• 31 feasibility studies to receive a share of £2 million to develop innovative ways to overcome barriers to Net Zero, as part of Innovate UK’s £60 million Net Zero Living programme – helping drive the government’s Levelling Up agenda.
  • Phase 2 will see up to six projects selected to demonstrate their feasibility outcomes.
  • Winners are from all parts of the UK; from Belfast to Bristol, Caerphilly to Cambridge, Orkney to Oldham, and Perth to Portsmouth.

Greater Manchester has been announced as one of the successful projects funded by Innovate UK’s Net Zero Living programme, receiving around £70k to help accelerate the delivery of the city-region’s Local Area Energy Plans (LAEPs). 

The city-region’s project – Local Area Energy Plans to Net Zero – will see a 12-week feasibility study take place from the start of April that explores the social barriers to delivering the LAEPs. This will bring together learnings from various other key energy decarbonisation projects in the city-region, including the Local Energy Market, Go Neutral Smart Energy, Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme and the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund.

Project partners include GMCA, Bruntwood, Regen, Electricity North West, Carbon Co-op, Green Longbow and Graham Oakes, with advisors Daikin, EY, Green Finance Institute, SSE Energy and Local Energy North West Hub. 

It’s hard to think of a challenge quite as complex as the UK’s journey to Net Zero. To even call it a journey suggests there is a clear route ahead. It’s not just the size of the challenge, it’s the intricate ways in which our systems are connected and interdependent, and the ways our people and societies operate within those systems. To meet Net Zero targets, the pace of innovation and implementation needs to accelerate significantly.

Innovate UK is providing this impetus by investing in a cleaner future through its £60m Net Zero Living Programme – designed to help places and businesses to accelerate the delivery of the transition to Net Zero.

In this first phase of the programme, 31 projects from across the UK, have been awarded a share of £2m through a competitive process, to carry out feasibility studies to understand what approaches to test in their local area. The programme focusses on overcoming ‘non-technical’ or social systemic barriers such as financing, governance, regulation, and engagement. Projects range from examples such as decarbonising transport, housing retrofit, and local energy planning. Following completion of these 31 feasibility studies, the projects will be invited to a potential second phase which will fund up to 6 places, £5m each to demonstrate some of the outputs from Phase 1.

Commenting on the launch of the programme, Innovate UK’s Mike Biddle, Executive Director for Net Zero said:

“Working with our partners in government, we are taking bold steps towards achieving Net Zero and Levelling Up our communities. The funding for these feasibility studies in 31 places across all corners of the UK is a strong indication of our commitment to creating a sustainable, greener and more equitable future for everyone.”

“Many of the solutions needed to reach Net Zero are starting to become available, but making it happen isn’t easy. Local authorities have a key role to play in addressing up to 30% of our carbon emissions, and even more through their influence on planning and policy decisions.”

“It is so exciting to see this work begin because of the huge potential it has to make a real impact for our communities. We’re eager to see the results of the feasibility studies and take the most promising projects to the next stage.”

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