Greater Manchester needs “proactive” energy future, says report

working paper published by Greater Manchester research and policy think tank, New Economy, calls for the region to play a leading role in shaping future energy systems.  

 

The paper, authored by Helen Seagrave, sustainable growth advisor at ENWORKS, considers a number of possible future energy scenarios and concludes that Greater Manchester needs to have a proactive role in shaping and delivering energy systems in order to achieve sustainable growth for the region.

 

The conclusions are echoed by a report from the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), published earlier this month, which encourages local authorities and cities to directly engage in energy generation and provision.

 

Business as usual

 

Greater Manchester is already in a relatively strong position to develop local energy infrastructure, having been declared a Low Carbon Hub by Government in 2012.

 

However, the paper argues that continuing with ‘business as usual’ – characterised by low deployment of local renewable energy generation and fast energy price rises – will likely result in Greater Manchester missing not only its 2020 carbon reduction targets, but also the opportunity for local businesses and households to protect themselves from increasing global energy costs.

 

Recommendations

 

Instead, three actions are recommended to help Greater Manchester achieve its climate change targets and ensure sustainable growth:

  • Increase the rate of deployment of low carbon and decentralised energy, particularly renewable heat, a measure the conurbation will struggle to capitalise on without more investment and support
  • Find ways to ensure that businesses and communities are directly engaged in renewable energy deployment so that they can gain control over energy costs and benefit from additional income from energy generation
  • Ensure that capital investment in new infrastructure does not escape the local economy, so jobs and growth are maximised in Greater Manchester. 

‘Local control’

 

Todd Holden, director of low carbon policy and programmes at ENWORKS, said: “Securing affordable, low carbon energy is one of the greatest challenges we face.

 

“This report makes it clear that by taking local control of our energy, Greater Manchester can both meet this challenge and secure real economic and social benefit for all of its residents.”

 

The paper can be downloaded in full here.

Posted under General Interest on 6 August 2014