Cutting-Edge Energy Network to Cut Carbon

November 02 2020 | Articles | News
A Family Looking Out Over Greater Manchester

We’re part of a ground-breaking project to change the way energy is made and used across Greater Manchester.

Councils across all 10 boroughs are looking to create a ‘Local Energy Market’ (LEM) together. The power would be generated, stored and shared locally. That means the energy travels a shorter distance to get to where it’s used, making the region’s environmental footprint smaller.

What we’re doing

Northwards Housing’s role in the project is to work with other partners to help provide data. The data will come from heat pumps installed in our homes. Heat pumps make a lot less carbon than traditional heating and, over the years, we’ve installed them in several of our homes. This is something we still do to this day.

The data will be used to help make decisions about how the LEM could work. Part of that is “grid balancing”. This means that energy supplies in some areas could be reduced at peak times to avoid having to buy them at a higher rate. It could also prevent the need to build things like new sub-stations in future.

It could even mean that, in the future, residents would be able to sell any extra energy they don’t need back to the grid! This is some way off, though. But the LEM project is key to looking at the opportunities that may be available to us.


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Over the next two years, the LEM aims to play a big part in meeting the region’s goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2038. The project is funded by a £3m grant from the Industrial Strategy Challenge fund, delivered by UK Research and Innovation, and will run from July 2020 to June 2022.

Our partners in the project are Electricity North West, Cadent, Hitachi Europe, Bruntwood, Ovo Energy, Daikin Europe, Carbon Coop, Regen SW, Cornwall Insights and Graham Oakes Consulting.

Find out more about the Greater Manchester Local Energy Market

Homes As Energy Systems

Our involvement in the LEM follows the success of a separate project we’re part of. Through the ‘Homes As Energy Systems’ (HAES) project, we are working with our partners to install energy-efficient technology in over 700 homes across Greater Manchester.

The project sets to prove that, if lots of energy-efficient homes are able to store small amounts of energy, they can together make a better, low carbon energy network.

We are installing heat pumps in homes and taking out inefficient gas boilers. This means that, as electricity can be produced in a renewable way, it reduces the carbon footprint of our homes.

We are also fitting a small number of solar PV panels and/or solar batteries, and doing ‘deep’ insulation works in a number of homes. By closely watching the impact these have, we can better understand the systems and get evidence for future energy-saving work.

The HAES project is funded by the European Union, with £5million coming through the European Regional Development Fund. Our partners include Procure Plus, Stockport Homes, University of Salford, Upside Energy and Retrofit Works.


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