Greater Manchester Green City Region. Creating a greener, greater city region differently

Greater Manchester Community Energy Innovation Competition 2016

Four projects were selected through an Innovation Competition to develop an innovative project, or to take a new approach to tackle a critical issue.

Each was given a small grant to support their project and share their learning with other community energy groups.

Groups worked with their own consultants and Quantum Strategy and Technology was appointed to help the groups coordinate their work, link to key stakeholders and draw the findings of the projects together. 

The toolkit report covers: 

  • Project stories, lessons and useful information 
  • Top 10 innovation lessons
  • What to look out for next in community energy – upcoming technologies and models 
  • Where to get further support 

The four Innovation Competition winners were: 

  • Bee Sustainable: identifying mechanisms to sell the electricity generated by the proposed hydro scheme to multiple or distant customers through a “virtual private wire”.
  • Biomass Energy Co-op: to justify the technology and develop the business case for a biomass boiler fed from spent coffee grounds.
  • Carbon Co-op:  to develop a business plan for replicating or franchising the My Home Energy Planner whole house retrofit assessment service.
  • Oldham Community Power: to assess the viable options for broadening the membership of OCP in a low income area.

These groups are just four from the community energy sector in Greater Manchester and the North West that have installed at least one MW of community owned renewable energy and retrofitted 30 homes.

They are engaging local people on energy and developing new projects on district heat, LED lighting, PV, smart grids, electricity storage and energy saving. 

The community energy sector in Greater Manchester and the North West has a role to play in delivering the future mix of distributed low carbon/renewable energy and heat and in managing energy demand.

Collectively, community energy groups are supportive of each other and positively share their skills, experiences, resources and ideas. As such, they are an important resource to help develop a low carbon future.

The GM Community Energy Innovation Report Toolkik is for community energy organisations interested in developing projects to benefit local people and the environment in an ever-changing context.

It may be useful for supportive local authorities, local economic partnerships and district network operators.

Community energy organisations are a key part of redesigning our national energy infrastructure and energy use to a low carbon distributed generation flexible network.  

Should you want to find out more, the northern Community Energy sector will be out in full force for the Community Energy England Conference 'Powering Together - taking control of the energy revolution' which is being held at the University of Manchester on the weekend of 24 June.

Main Image: Manchester by Flickr user Tom

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