London mayor, Boris Johnson, has moved a step closer to becoming the capital’s smallest electricity supplier allowing him to improve the viability of local energy projects.

London will be the first public authority in the UK to receive a new type of ‘junior’ electricity licence.
London will be the first public authority in the UK to receive a new type of ‘junior’ electricity licence.

London will be the first public authority in the UK to receive a new type of ‘junior’ electricity licence, and the Mayor expects to be buying and selling power by early 2015. It’s claimed the move will enable him to offer the capital’s small electricity producers up to 30% more for their excess energy than existing suppliers do, which he will then sell on to other public bodies such as Transport for London and the Met Police.

The Mayor has invited the electricity market to come forward with proposals to provide the additional services needed to begin supplying as a ‘junior’ licensee. This includes the management and maintenance of the large scale systems involved in supplying electricity in London, and follows the Mayor’s initial application for the new licence in March 2013.

It’s anticipated that improving the viability of local energy projects could help unlock more than £300 million worth of investment for 22 new heat and power projects already in the pipeline. In the longer term, it could help generate over £8 billion of investment and around 850 jobs a year until 2025. It could also help meet the target to produce 25% of London’s energy from local sources by 2025.

The Mayor will initially buy from generators owned by London’s boroughs and public bodies. He will sell it on, at cost price, to other public sector organisations, such as Transport for London and the Met Police and if the scheme proves successful, plans to extend it to include private sector energy producers in London as well. Twelve boroughs and waste authorities already have schemes which could benefit. Together they are capable of generating around 76 megawatts of electricity.

Johnson said: “Nurturing a new crop of small, low carbon energy producers across the capital is the key to a more secure, cost-effective and sustainable energy supply for us all. Investing in locally sourced power will help keep Londoners’ fuel bills down and drive innovation, jobs and growth in this city’s burgeoning low carbon sector.”