An electricity networks boss has predicted that the first Smart Grid in the UK will be in Manchester.

Steve Cox of Electricity North West said that Smart Grids offered the best way for the government to meet it carbon reduction targets, but added: “The main challenge is coming up with technical solutions to achieve that.”

He said ENW was working on Smart Grid research and development projects with the University of Manchester and plans to invest GBP 22m in developing and testing new technology over the next three years.

Peter Crossley, professor of power systems at the university, said: “Smart Grids are the way that we will change our electrical systems to cope with the transformation of moving from coal and gas to a renewables, nuclear and gas based economy.

“Smart Grids will allow us to operate our power networks to our cities and to our homes in a more efficient and economical way.”

He predicted that while “Manchester will continue to consume energy from outside which is brought by the national grid system”, it will also generate energy via waste, bio-fuels and wind farms.

Next month, Manchester will host the Smart Grids Technologies European Conference.