Sadiq Khan’s decisive victory in the London Mayoral elections means a “clean energy revolution” will soon be underway in the capital following the Labour mayor’s election pledge to be “the greenest mayor London has ever had”.
Following a bitter campaign between Khan and Conservative candidate Zac Goldsmith, the Labour candidate won out after attracting well over a million first preference votes.
As well as his plans for affordable housing and cheaper travel around the city, Khan also pledged to deliver several key renewable energy programmes, not least the establishment of ‘Energy for Londoners’.
This not-for-profit company will seek to “take a lead” on clean energy initiatives across the city as well as create a dedicated solar strategy which will see more solar deployed on London’s rooftops particularly on Transport for London (TfL) Great London Authority (GLA) land and buildings.
Khan’s plan also involves ensuring new developments incorporate solar and other low-carbon technologies
Speaking on the election trail back in February, Khan said: “Energy for Londoners will bring a renewed focus to our drive to make London a cleaner, greener city. It will expand the use of solar across the city, and support communities who want to set up their own green energy generation schemes.
The Solar Trade Association (STA), which contributed to some of his election proposals, believes Khan’s success will be good for the capital.
Speaking to Solar Power Portal this morning, a spokesperson said: “We're pleased that Sadiq Khan has won, we helped to feed in to his manifesto asks on solar. We're particularly pleased that one of those is the dedicated solar strategy and a specific mention of the potential of solar on roofs to power TfL, the GLA estate and we see a bright future of solar."
According to the Mayor’s office TfL owns more than 680 sites within Greater London’s borders, including 70 car parks, but has said that there are limits as to what it can install solar on.
Khan also intends to issue green bonds and explore using other debt-based financial instruments to invest in green energy projects, as well as investigating steps to divest the London Pension Fund Authority of its remaining investments in fossil-fuel industries.
Community energy projects will also be supported by a “dating service” pairing potential investors with commercial premises interested in installing solar.
The new mayor has been particularly critical of the national government’s cuts to solar subsidies, claiming at the environmental hustings in March that these policy changes had caused solar firms to leave the country.
“We’ve gone from being a global leader on environmental issues to a middle-ranking global environmental city at best. The Tories have squandered a fantastic green legacy and I’m doubly determined to make London once again a beacon to the world,” Khan said.
London was recently ranked the worst city in England and Wales for its use of renewable energy in a study by think tank Green Alliance, which found that just 0.05% of electricity consumption in the capital was met by renewables.
It also found that less than one per cent of its households were equipped with PV panels, which is the worst proportion of solar roofs in the 20 largest cities in England and Wales by population.
A report published before the election by a coalition of environmental groups called for the new mayor to increase London’s solar capacity tenfold by 2025, rolling out solar across an area equivalent to around 200,000 London rooftops.