In Greater London we consume 13 per cent of the national energy supply whilst only contributing 2 per cent of its production. This is something we established during an investigation by the Environment Committee on Plugging the Energy Gap in London, released in December 2011. I had this foremost in my mind as l heard the news coverage yesterday of the outgoing CEO of OFGEM (the regulator of the energy sector in the UK) Alaistar Buchanan’s comments on the UK being “on the brink” of an energy crisis and that households should be prepared for a sharp rise in energy bills within two years as Britain comes “dangerously close to power shortages”.
More than a year ago, we warned a gap in energy supplies could impact on customers’ bills in London. So in the report we called on the government to support London’s efforts to generate more of its own heat and power. We press for district heating schemes, which can efficiently heat thousands of homes, to be eligible for existing subsidies, and local generation projects being set up in the capital to be part of back-up plans for electricity supply shortfalls.
Furthermore l was enthused by a visit to Brixton Energy Co-op on Monday, but was concerned by the unnecessary barriers stopping more local community owned schemes, like their solar panels schemes, being rolled out. I was at Mr Buchanan’s speech and was disappointed that important initiatives, such as Brixton Energy, that increase local energy supplies were very much vacant from his suggestions on how to plug the energy gap.