Low Carbon London
Decentralised energy is produced close to where it will be used, rather than running through the national grid from a large plant based elsewhere. This local generation helps to bring down energy costs, lower carbon emissions and make communities more prosperous and resilient.
BuroHappold Engineering was commissioned by the business group London First to undertake a detailed study that identified and address barriers to the delivery of decentralised energy in the capital.
Property developers across London are active in trying to deliver decentralised energy on their sites, primarily in the form of combined heat and power (CHP), but have been faced with a range of barriers. Our main objective for this study was to develop ways to overcome these issues, and draw up a plan of action that would facilitate delivery in line with the Mayor’s target of 25% decentralised energy by 2025 and 50% by 2050.
Our study built on existing research into CHP and district heating. We undertook wide consultation with key players in the market, including both the public sector Greater London Authority (GLA) and private sector stakeholders such as property developers, energy service and utilities providers, financiers and advisors.
We then carried out a thorough technical and economic analysis of decentralised energy schemes, taking into account the role of the public sector, economic and engineering challenges, impacts on development potential, commercial and funding structures, contracts, legal and regulatory issues, supply chain capacity, and the potential of harnessing energy from waste.
Alasdair Young, Partner
Through this comprehensive work, we found that economies of scale in decentralised energy favoured wider networks. Because of this, we recommended the use of an integrating party to plan and implement these larger scale systems, and identified the London boroughs ideally placed to undertake this role. Within our report, we suggested creating a centre of expertise within the GLA that would support the boroughs in taking the lead on the development of decentralised energy in London.
Services and approach
When we integrate our specialist teams around an approach, the benefits to the client multiply