London mayor Sadiq Khan’s has been urged to include special considerations for solar in his plans to launch an independent energy supplier for London.
The London Assembly Environment Committee has this week published its ‘Getting Warmer’ report, which highlights how measures undertaken by the mayor and his team could help alleviate fuel poverty in the capital.
While the report focuses predominantly on the mayor’s much-vaunted push to launch Energy for Londoners (EfL), an energy supplier initially planned for businesses but potentially earmarked for the residential market too, it too discusses solar at length.
Describing the technology as “one of the of the most suitable forms” of generation within London, the report’s authors urge the mayor to “look carefully” at previous recommendations issued to his predecessor Boris Johnson to help boost the uptake of solar in the capital.
Johnson had an intermittent relationship with solar during his mayoralty. While the now foreign secretary publicly slammed subsidy cuts he described as a “sharp cliff edge”, the London Assembly was forced to issue him a deadline after promises to lobby on solar’s behalf failed to materialise, and solar deployment in the capital continued to falter under his stewardship.
The Assembly’s new report gives special mention to ways in which Khan could resolve this, raising the possibility of incentivising residential solar by directly procuring generated electricity re-sell under the EfL scheme.
The report also raises the concept of a ‘London feed-in tariff’, something which has been discussed within the mayor’s chamber before.
In concept a London FiT would act as a top-up to the national scheme and had been proposed by Labour Assembly member Murad Qureshi in the past.
Boris Johnson snubbed the idea in early 2016, just months before his mayoralty came to an end.
Also discussed within the report is the possibility of London establishing its own version of the Green Deal, either under the scope of EfL or alongside it, which would offer cheaper loans to pay for energy efficiency upgrades and small-scale renewables.
The suggestion is interestingly timed given the imminent re-launch of the Green Deal, which the new owner of the Green Deal Finance Company Killian Pender discussed at length with Solar Power Portal back in March.
Leonie Cooper, chair of the London Assembly Environment Committee, said that the capital had found energy improvements “particularly challenging”.
“It has always got less than its fair share of available funding under the national schemes, and so less work has been carried out. Other areas such as Scotland that were once in the same position have secured more than their share, by working actively with social landlords, overcoming barriers for installers and by providing additional capital funding.
“This lack of energy improvement work has contributed to London’s recent huge rises in fuel poverty.
“Landlords should be supported to improve their properties – this will help those renters who struggle to pay rising energy prices, as well as benefitting the environment,” she said.