In the run up to the Greater Manchester Green Summit, we’re previewing what to expect on the day and hearing from our partners.

In this blog, official partner Clear Futures outline their long-term strategic approach to tackling environmental challenges.

Click here to register for a free place at the event to hear from them and others taking action for the environment in Greater Manchester.

The theory

Clear Futures bring the Public Sector holistic solutions to the complex challenge of decarbonisation with a region. We work with our supply chain partners to build strategies, secure funding, develop designs and construct solutions, while maximising the social value impact along the way.

Decarbonisation of heat in the built environment is one of the greatest challenges we face in the UK. The UK Government have identified that heat networks have a very important role to play in achieving this ambition especially in urban environments.

The Bolton Heat Network scheme had previously been developed to concept stage however hadn’t been able to progress further due to both technical and commercial challenges. Clear Futures funded initial work to refresh the project and further funding from the HNDU (heat network delivery unit) to develop a technically coherent solution. Clear Futures then funded the production of a Business Case alongside a grant funding application which was issued to DESNZ (via their Green Heat Network Funding Scheme). The funding application is expected to be successful, and the council will receive an award for £11m to be confirmed by the end of September 2023. Clear Futures will then develop the scheme on behalf of Bolton Council until it is sufficiently developed to minimise risk to the future developer, who will be secured from the Clear Futures supply chain, and therefore able to secure the best value for money to the Council.

This scheme is vital for Bolton Council to deliver on their decarbonisation commitments and creates a real opportunity within the community to accelerate the transition through future expansion. 

The application

The heat network will use waste heat from the sewer to provide the heat needed to heat all the buildings within the zone, this is great news for the environment on many levels, avoiding the discharge of the waste heat into the local rivers and avoiding the need to burn fossil fuels to generate the heat for the buildings the network will serve. This solution provides a secure, affordable, low carbon heat source for the community.

Clear Futures has developed the option of using the waste heat and developed it into a business case. We are now developing the design and commercial models in detail alongside procuring a delivery partner. Clear Futures can deliver excellent value for money by managing this whole process by segregating elements of procurement to enable demonstration of value for money at all stages of the project.

The project will be able to progress subject to the award of the Green Heat Grant from DESNZ which Clear Futures applied for on behalf of the Council.

The delivery and outcomes

The proposed Bolton Heat Network scheme would deliver c. 23GW of low carbon heat per year, enough to supply about 2,000 typical homes.

The operation of the system will yield carbon savings in the region of 120,000 tonnes over 40 years, equivalent to 75,000 mature trees over the same period, when compared against alternative fossil fuel based solutions. But most importantly, it would enable Bolton to implement the newest low or zero carbon technologies as and when available, without having to incur major retrofit programmes for individual sites.

The Bolton Heat Network will connect initially 33 buildings within the town centre. However, the proposed network is only covering about 10% of the estimated potential load in the area. This means that there is a significant potential for expansion in the coming years.

Once built, the network would allow other heat sources such as ground source heat pumps (GSHP) or waste heat recovery from industrial processes (supermarkets and data centres), to be incorporated and expand the supply capacity of the system.

Depending on the commercial arrangements for the operation of the network, it would be possible to establish cheaper heat tariffs for vulnerable customers to directly alleviate fuel poverty.

Additionally, a heat network could be landmark project for the local area. Designing the energy centre alongside representative community groups is an opportunity to integrate the system into the urban landscape and make it a visible commitment of Bolton to the green agenda.

What we hope to get out of the Green Summit

We hope to foster and develop our long-term partnerships, both new and existing., so that we can focus on big-picture strategic decarbonisation goals, not shorter-term procurement-led activities. Taking this approach allows us to leverage investment, expertise and resources, as well as speed up the whole process over the long term.

Our challenge to delegates

We challenge visitors to the Green Summit to start acting. The time has come to make a tangible difference to the decarbonisation of the domestic and non-domestic estate, all over the country.

Find out more about Clear Futures on their website here:

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