Energy Systems Catapult and five local authorities in Greater Manchester in the UK have won funding for a pioneering clean energy project.
The funding will be used to develop ten renewable schemes across the city and create a blueprint that can be replicated in other regions across the UK aimed at 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 three-year, £17.2 million ($21.8 million) project – led by Energy Systems Catapult and part-funded with £8.6 million ($10.9 million) from the European Regional Development Fund – will capitalise on under-utilised council-owned sites and buildings.
It has been established to develop 10MW of solar PV and hydro-electric generation, battery storage, electric vehicle charging, and 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.
Energy Systems Catapult will focus on the development of 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 Manchester’s emerging Local Energy Market.
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 John Blundell, cabinet member for regeneration, business, skills and employment at Rochdale Borough Council, said: “The planned solar farm at Chamber House will generate 4,500MWh of electricity per year, enough energy to power 1,250 homes, or 1.4% of our borough’s homes – annually, over the next 30 years.
“This will make a significant contribution to reducing carbon dioxide emissions and tackling climate change and supports the important commitment we’ve made, alongside other GM boroughs, to make the city region carbon neutral by 2038, 12 years earlier than the national clean air target.