Back to: In the home agenda
Kaela: So our first speaker is going to be starting us on this journey this morning is Polly Billington from UK 100, going to be talking about local area led approaches to making change happen. So Polly if I can invite you up here and handover to you.
Polly Billington: Thank you very much. If I peer over my glasses, it's not because I'm trying to be stern is just because I can't handle my varifocals, I do apologise. Can you will hear me at the back? Good. I'm hoping this is gonna work. Okay, right. So UK 100 is a network of local leaders, that's elected local leaders of the local authorities and councils who have pledged to secure their future of the communities by shifting to 100% clean energy by 2050. That was what they originally planned to do. There, now, when you actually look at what that means rather than them just shifting their assets we're talking about how they help the whole community do that. That's the residents and businesses as well. Back of a fag packet calculation, those 96 local authorities, bearing in mind some of the very small places like Worthing on the south coast of England, right up to Liverpool City region, we calculated about 22% of UK carbon dioxide emissions come from those communities, not just those local councils, but the communities overall. So if they all did what what they pledged to do by 2050 we will be a long way to solving the problem.#
Now the thing is a lot of places do a lot of little things. This slide indicates, shows some of the places that are involved in our network. So, for example, Oxford is doing lots of stuff on batteries. Swansea obviously was trying to develop its tidal lagoon. Nottingham has got lots of stuff on energy efficiency, which we'll talk about later. If we're gonna do this, everybody has got to do everything, and that's the big challenge. So what do we know about heat that is special and why we're talking about it from a local authority perspective? Because the heat is local, you'll have talked a lot about power and how you can have offshore wind and you can pump the electricity into the rest of the country. Heat happens in places is one of the reasons why a lot of you will have a gas boiler in your house, heating your water and doing your central heating. So it happens in a place is much more difficult to pump around. So that's why we need to be able to have those solutions locally. But there are limits to what local authorities can do, and I'm going to talk a bit about that. And they could play a crucial role if they had those powers to do things which will make cleaning up our heat easier. But they need those powers, and at the moment, some of the powers that they need they don't have.#
An example I've got is the Olympic Park. Now everybody can go on about Olympic Park for as long as you like. But an example was that the normal rules didn't apply to the Olympic Park. So when they said we're just gonna build 350 homes for the athletes over here and we're going to do it on a district heating system, which means that the heat is just - it gets pumped around all of those flats. Later on we're gonna build another 1000 or so on we want to put the infrastructure in for those now. Normally in these current rules would say, no, you can't do that, you can't put in infrastructure ahead of demand. But because it was the Olympic Park, they were okay this is special. This is a special situation. Well, it can't afford to be a special situation because increasingly that is what we're going to need to do.#
So what did local leaders need to be able to do? They've got to think about what they've got in terms of energy, actually, the energy potential in your community. Cornwall has got a very different situation from Nottingham because they've got loads of tidal, they've got loads of wind. Might do everyone, everyone's got wind today. And they've also got different powers because district councils are different from county councils, are different from a big city region, are different from Metropolitan boroughs, and they've gotta work out how they could use their powers well. And also, think about what you want to achieve. Because today, if you're talking about tackling climate, you've got to make sure that people are getting something else out of it, as well as cleaning up our energy and our heart. So are you reducing people's bills? Are you generating income either for the council itself in order to be able to pay for other things or generating income generally into the economy, locally? Are you trying to cut pollution? Because actually, heat can be pretty dirty? Do you want to create jobs? Those are all questions if you start to meet those things, then cleaning up heat becomes something that's attractive for people beyond simply tackling the climate.#
So got some good examples. Enfield has got a new energy from waste plant, right? You know, instead of the landfill, we now generate energy from waste. Massive. It deals with most of the waste from northwest London. Sorry, Northeast London. You can imagine. It's pretty huge. Now they worked out there is going to generate loads of heat from that. What am I going to use it for? Build - We also have a housing crisis. We're gonna be building more homes, let's make sure that that heat is used to heat up heat our homes. It's now getting so big that there's a potential for them to be able to build more homes and indeed possibly pipe the heat not that far, but to nearby boroughs, who might not have that same capacity. So that's one way of doing things.#
