Greater Manchester has begun work on ambitious plans to revolutionise energy networks across the city-region, supporting a lower carbon future and our goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2038.
The proposals for a local energy market (LEM) would see Greater Manchester’s 10 boroughs draw up plans to increase energy efficiency and pave the way for new technologies and low-carbon infrastructure in the future.
By generating more energy locally and storing it within a localised system, Greater Manchester will be able to improve efficiency – with energy travelling a shorter distance from where it’s generated to the point of use, reducing our overall environmental footprint.
The project will also improve our city-region’s economic and environmental resilience, putting in place the energy infrastructure and grid capacity to support the use of lower-carbon energies, including the charging points that will be needed for the growth of electric vehicles.
The two-year project is funded by a £3m grant from the Industrial Strategy Challenge fund, delivered by UK Research and Innovation, and will run from July 2020 to June 2022. Partners in the project are Electricity North West and Cadent, which recently carried out a joint study into energy masterplanning in Greater Manchester; Hitachi Europe; Bruntwood; Ovo Energy; Daikin Europe; Northwards Housing; Carbon Coop; Regen SW; Cornwall Insights; and Graham Oakes Consulting.
Cllr Andrew Western, GMCA Lead for the Green City-Region, said: “This is a genuinely innovative project to be pioneering here in Greater Manchester, and one that will be a key element of our carbon-neutral ambitions by 2038.
“We know that we need to not only reduce but also optimise our energy consumption. A localised system can be a more efficient and cost-effective one for residents and businesses, allowing us to make the transition to new hydrogen and heat networks and increase the capacity of our electricity network.
“This is the smart way forward, and working together with our partners we can lay the groundwork for a low carbon future.”
Rob Saunders, Challenge Director, Prospering from the Energy Revolution, UKRI says: “The PEFR challenge aims to revolutionise energy delivery for consumers through new local smart systems, creating a modern energy supply that is clean, efficient and affordable. By doing this we can demonstrate that we can live low carbon lifestyles more conveniently and comfortably.
“The LEM project in Greater Manchester brilliantly showcases the change that the Prospering for the Energy Revolution (PEFR) challenge is bringing about. Creating a local energy market in Greater Manchester will deliver quantifiable efficiency and productivity benefits resulting in reduced costs and carbon emissions, high quality jobs and greater resilience in the local energy system.”
The project was launched during a live Q&A session on Thursday, 24 September, as part of Greater Manchester’s Green Summit.
Energy use and generation is a critical area of action for reducing our environmental impact and combatting climate change.
In its annual report this year, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) called for the strengthening of energy networks to accommodate the electrification of heat and transport. Their report argues that reaching net-zero emissions “will require all energy to be delivered to consumers in zero-carbon forms”, including electricity, hydrogen, and heat networks.