Manchester councils win funding for £17.2m clean energy project

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Energy Systems Catapult and five local authorities in Greater Manchester have won funding for a revolutionary clean energy project, which will develop 10 renewable schemes across the city

The clean energy project aims to create a blueprint that can be replicated in other regions across the UK targeting for net-zero carbon emissions.

Unlocking Clean Energy in Greater Manchester’ (UCEGM) brings together Manchester, Rochdale, Salford, Stockport, and Wigan which have declared a ‘climate emergency’.

The 3-year £17.2m project – led by Energy Systems Catapult and part-funded with £8.6m from the European Regional Development Fund – will capitalise on under-utilised council-owned sites and buildings

The clean energy projects will develop:

  • 10 Megawatts of solar PV and hydro-electric generation
  • Battery storage
  • Electric vehicle (EV) charging
  • Smart energy management systems.

The projects planned include solar farms at Chamber House farm in Rochdale and Kenyon Way in Salford, three rooftop solar schemes in Stockport and a rooftop solar scheme at Makerfield Way in Wigan.

A blueprint for ‘smarter cleaner local energy system’

Richard Halsey, capabilities director at Energy Systems Catapult, said: “This project represents the opportunity to create a blueprint that is replicable and can help delivery of smarter cleaner local energy systems, minimise costs and carbon emissions.

“It will deliver new renewable energy generation on under-utilised public land.  It will incorporate energy storage and electric vehicle charging using digital systems to better align variable renewable generation to meet future local energy demands.

“Finally it will develop innovative business models that can unlock private sector investment and grow local businesses.”

Councillor Angeliki Stogia, executive member for environment, planning and transport for Manchester City Council, said: “Manchester has been bold in setting out our vision to become a carbon neutral city by 2038.

“This is not an easy target, but as a council we feel it is the right one, not only for our residents, but for the long term prosperity of Greater Manchester.

“As set out in our Climate Change Action Plan 2020-25, the council has committed to halving its emissions by 2025 and we will continue to play an active role in the Manchester Climate Change Partnership to address the urgent need to create a cleaner and greener Manchester.”

Councillor Derek Antrobus, lead member for planning and sustainable development at Salford City Council, commented: “This is a major step forward in Salford’s ambitions to help cut carbon emissions and reduce the scale of climate change.

“In the past decade we have reduced our carbon emissions by 50% and become the first authority in Greater Manchester to convert its high street lights to LED. All the electricity for the council comes from renewable suppliers. All this helps to combat climate change and save money.”

Councillor Elise Wilson, leader of Stockport Council, said: “Stockport welcomes this fantastic opportunity to develop innovative roof top solar PV schemes on key properties at Merseyway and Stockport Exchange in the town centre and at our depot, Endeavour House.

“These schemes will be lead the way in how we produce local clean energy in the future, reducing our carbon footprint, and helping to tackle climate change.”

Innovation in public ownership of renewable energy

James Johnson, head of regional programme for the Local Energy North West Hub, added: “The Local Energy North West Hub has provided technical assistance and advised on the business case for UCEGM and is pleased to have supported a successful application for ERDF funding.

“The collaboration is a strong example of public sector organisations working together to deliver projects that support challenging carbon reduction targets.

“These local energy schemes will demonstrate innovation in public ownership of renewable energy assets on low value land to supply council building and will be an example to other institutions.”

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