London has been ranked the worst city in England and Wales for its use of renewable energy in a study put together as part of Greener London Week.
In an analysis by think tank Green Alliance, it was found that just 0.05% of electricity consumption in the capital was met by renewables, placing it at the bottom of a list topped by Grimsby, which derived 28.27% from renewable sources.
The research also reconfirmed London’s poor solar deployment, with less than one per cent of its households equipped with PV panels. This is the worst proportion of solar roofs in the 20 largest cities in England and Wales by population, with Cardiff, Middlesbrough and Sheffield all ranked higher.
While London’s low solar deployment is a factor resulting from the high level of rental properties and limited roof space, its renewables performance remains well below expectations.
A separate league table ranking London boroughs placed Lewisham far ahead of other London boroughs for renewable energy generation however this is mainly from biomass and waste sources. Despite the limited deployment of solar, the south-eastern borough is generating 30% of its electricity consumption from renewable sources, significantly higher than 0.05% for London as a whole.
In response to the report, Matthew Pencharz, deputy mayor for environment & energy said: “The Mayor has helped London lead the way in renewable energy by delivering the installation of tens of thousands of solar panels on homes and large scale developments across the city, which have saved tonnes of carbon and money. Londoners’ will continue to benefit if we invest in locally sourced power as it will drive jobs and growth in our booming low carbon sector and make our air cleaner.”
Green Alliance claims only 191MW of renewable capacity has been deployed across the capital, a figure which a number of environmental groups have called on the next London mayor to address.
Amy Mount, senior policy adviser at Green Alliance, said: “Currently London is missing a huge opportunity to be a world leading low carbon city by not doing more to exploit renewables. Our capital city could become the world’s biggest urban solar farm.
“The next mayor doesn’t need to wait for national government to sort its confused energy policy out – we can start delivering on London’s renewable potential right away.”
Lord Barker, chair of the London Sustainable Development Commission and former energy minister, said: “The terrific progress in certain London boroughs shows just what is possible when you combine the latest clean energy technology and the will to drive change. London, as Europe's only mega-city, has a vital leadership role to play and the next mayor needs to build on these examples to transform the deployment of decentralised energy right across our city.”
Labour’s Sadiq Khan, Conservative candidate Zac Goldsmith and the Green Party’s Sian Berry have all pledged to boost solar deployment throughout the city if elected as mayor. They would require Transport for London to source a proportion of its energy use from solar, as well as implement a series of other measures to increase renewables across London.