This week the Labour party announced its candidates for metro mayor for the regions of Greater Manchester, the West Midlands and the Liverpool City Region. As Sadiq Khan has demonstrated in London, the new metro mayors being introduced in up to nine city regions next May will have real authority and be responsible for setting out a strategy for growing their city region economy, with certain powers over key issues like housing, energy and transport. The combined authorities will in theory take on more functions than they were allowed to under previous legislation which could mean genuine opportunities opening up for the sustainable energy sector and for the health and wellbeing of our cities. Liverpool metro mayor hopeful Steve Rotherham has already talked of how he wants to power homes across Merseyside through tidal energy and create a new Liverpool City Region Renewable Energy company to bring down energy bills. “Investing in green energy,” he said, “means helping future generations save money as well as boosting our local economy through apprenticeship and employment opportunities.” Similarly, in his manifesto Sion Simon – Labour’s candidate for West Midlands metro mayor – has pledged to crack down on pollution and tackle fuel poverty through investment in the green economy, local energy production and investment in energy efficiency measures.
Business Green 19th August 2016 read more »
It has been four years since the Stratford site’s transformation from East London wilderness to the host of London’s 2012 Olympic triumph was complete. But for the UK chief executive of the energy company which powered the Games, the area is a blueprint for a new kind of energy system which is only just beginning to emerge. Engie is not a household name but the £32bn French company, formerly known as GDF Suez, is one of the largest power generators in the UK and stands shoulder to shoulder with the Big Six in the business energy supply market. In winning the bid to power the London Olympic Park the company grasped the opportunity to turn its energy supply business on its head and create a model which is being quietly rolled out across the UK from Whitehall to Leeds. The site includes two energy centres and a network of over 11 miles of pipe work which control a small fleet of biomass boilers, combined heat and power plants and water storage units. Mr Petrie explains that biomass provides the steady baseload power needed throughout the day by burning waste wood sourced from UK landscapers at 650 degrees. To meet energy demand over peak demand periods the energy can also be stored in hot water tanks which are topped up using combined and heat and power boilers which run on gas. As a result the Olympic Park is able to generate 75pc of its own energy with carbon emissions 20pc lower than the rest of the UK while using smart technology to keep costs low. It’s a feat Government can currently only dream of achieving at a national level as it grapples with the eye-watering economics of supporting large-scale low-carbon projects and the complexity of shifting households on to smart energy meters. For Engie the shift away from its past as conventional energy behemoth has only just begun. “The first thing is to connect the network across East London. The second is to become more and more involved with the end-user through intelligent systems which can monitor their useage and help customers to optimise their energy use,” Mr Petrie says “Maybe in 10 to 20 years we could be selling something else aside from just energy.”
Telegraph 19th Aug 2016 read more »