Greater Manchester to be First to Adopt Local Energy Plans
Greater Manchester has set out a pathway for the energy infrastructure changes needed across the city region so it can meet its ambition of being carbon neutral by 2038. Housing Industry Leaders investigates how Greater Manchester is setting the benchmark.

Following approval at a meeting of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, the city region has become the first in the UK to produce and adopt Local Area Energy Plans (LAEPs).

It has been revealed that there will be one plan for each of the ten Greater Manchester districts, in addition to one overall one for the region. The plans will detail the current position and a roadmap towards a decarbonised future. Key decisions will be identified that are needed to determine the long-term decarbonisation pathway for the city region.

One Million EVs Will Need Charging In Greater Manchester By 2038

When it comes to the short term, Greater Manchester will need to deliver multiple measures over the next five years. These include 140,000 additional homes with fabric retrofit, nearly 2GW of additional rooftop solar panels on homes, 190,000 vehicles replaced by electric alternatives, 8,000 additional homes connected to heat networks, and 116,000 additional heat pumps in homes.

Similar levels of interventions will be needed across public, commercial, and industrial buildings and vehicle fleets as the public sector make up over seven per cent of Greater Manchester’s non-domestic building stock.

Included in this is the opportunity for over 2.5GW of non-domestic rooftop solar panels. It is thought that these figures will need to rise dramatically over the coming fifteen years, with around one million heat pumps in homes and one million EVs that will need charging by 2038.

Investment In Low Carbon Technologies Is Key To Reaching Our Net Zero Targets

With urgent action required across the region to achieve the 2038 carbon neutrality target, a key focus of LAEPs is to set out priority areas for different elements of the energy system, identify areas where heat pumps and heat networks are cost-effective to use, identify opportunity areas for the introduction of other technologies, and continue to build capability, capacity and understanding so that further wide-scale transition can be delivered.

Councillor Martyn Cox, Lead for Green City Region and Waste, said: “The need for us to make systematic changes to the way we produce and consume energy is absolutely vital and in Greater Manchester, we intend to drive that on a local level.

“We’re serious about making the changes needed to reach our target of making Greater Manchester carbon neutral by 2038 and we are once again leading the way by becoming the first city region in the country to develop and adopt Local Area Energy Plans.

“Our plans reduce uncertainty around what changes and initiatives each district in Greater Manchester needs to make to drive us to a decarbonised future. By providing a strong roadmap and sense of direction, we want to encourage greater investment in low-carbon technologies and business growth in sectors which support the net zero carbon transition.”

At the same time, our carbon-friendly solutions will reduce people’s cost of living with lower energy bills and more attractive and affordable public transport, creating a greener and fairer Greater Manchester.”

Greater Manchester Could Lead A £5 Billion In Savings On Energy Bills By 2035

As outlined in the ‘Greater Manchester Local Energy Market – Final Report‘, “in Greater Manchester, the Energy System Catapult forecasts that in a scenario with primarily electrified heat, electricity demand will increase by 57 per cent on the 2021 level in 2038.”

It is no secret that the amount of electricity that we are consuming will rise rapidly and during the current crisis, we need to ensure that we keep our energy use as efficient and cost-effective as possible.

A recent report by PwC and Innovate UK concluded that undertaking £3.2 billion of investment in energy-related place-specific interventions in Greater Manchester would lead to £5 billion in savings on energy bills by 2035 and £59 billion in wider social benefits.

Also, in the ‘Greater Manchester Local Energy Market – Final Report’, it is explained that “there is clear evidence that place-based action and solutions are not only critical in delivering our carbon neutral targets in time but have huge additional benefits to local people and the environment.”

The work that has been undertaken in this project highlights that a Local Energy Market could be instrumental in the journey to reaching our net zero targets.