Mayor teams up with power giant to revolutionise London's energy supply

Community-scale power plants, a dedicated grid to supply London alone and the marriage of waste management and energy production were among the ideas on the table when Mayor Ken Livingstone announced the corporate partner which could help make the vision of the London Climate Change Agency a reality.

The brainchild of deputy mayor Nicky Gavron, the LCCA was launched last summer (see related story) in an effort to take practical action to address London's carbon footprint.

Since then it has been in the process of selecting a partner from the commercial sector as well as identifying potential projects.

On Monday, March 6 the mayor announced the partner would be French energy giant EDF, owners of the capital's primary supplier, London Energy, and there were around 40 projects in the pipeline.

While the details of the projects were not revealed, the LCCA strategy seemed to lean heavily on small-scale combined heat and power (CHP) stations along with other more grandiose projects which would take longer to deliver.

And while the topic of energy from waste incinerators was raised at the launch, in view of the mayor's desire to bring the city's waste management under a single waste authority, it was not among the preferred methods to power London, with the LCCA's chief development officer, Allan Jones, dismissing incineration as an inefficient way to use waste as a fuel.

EDF already runs a number of CHP plants in London which provide cheap heating for their neighbours, as well as the city's existing electricity network.

"The partnership with EDF Energy places London at the forefront of tackling climate change by encouraging the use of combined heat and power and renewable energy," said Mr Livingstone.

"Not only could this lead to a more secure and stable and sustainable energy supply for London, but also to reduced household bills.

"The core of what we're trying to do rests on the fact that the vast majority of energy that's produced by conventional and nuclear power stations is wasted

As is perhaps befitting for a man in his political position, Livingstone has long-backed the idea of a decentralised power network (see related story).

Vincent de Rivaz, chief executive of EDF Energy, said: "It is exciting for me to hear the mayor's passionate vision on addressing climate change and how together we can tackle it.

"I completely share the mayor's view that [it is] one of societty's biggest challenges.

"Through this partnership we will develop....schemes using a combination of technologies such as solar thermal, photovoltaics, ground source heat pumps and small scale wind turbines as well as CHP."

Allan Jones said some of these projects could be delivered as soon as next year, while others were much bigger and would take several years to come to fruition.

London Development Agency - the mayor's business arm - will have a stake of 19% in the LCCA's newly-formed energy services company (esco), with EDF taking the remaining 81%.

When it comes to financing a project, for every £1 million spend, the esco will pay £200,000 and the rest will be funded through loans.

by Sam Bond



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