Pathway for Greater Manchester to hit net zero by 2038 unveiled

Greater Manchester can be an “energy transition lighthouse” by becoming carbon neutral 12 years earlier than the rest of the UK, a report has found.

Published on 23 July, the report, prepared for Cadent and Electricity North West (ENWL) by Navigant, set out how by tackling energy inefficiency, favouring zero carbon hydrogen and using green electricity generated more locally, Greater Manchester can meet all its energy needs in a green way by 2038. In such a scenario, energy demand would fall from 52TWh today to 39TWh by 2038 owed to improved energy efficiency, despite a growing population and economy.

It set out a four-phase journey for Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA), with each phase lasting four to five years, to drive the region towards its goal, with this pathway guided by three main tracks: kickstarting the transition; transforming the demand base; and securing low carbon energy supply.

For the current five-year period, the report recommended a series of priority actions for GMCA to undertake, including to work with the building sector to execute large-scale demonstration projects – involving 1,000 or more homes – for building upgrades, such as building insulation, low carbon heating systems and supporting hydrogen-ready devices. It further recommended working with ENWL to plan for a target network of an estimated 100,000 public EV chargers throughout Greater Manchester, along with implementing incentives for charging network operators to install 19,000 public EV chargers by 2035.

GMCA was also told to streamline and shorten planning permission processes, identify key development areas and develop incentive schemes to expand the local uptake of rooftop solar PV to reach 200MW installed capacity by 2025; for onshore wind development in Greater Manchester; and to develop energy-from-waste and biomass plants.