The Greater Manchester (GM) Local Energy Market (LEM) is an innovative project led by Greater Manchester Combined Authority with 11 partners from community, technology, energy suppliers and network operators.
It will create a more efficient and cost-effective energy market for residents and businesses, exploring opportunities including the production of green hydrogen and use of heat networks to reduce carbon emissions and increase network capacity.
Local Area Energy Plans provide an informed view - from the perspective of residents, businesses and network operators - of where Greater Manchester needs to: generate renewable energy; retrofit buildings; place Electric Vehicle charging hubs; and the impact this whole system approach may have on electricity network/grid operators.
An energy trading platform, the Market Maker, will support the region in maximising the benefit of its intermittent energy generation capabilities. The Market Maker will control the recruitment and onboarding of consumers to benefit from revised tariffs and will support the trading of energy between consumers in Greater Manchester. It will also enable network flexibility and unlock new revenue streams.
Value Sharing Propositions (Energy Tariffs) will be designed to establish new tariffs that can be used by domestic and non-domestic customers for heat and mobility. Value Sharing Propositions are designed and linked to Local Area Energy Plans, supporting targeting and maximising use of local assets.
The Local Energy Market is the first project in the country that will provide Local Area Energy Plans for ten Local Authority areas, supporting the energy needs of 1.2m homes and 2.7m residents. The project's ability to provide such an informed position supports people in all walks of life to make informed decisions.
Image: Unsplash stock image, William McCue
We are currently midway through the 24-month Greater Manchester Local Energy Market detailed design process and entering the final phases, moving towards dissemination, business models and the final design.
The programme came about due to a small number of key drivers, to support delivery of the region's five-year environment plan and our ambition to be carbon neutral by 2038. These included providing a region-wide informed view of where the region produces local energy, how we heat our buildings, how we retrofit our buildings, and support the transition away from combustion engines.
In order to support the development of the GM Local Energy Market programme, we have completed a suite of research schemes to answer individual questions and support the overarching aim. These include: domestic stock modelling across our 1.2m homes – Parity Projects; review of the 2,000+ local authority buildings – Twelvetrees Consulting/Local Energy North West Hub; review of the region's publicly-owned land assets for renewable generation, storage, heating, and mobility assets – Go Neutral Programme & Transport for Greater Manchester; close working with our network operators CADENT (Gas) and ENW (Electricity).
Bringing together these differing projects with one clear data gathering exercise or schema behind each individual project, was a key enabler for the region to engage residents on local priorities, while bringing together what can be very siloed local authority and wider organisation. The initial research phases supported:
1. Grant funding awards and submissions e.g., £78m Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, £27m Green Homes Grant Local Authority Delivery awarded programmes and the circa £10m Social Housing Decarbonisation Scheme submission pending a decision
2. Resident engagement – using online surveys to understand how they would power and heat their homes in the future. This was completed working closely with our procured delivery partner Energy Systems Catapult.
3. General engagement - Carbon COOP, a programme partner used their expertise to reach out to residents and business in their communities to also understand how they could benefit and what they would like to see as outcomes from the overarching detailed design. These included the types of energy tariffs required to accelerate change and the information they would like to understand locally.
4. The truly innovative element of the project is the development of the Market Maker Platform, detailing how we link local energy demand with local supply.
This hasn't been without its challenges. However, by ensuring each component has linked back to and informed delivery of the overarching GM 5yr Environment Plan and individual climate emergencies (declared across the region), we were able to engage with decision-makers, a range of organisations, businesses and residents.
Our ability to offer a clear direction of travel provided the market confidence to engage with such a complex project.
Energy tariffs developed and projected kWh/MWh optimised and or saved via the Market Maker.