Update: Shaping West London’s Energy Future

An update on two new reports from West London local authorities and partners...

Two new reports show how West London is leading the way towards net zero, while highlighting the ongoing need to invest in West London’s grid capacity to power sustainable economic and housing growth.

The seven West London Alliance boroughs have worked with neighbouring authorities and the Greater London Authority (GLA) on West London’s subregional Local Area Energy Plan (LAEP) which is the first of its kind in London. The first phase report, supported by Arup, lays out the scale and scope of work ahead as West London transitions towards its net zero targets. While boroughs are already taking forward many of the individual recommendations, the second phase of West London-wide work – due to start this year – will provide more detail on the solutions needed across areas including heat, transport, energy efficiency, energy demand and renewables, and how West London can implement them to become more productive and resilient.

One key theme in the LAEP report is constrained electrical grid capacity and difficulties in securing connections. While this is recognised as critical to the net zero transition at a national level, with Government and Ofgem setting out plans over recent months, the issue is already posing a challenge for housing and commercial development in West London. Boroughs are working closely with the GLA, which is engaging with electricity network operators, regulators and developers to understand and mitigate the issues in West London.

The GLA Infrastructure Coordination team’s latest update shows how the practical steps being taken are succeeding in unlocking development. It remains clear, though, that the long-term solution will require significant investment and continued reform.

Responding to the reports, Cllr. Shantanu Rajawat, Leader of Hounslow Council and Chair of the West London Alliance, said: “West London stands at the forefront, spearheading the charge to ensure that the capital’s electricity infrastructure is fully equipped to meet the demands of achieving Net Zero emissions.

“Our collaborative efforts in crafting a comprehensive West London Local Area Energy Plan vividly underscore the magnitude of the challenge, particularly with certain sections of the electricity grid facing immense strain.

“We recognise and support the efforts made by the GLA, Ofgem, and others to ease the strain on our electricity system. However, we feel the need to do more. This means investing more in our infrastructure, encouraging people to change their behaviours, and making our institutions stronger. These actions will help make West London more dynamic and resilient.

Mayor Jason Perry, London Councils’ Executive Member for Business, Economy and Culture, said:
“The publication of the local area energy plan in West London is a welcome part of the jigsaw to understand and proactively deliver the connections to the national grid we need to support new homes and economic growth in the capital.

“We look forward to the roll-out of these plans across all of London’s subregions. Without these upgrades in our electrical connections, there is a risk of seriously delaying not only the building of new homes, but also the infrastructure we need for London’s low carbon future.”

Commenting on these latest milestone reports, Andrew Dakers, CEO, West London Business, added:
“West London Business has been encouraging action and working with our partners on this issue since 2021. The LAEP is a major milestone in building the evidence base for greater investment. The GLA’s latest update sets out clearly the impressive work of the GLA’s Infrastructure Coordination team in helping developers find work arounds to the current constraints.

“At West London Business in H1 2024: working with WSP, supported by SEGRO, CBRE and OPDC to identify routes to accelerate investment in Park Royal’s grid and develop a smart grid/ local energy marketplace; working with partners to understand the specific upgrades now required to the High Voltage Transmission Network to bolster supply to the SSEN network in West London; and promoting Net Zero Neighbourhood best practice through the report just launched with WLB members LDN Collective and AESG.”

Download the West London LAEP report >>
Read the latest GLA update here and previous GLA publications on electrical capacity here

Previous West London Business update on this issue (June 2023) >>

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