Innovation without adoption is ineffective, and sometimes in order to get people to adopt new innovations, you have to use policy to get the ball rolling.
The Mayor of London is definitely pushing the bounds on this front, with ambitious targets for energy reduction and sustainable development (and not without some pretty scared faces within the property development industry). His 2004 London Plan set the tone, insisting that all major developments generate 10% of their energy needs on-site through renewables, as well as requiring other green performance improvements. Since then a whole suite of other guidelines, initiatives and regulations have come out, including the first London-wide energy strategy.
Theres still the question of how to practically implement this on the local level within each borough. The boroughs are the local planning authorities who have to conduct the intense negotiation with developers about what goes on each site. To give them back-up, the Mayor just released a tremendously useful document that would be well worth reading for any other authority looking to encourage similar things.
It has bits of policy that you can cut and paste into your own policy documents: the dummys guide to all the different renewable technologies that might be used and what kind of projects they are most suited to, case studies of successful implementation, a checklist of good arguments to put to developers to encourage innovation, suggestions for practical phasing, lessons and pitfalls to learn from, how to identify community and business partners to help achieve goals, and a great glossary.
All in all, the kind of thing that might make all the wishful thinking come true on the ground, and a great model for anyone looking to make a policy framework that works. Its still early days to see finished developments that have been affected by the new London policies but check back for updates.