Five councils across Greater Manchester win funding for pioneering renewable energy project

Five Greater Manchester local authorities have won funding for a clean energy project that will develop 10 renewable schemes - creating a blueprint for UK regions aiming for net zero carbon emissions.

Unlocking Clean Energy in Greater Manchester (UCEGM) brings together five local authorities that have declared a “climate emergency” – Manchester, Rochdale, Salford, Stockport, and Wigan.

The 3-year £17.2m project – part-funded with £8.6m from the European Regional Development Fund – will capitalise on under-utilised council-owned sites and buildings, to develop:

  • 10 Megawatts of solar PV and hydro-electric generation, 

  • battery storage,

  • electric vehicle (EV) charging, and 

  • smart energy management systems. 

Importantly, the UCEGM project will focus on innovative new business models to maximise the value from the electricity generated, for example by taking advantage of regulatory changes, or utilising flexibility between clean energy assets distributed across the city as part of Greater Manchester’s emerging Local Energy Market.

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.  In Manchester, a large rooftop solar scheme and battery will be installed at the council's Hammerstone Road depot, in Gorton.

Richard Halsey, Capabilities Director at Energy Systems Catapult said: “There are three equally important parts to this innovation project. 

“Firstly, building renewable energy generation on under-utilised council land to reduce energy costs and carbon emissions for local authorities. 

“Secondly, incorporating energy storage and electric vehicle charging using smart digital systems to make weather dependent renewable generation more flexible to local energy demands. 

“Thirdly, developing a range of innovative business models that not only reduces energy costs but which may attract private sector investment and grow local businesses.

“The aim for Energy Systems Catapult is to provide a blueprint that is replicable and can help scale-up local and national clean energy systems.” 

The UCEGM project is an example of how the Greater Manchester districts are collaborating to deliver the regions aspiration of 2038 carbon neutrality. The outputs delivered will account for 22% of the Greater Manchester 5-year environment plan energy generation target.

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 zero-carbon city by 2038. This is a challengin 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."

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