Turning Net Zero ambition to action in Greater Manchester

Energy Systems Catapult partnership with Greater Manchester demonstrates the breadth and depth of the challenges and opportunities to achieve Net Zero across Homes, Places, Whole Systems & Networks and with innovators via our Energy Launchpad.

Greater Manchester Combined Authority has clear ambitions to lead of ambition to make the city region a leader in turning plans into action on the Net Zero journey:

  • Targeting carbon neutral by 2038
  • Achieved previous target of reducing emissions by 48% by 2020
  • All 10 local authorities within the district declared a climate emergency
  • The Office of Budget Responsibility forecast that achieving Net Zero will cost the UK £496bn by 2050, less than the 2008 financial crisis or the Covid-19 response. Delays could double the cost.
  • GMCA’s mission-backed approach requires cross-sector collaboration.
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VIDEO: Manchester mayor Andy Burnham on efforts to decarbonise Greater Manchester including Local Area Energy Planning

Place – Local Area Energy Planning

Greater Manchester Combined Authority and their 10 local authorities worked in collaboration with Energy Systems Catapult to become the first place in the UK to develop Local Area Energy Plans (LAEP) across a whole city.

Key to the delivery of Net Zero is taking a place based approach and in Bury in Greater Manchester was one of three areas where Energy Systems Catapults piloted the concept of LAEPs in 2018. 

LAEPs are a collaborates process with a range of local stakeholders including local authorities, distribution network operators, businesses and communities and deliver a data-driven, cost-effective plan for a low carbon transition.

The plans cover electricity, heat, and gas networks; future potential for hydrogen; building fabric and systems across domestic, commercial and industrial premises; energy system generation, storage and flexibility; and integration with energy infrastructure to decarbonise transport.

Within the plans are five key targets to be carried out over the next five years:

  • Retrofitting the fabric of 140,000 homes
  • Installing nearly 2 GW of rooftop solar panels on homes
  • Replacing 190,000 vehicles with electric alternatives
  • Connecting 8,000 homes to heat networks
  • Installing 116,000 heat pumps in homes.

Similar initiatives will be conducted within the public sector estate. This includes possibly installing more than 2.5 GW of solar panels on the rooftops of non-domestic buildings.

Greater Manchester was also the first place in the UK to utilise a new online public engagement and consultation process developed by Energy Systems Catapult, called zerocarbon.vote. This informed residents about the low carbon options that might be available in their neighbourhood based on the LAEPs and gathered feedback and insight about their preferences.

Figure 1: Some of the Local Area Energy Planning maps in Greater Manchester

Figure 1: Some of the Local Area Energy Planning maps in Greater Manchester

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VIDEO: You've declared a climate emergency .. now what? Local Area Energy Planning case study in Bury, Greater Manchester.

Read the LAEP case study for Greater Manchester

How Greater Manchester become the first place in the UK to develop Local Area Energy Plans across a whole city.

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Place – Unlocking Clean Energy in Greater Manchester

Local Area Energy Plans will inform the creation of a Local Energy Market across Greater Manchester, helping to guide investment in measures like electric vehicle (EV) charging, energy storage capacity, decarbonisation of heating including introducing hydrogen where appropriate, home retrofit requirements for existing building stock and the development of local solar PV and hydropower generation.

Energy Systems Catapult is also involved in the development of the Local Energy Market under a separate project Unlocking Clean Energy in Greater Manchester.

  • The UCEGM project has delivered – or is in the process of delivering – 15 renewable energy generation assets.
  • Including delivering 10 MW of local, place-based renewable energy generation.
  • The project has been a central pillar in the 5-year Greater Manchester Environment Plan.
  • Energy Systems Catapult has developed a free-to-use tool that quickly assesses the economic sustainability of solar assets.
  • Provided detailed guidance on business models that could be deployed as part of the business case for a renewable energy asset.

Explore how GMCA is helping other councils

The pioneering UCEGM project is not only delivering renewable energy schemes across Greater Manchester but creating business model blueprints for other places to replicate.

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VIDEO: How can Local Councils finance renewable energy with innovative business models?

Homes – Manchester households and the Living Lab

Energy Systems Catapult created the Living Lab to offer a quick, safe and affordable, real-world test environment to de-risk and scale innovations by running trials directly with consumers in their homes. With over 2,000 digitally connected smart-homes, spread across the whole UK with a variety of tenures, property types and demographics, the Living Lab is digitally open, interoperable and scalable.

There are 78 households participating across Greater Manchester and 133 across the North West are part of this network of volunteers from all around the UK, who help innovative businesses to test smart energy products, services and business models by helping researchers understand how real people use energy in real-life settings.

What is the Living Lab?

Quick, safe and affordable. Design, market-test and launch innovative products, services and business models for Net Zero with real people in over 2,000 connected homes

Click here for more
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VIDEO: How the Living Lab helps clean tech start-ups test smart energy innovations with real people in real homes

Energy Launchpad – Innovators in the North West

Manchester-based Evergreen Smart Power has developed a virtual power plant technology to help consumers benefit from their smart energy products like electric vehicles, heat pumps and batteries providing the flexibility to balance a decarbonised grid.

Energy Systems Catapult supported Evergreen through our Energy Launchpad and partnered on the Flexibly-Responsive Energy Delivery (FRED) to demonstrate innovative domestic Demand Side Response (DSR) demonstration projects.

The FRED trial tested Evergreen’s digital platform with 250 households to validate the value of DSR by controlling when electric vehicles are charged or water is heated. Aggregating many households together could create a “virtual power plant” that provides a flexibility service to the electricity network company, potentially rewarding consumers with reduced energy costs.

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VIDEO: Evergreen case study of electric vehicle smart charging trial in 250 homes across the North West

Net Zero Places

An independent, whole systems approach to accelerating Net Zero in local places by developing low carbon markets, attracting investment and creating jobs

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