Mission Possible – how Greater Manchester can reach net zero before the rest of the UK
23rd July 2020 | Commercial Energy
Greater Manchester needs to act now and get decisions right first time if it is to become carbon neutral 12 years earlier than the rest of the UK, a report published today confirms. The region can reach its ambitious target to meet all its energy needs in a green way by 2038, but it has no room for delay or error, says the North West’s gas and electricity networks.
The report – a first-of-its-kind collaboration between gas network Cadent and Electricity North West – reveals that to hit the target, Greater Manchester must prioritise ways to use 25% less energy, despite a growing population and economy. But if it can tackle energy inefficiency, ditch fossil fuel gas in favour of zero-carbon hydrogen and use green electricity generated more locally, it has the opportunity to become an ‘energy transition lighthouse’ for the rest of the UK – and beyond. The study, which has been presented to Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA), was carried out by energy experts Guidehouse on behalf of the North West’s two energy networks to inform key decisions that the region will need to make soon to meet its bold ambition.
It’s published as all energy networks, supported by business leaders and unions, push for net zero to be central to the UK’s economic recovery from Covid-19. They point to a wide range of green projects posed ready to go, just waiting for the right policy framework and political backing. Forecasting that energy demand in GMCA’s 10 districts could drop from 52 terawatt hours (TWh) now to just 38 (TWh) in 2038, the report sets out a four-phase journey, each phase lasting four to five years, that will navigate the region towards its goal.
A huge push will be needed to improve energy efficiency in both domestic and industrial or commercial buildings, as well as accelerating initiatives to get people out of their cars in favour of walking, cycling and public transport. The transition to electric vehicles is expected to double peak demand for electricity, with almost half of all GMCA’s energy demands being met by electricity in 18 years’ time (18.7TWh). As a result, the network will need ongoing investment to increase capacity.
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