London Mayor Sadiq Khan has outlined plans to funnel £10m into the energy efficiency, low-carbon transport and skills sector as part of the capital’s plans for a green Covid-19 recovery.
The funding is being allocated by the Mayor’s Green New Deal team, set up to deliver a just transition to London’s 2030 net-zero target. Included in the Deal is a commitment to double the size of the green economy in London, which currently represents 5% of the capital’s jobs and is worth £48bn, within a decade.
Three subsectors of the green economy have been selected to benefit from fresh funding: retrofitting for buildings; low-carbon public transport and active transport and green skills.
Retrofitting, Khan said in a statement, can quickly create skilled jobs and has social benefits as well as climate benefits. The funding will be allocated as a priority to areas most affected by fuel poverty. Projects receiving funding include North London District Energy, which is bringing low-carbon heat networks online, and three community solar programmes.
The transport proportion of the funding will be allocated to projects developing infrastructure for bus charging, or working to make walking and cycling more accessible.
And, in terms of skills, Better Futures and Advance London will both receive a cut of the funding. Better Futures supports SMEs to build in-house knowledge regarding cleantech and energy management, while Advance London is managed by the London Waste and Recycling Board, with the aim of improving circular economy skills and scaling startups with circular principles at the heart of their business models.
“With just under a year to go until the UK hosts COP26, the government this week set out its ambition for meeting its climate targets, but this can only be achieved if the Government gives cities the power and funding they need to deliver,” Khan said, referring to Boris Johnson’s 10-point green recovery plan, published late on Tuesday (17 November).
“We have a proven track record that shows when cities are empowered to deliver, they are given the ability to deliver the transformation that we need to our economy and society.”
Building on the summer economic update and subsequent investments in active transport, sovereign green bonds and a Green Jobs Taskforce, the 10-point plan allocated new funding and policy supports to sectors including hydrogen, nuclear, wind and carbon capture and storage (CCS). But many local authorities have been asking for clarity about how these supports will be allocated to ensure they deliver the government’s commitment to “level up” regional economies.
Here comes the sun
In related news, the City of London Corporation, which manages the capital’s Square Mile district, has this week signed a power purchase agreement (PPA) to support the construction of a 49.9MW solar farm in Dorset.
Under the PPA, signed with international renewable developer Voltalia, the City Corporation will buy all of the energy produced by the array for a 15-year period. Once the solar farm comes online, it will meet more than half of the City Corporation’s annual electricity demands
The City Corporation announced last month that it is targeting net-zero by 2040 and hopes the new PPA will push it towards this milestone. It also anticipates a £3m reduction in energy costs as a result of the deal.
The chair of the City Corporation’s corporate asset sub-committee, Jamie Ingham Clark, said the organisation “can’t allow the uncertain economic landscape in the wake of Brexit and Covid-19” to prevent climate action.
He said: “This is a pioneering scheme which we hope will lead the way for local authorities across the UK. It means they can play their part in reducing emissions without the risks of owning their own energy firms or infrastructure and without the need for Government funding.”