The Mayor of London, Sadiq Kahn has revealed plans to introduce a new package of measures that will make buildings more energy efficient and at the same time help to tackle the climate emergency. He has declared it to be a ‘retrofit revolution’ for London.
These measures form part of the city’s Green New Deal mission, which was announced in November 2020 along with a £10 million investment to help fund areas such as the fourth phase of the London Community Energy Fund project as well as the Old Oak and Park Royal Solar PV programme and the Solar Together London group-buying scheme.
In partnership with Solar Energy UK, the mayor of London intends to launch new training and apprenticeships that focus on battery storage, electric vehicle (EV) charging and related smart tech. This training is vital as there is a notable skills gap in renewables throughout the UK. In order to sustain and create new green jobs more people need to undertake these and other renewables related apprenticeships.
The programme also known as Solar Skills London includes a placement to get trainees into solar businesses and targeted grant schemes to deliver training to staff at 100 solar installation companies in London. The new investment in London’s solar workforce will help to drive the mass uptake of solar energy this decade, enabling Londoners to learn more about solar technologies as well as creating more green jobs.
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There is already support for solar within the capital, with around 200 schools having signed up to have solar panels and other efficiency work completed with support and expertise from City Hall.
A key part of the Mayor’s target of reaching net zero by 2030 is to grasp the opportunity for more solar energy on London’s rooftops. His energy programmes alone are expected to more than double the amount of clean energy London generates from solar, but more investment will be needed to ensure the capital goes much further.
It is not only solar that is being supported in the mayor’s mission, but also green transport, energy efficiency programmes and green foundations groups such as Advance London and Better Future, which are designed to support the growth of new and existing business in the green economy.
Projects that are designed to help support decarbonisation and create jobs will receive funding. This will include ensuring the capital has the electricity infrastructure to support the electric vehicle (EV) rollout. In order to identify the best locations around the city for chargers as well as the best times to charge, innovative planning tools will be used.
The new programme of measures follows the mayor of London’s announcement in July last year that £1.5 billion would be allocated to infrastructure projects to kickstart London’s Covid-19 recovery.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said:
“Creating jobs and tackling the climate emergency are two of my priorities for London and that’s why I am delighted London is leading the way on a retrofit revolution.
A strong economic recovery from COVID-19 and a green recovery are not mutually exclusive. This transformative approach to retrofit will directly help those living in ageing, energy-inefficient homes, and could play a vital role cutting energy bills and tackling fuel poverty.”
As things stand, London’s homes and workplaces are responsible for 78% of the capital’s carbon emissions which means that almost all will need some degree of retrofitting over the next 10 years. London’s social housing urgently needs to be upgraded to be as energy efficient as possible. To be able to deliver the Mayor’s climate targets and tackle fuel poverty, improvements such as better insulation, ultra-low carbon heat and clean power sources like solar energy need to be put in place. Currently London has the third highest level of fuel poverty in the country, with Barking and Dagenham having the highest of any local authority in England.
The mayor will work with London councils and social housing providers on these ambitious new projects which will include an Innovation Partnership designed to facilitate social landlords and UK building firms working together to upgrade aging homes. This partnership has a potential value of £10 billion in retrofit works which could create around 150,000 jobs over the decade. Backed by the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) the creation of a 3.5 billion national retrofit centre of excellence was announced at the same time with the intention of helping assist social housing providers gain access to funding for major retrofit projects. It will also support providers in developing plans to improve their chances of being successful through the next round of the £160 million Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund. The national retrofit centre of excellence will make it possible to ensure homes are fit for the future, affordable and protect the most vulnerable from cold and damp homes.
These measures make up part of the necessary work to increase the quality and speed of retrofits which will make it possible for social housing landlords to cut carbon emissions and reduce heating costs for thousands of homes and so help to address the growing problem of fuel poverty. Social housing providers are able to access free support from summer 2021.
London’s low carbon and environmental goods and services sector, its ‘green economy’, was worth £48 billion in 2019/20, employing 317,000 people across 14,000 businesses. The sector has grown from £24 billion in 2010/11, employing 164,000 and 9,000 companies. The Green New Deal mission aims to double the size of the green economy in London to £100 billion by 2030, an ambition that would kick-start greater job growth over the next decade.