London Agency to lead the way on climate

"London should be number one in renewables in the UK, not Woking", says Allan Jones, appointed by London Mayor Ken Livingstone to head the London Climate Change Agency, launched in June.

Mr Jones helped Woking Council to a Queen's Award for Enterprise by developing local sustainable energy schemes and energy companies in the town, and recycling cash savings back into new energy investments. Woking currently hosts nearly 10% of the country's photovoltaics and has pioneered local energy companies for heat and power.

Mr Jones plans to replicate that approach on a larger scale in London, saying: "London has not made use of its scale - it only has small 'silo' projects and that won't bring in the big players."

The Mayor wants the new Agency to establish itself as a municipal company which will design, finance, build and operate low and zero-carbon capacity. It is envisaged that the much of the investment for climate change projects will come from the private sector. The aim is that the LCCA will be financially self-sufficient in five to ten years.

The London Development Agency said it has agreed in principle to support the Agency, "and has already committed £500,000". Discussions are in progress with other sponsors including HSBC and BP but details of their support are not available.

Mr Jones believes energy service companies like those he set up in Woking are "two to four years away" for London. Once the heat and power companies are set up he says they will also be able to trade electricity across utility wires.

What is not yet clear is how the Agency will work with existing sustainable energy organisations in London. Among them are the London Energy Partnership, launched in January 2004 to "provide a single voice for sustainable energy in London", taking in energy efficiency and fuel poverty as well as renewables.

The LEP's energy action plan has been delayed since August 2004, but chairman David Green says the LEP expects "shortly to announce London's first energy action areas, which will integrate renewable energy and energy efficiency."

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