Greater Manchester’s Local Energy Market project sets out ambitious plans to revolutionise the use and distribution of energy across the Greater Manchester region, supporting a low carbon future with the goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2038.

The Local Energy Market sees Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) work in collaboration with the 10 local authorities to draw up plans to increase energy efficiency and pave the way for the installation of new technologies, creating a low-carbon infrastructure which will support all 10 local authorities in the future. The project forms part of the bold vision for the North West; to become a UK leader in tackling the global climate emergency issue whilst supporting a green recovery.

The development of the Local Energy Market consists of a consortium of 12 partners who have appointed Energy Systems Catapult to support the development of Local Area Energy Plans across Greater Manchester. This pioneering approach looks at all types of buildings, transport systems, local industry, local renewable energy generation, storage and distribution assets across the 10 districts to help better understand how our energy could be generated, distributed and used in the future. This place-based approach brings stakeholders together to ensure at the end of every pipe and wire is an informed household or business making low carbon decisions with the best evidence.

Greater Manchester will also be the first place to utilise a new digital place-based public engagement and consultation process being developed by Energy Systems Catapult, helping inform residents about the low carbon options that might be available in their neighbourhood and receiving feedback and insight about their preferences.

Local Area Energy Plans can provide a solid foundation to support both local authorities, businesses and individual households make decisions to cost effectively cut carbon emissions – including the options for decarbonised heating, local energy generation and storage and development of private and public electric vehicle charging across Greater Manchester.

Building on an initial pilot the first Local Area Energy Plan is being developed for Bury and is expected to be consulted on in late spring, with Salford and Manchester following later in the summer. Each of the other boroughs will follow until early 2022.

Cllr Andrew Western, GMCA Lead for the Green City-Region, said: “This marks a key step in this innovative project being pioneered here in Greater Manchester, and one that will be a key element of our carbon-neutral ambitions by 2038.

“The local area energy plans will help us optimise our energy consumption through localised systems in each of the 10 boroughs, making it more efficient and cost-effective for residents and businesses. This is the first project of its kind to be delivered at this scale.

“This is the smart way forward and working together with our partners we can lay the groundwork for a low carbon future.”

Richard Halsey, Capabilities Director at Energy Systems Catapult, said: “Hundreds of local authorities have declared ‘Climate Emergencies’ with ambitious targets for getting to Net Zero, but few have credible and investable plans to meet their target or engage us as citizens in what this means for our homes and lives.

“Rolling out Local Area Energy Planning and the creation of new local energy markets can put Greater Manchester at the forefront of the UK’s race to Net Zero. It can deliver a smarter local energy system and catalyse a green industrial revolution creating a thriving low carbon economy that works for the people and businesses of Greater Manchester.”

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