified Heat Network Priority Areas, which can be found on the London Heat Map website[123]. These identify where in London the heat density is sufficient for heat networks to provide a competitive solution for supplying heat to buildings and consumers. Data relating to new and expanded networks will be regularly captured and made publicly available.


Where developments are proposed within Heat Network Priority Areas but are beyond existing heat networks, the heating system should be designed to facilitate future connection. This may include for example, allocating space in plant rooms for heat exchangers, safeguarding suitable routes for pipework and making provision for connections at the site boundary. The Mayor is taking a more direct role in the delivery of heat networks so that more new and existing communally-heated developments will be able to connect into them, and has developed a comprehensive decentralised energy support package. Further details are available in the London Environment Strategy.

To ensure heat networks operate efficiently, effectively and reliably, the Mayor supports standards such as the CIBSE CP1 Heat Networks: Code of Practice for the UK and the Heat Trust standard. These set out principles for good design, specification and operation of networks and can help ensure fairness for customers of heat networks. The Mayor also supports the development of low-temperature networks for both new and existing systems as this allows cost-effective use of low-grade waste heat.

Further information about the relevance of CHP in developments of various scales will also be provided in the Energy Planning Guidance document, which will be kept updated as technology changes. However, it is not expected that gas engine CHP will be able to meet the standards required within areas exceeding air quality limits with the technology that is currently available.

Increasing the amount of new renewable energy sources in London developments is supported. This includes the use of energy from waste schemes that are connected to a heat network, as well as solar photovoltaics and solar thermal, both on buildings and at a larger scale on appropriate sites. There is also potential for wind and hydropower-based renewable energy in some locations within London.

Electricity is essential for the functioning of any modern city. Demand is expected to rise in London in response to a growing population and economy, the increased take up of electric vehicles, and the switch to electrifying heating systems (such as through heat pumps). It is of concern that the electricity network and substations are at or near to capacity in a number of areas, especially in central London. The Mayor will work with the electricity industry, boroughs and developers to ensure that appropriate infrastructure is in place to meet London’s needs. Energy masterplans are expected to identify any necessary electricity infrastructure.

Demand for natural gas in London has been decreasing over the last few years, with a 25 per cent reduction since 2000[124]. This trend is expected to continue due to improved efficiency and a move away from individual gas boilers. Alongside the continuing programme of replacing old metal gas mains (predominantly with plastic piping), local infrastructure improvements may be required to supply growth in Opportunity Areas and there may also be a requirement for the provision of new pressure reduction stations. These requirements should be identified in energy masterplans.

[124] Based on data from London Energy and Greenhouse Gas Inventory (LEGGI)

National Grid and Southern Gas Networks operate London’s gas distribution network. Both companies are implementing significant gasholder de-commissioning programmes, replacing them with smaller gas pressure reduction stations. The Mayor will work with key stakeholders including the Health and Safety Executive to achieve the release of the resulting brownfield sites for redevelopment.

Land will be required for energy supply infrastructure including energy centres. These centres can capture and store energy as well as generate, supply and distribute it. The ability to efficiently store energy could reduce overall energy consumption, reduce peak demand and make renewable energy more effective.