Government should support London to help reduce UK ‘Energy Gap’, says assembly

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 as a model for its ‘Green Deal’ proposals to help improve energy efficiency nationally.

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

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. This is anticipated to cost around £200 billion over the next decade, raising the prospect of higher energy bills in the future.

District heating schemes, which can efficiently heat thousands of homes, should also be eligible for existing subsidies and local generation projects being set up in the capital 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. For any query with respect to this article or any other content requirement, please contact Editor at htsyndication@hindustantimes.com

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