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Open Forum questions and answers

Answers to some of the questions from the Open Forum on 26 October 2020.

Last updated: 8 February 2021

Questions on green energy

Q. Caryn and Stephen - What is your view on the replacement of fossil by wind, solar and wave power?

A. All these renewable energy sources are very good and provide an alternative to fossil fuel sources which must be carefully considered. While they may not provide all the energy requirements for Westminster’s energy needs, they are likely to contribute in small part towards the overall council goals.

Tidal wave motion is not common within the UK but increasingly being used in Europe. There are very few points along the Thames within Westminster where the tide can be accessed to generate energy. However, the council, having seen its potential, has recently commissioned a feasibility report to assess the suitability of using a water source heat pump at PDHU due to its close proximity to the Thames. This recognises the clear intentions of making use of all available renewable sources of energy and if feasible, would contribute significantly towards the council’s carbon savings aims.

Q. Mark – What schemes are there to help us put in double glazing or move away from gas boilers?

A. Moving away from gas boilers is part of the efforts being considered by the council such as introducing heat pumps at the Pimlico District Heating Undertaking (PDHU).

As part of the investment programme in HRA managed homes, double glazing is already being installed when the current windows are in disrepair. However, there are further consideration when the blocks have heritage value either being listed or in a conservation area which over 45 per cent of our Social housing stock is. Sometimes the decision has been to retain the original windows in these cases but in the future, we will be considering alternative measures such as Secondary glazing.

Q. Peter - Does Westminster have a clear pathway to decarbonise energy used for heating in the existing residential building stock?

A. There are clear plans to decarbonise energy to existing residential buildings, such as on the council’s district heating network in Pimlico which serves over 3,200 properties. This includes the potential use of waste heat from the London underground tube network and other waste heat sources like substations and replacing gas fired equipment.

Q. Richard - Will the Pimlico District Heating Undertaking (PDHU) move away from using gas to using natural stores of heat?

A. PDHU has started looking into decarbonisation of its plant and network with the aim of coming off its dependence on gas.

We have recently commissioned a feasibility report to assess the suitability of using a water source heat pump at PDHU due to its close proximity to the Thames. This recognises the clear intentions of making use of all available renewable sources of energy and if feasible, would contribute significantly towards the council’s carbon savings aims.