Another local example is Southampton. Now I've got up there geothermal source. I'll be honest with you. I didn't do physics over the age of 13, but I do know what the geothermal source basically means you get heat from the ground and you pump it up. Now some people, some places have that. Some places don't. But if you have that in your community, you can use that to heat your heat your area. Southampton. They've got a big district heating network in their city centre and that's broadly clean and has been for a long time because they understood what resources that they had. Now, Leeds doesn't have anything like that, but it is developing a heat district heating network in the town centre and also exploring hydrogen at the same time. Because if you don't have a natural solution like Southampton doesn't mean you can't find a solution.#
Internationally, Vancouver, for example, has got loads, the district heating systems, you can imagine it's a bit like England, in some ways, it's cold and it's wet and it's got very It's got much more extreme winters than ours. So they've got those district heating systems could, normally they are powered by gas, so they've got to be able to shift them over. And they know that really, because most of those systems are owned by the private sector they've gotta work with them, give them guidelines. This is how you're gonna have to move over, given time, give them certain plans, give them rules. In Copenhagen, they've been doing this for 30 or 40 years, and that means they've got an advance on us. But we can learn from them. Five mayors of different bits of Copenhagen came together back in 1984 and said we're going to do this together. Now, I like to say that this point, Copenhagen is about the size of Croydon. So don't suggest, think of it as there like a massive capital city in the way that we're used to big cities in this country? That doesn't mean it's not a solution, but just think about in terms of scale.#
And I put London here on an international example, because other global cities look at London in order to be able to work out how they could do things. And that might be one of things we need to think about here, because it is in some ways it almost another country. I've got an example here of what they're doing. This London heat map they have literally mapped where heat is generated and where heat is used in London and the thing, all of those dots are a little bit of heat generation or heat use on this one I pulled up is a good example because it's a hospital. Now Local authorities aren't in charge of hospitals, that's the NHS. But you've got local hospitals, which will be generating heat and using heat. Now, if they're generating more heat than they're using that's spare heat that other parts of the community could use. When you're looking at building homes, are you thinking about whether they should be built near a hospital or pipe the heat, the spare heat from the hospital, and if the hospital needs more heat than it's using, how you're going to generate it? That kind of mapping of what you need gives you much more opportunity to use the heat more wisely than we're currently doing now.#
What works at the moment? Because let's not pretend it's a total disaster. Okay, there is money, there is money for this kind of thing. At the moment it comes from the European Union. But as we know, not for long, so we'll need a replacement. There is help from national government for local authorities to be able to do this more, and that needs, but we need to make sure that that isn't just about small projects, but thinking of it in a big area and there is now support locally through the local energy hubs, which support those projects. But the problem is with power that you've got to think about what you're doing better and what you need to be able to do it differently because in London they've got loads of power on the transport and the roads, but they haven't got very much power on energy or heat, so they've been thinking creatively. Transport for London owns land and generates heat, so actually is now becoming a source of heating for homes in the capital, and you need to ask for more powers so that you can do what you want to.#
So what needs to change: more powers to local leaders so they can do this, they need to build this, to create a master plan. They need to, also, arguably, the government should require local authorities to develop these kind of strategies so that they can work properly in their communities. And they also need to, they would need to be able to connect, require developers to connect to those heat networks. Otherwise, private companies will just do it their way rather than work for the whole community. Planning is a really big power that local authorities have got and they could be using this to recognise the need for clean heat and I'll say this one last thing really, I've got more than that, but I've run out of time. Ofgem needs to be - a lot of rules need to allow heat networks. The example of the Olympic Park is a very clear one. They got a special - what they call a derogation from Ofgem, and that enabled them to do it. We need to regulate heat, remember, everything is connected. The solution won't be the same everywhere and we need to keep the economic benefits local too. This is a very complicated slide that I don't have enough time to explain. But I will talk to you about it on the on the tables, if you'd like to. This is ultimately how national government can help local government really clean up heat and the rest of our economies locally too. Thank you.
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