Carbon neutral drive boosted by new Greater Manchester and Octopus Energy partnership

Nov 10, 2021 | Smart Energy

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Greater Manchester has struck a new partnership with Octopus Energy Group in its bid to become carbon neutral by 2038, 12 years ahead of the UK target date.

The agreement, announced on the same day as the COP26 conference in Glasgow focuses attention on the twin themes of Science and Innovation, will see Octopus Energy trial the uptake of new green energy tariffs for customers in Greater Manchester.

Through the partnership, Octopus Energy will also create 300 high-skilled jobs, ranging from data scientists and heat pump engineers to frontline customer support.

Overall, the ambition is for Greater Manchester to become the UK’s leading Green city-region, taking a leading role at the forefront of the UK’s technological evolution by trialling and facilitating the smart and innovative new technologies that will support the country’s net zero ambitions.

Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham said: “We are really pleased that Octopus Energy have committed to expand their operation and are opening their first hub in the North of England here in Greater Manchester. The partnership will see the creation of 300 jobs and the trials for the uptake of new green energy tariffs and technologies will help Greater Manchester residents to go green at the same time as saving money.

“This has always been a place of innovation, and every day we’re making new strides towards a low-carbon economy, finding new ways to power our businesses and our communities. We’re showing that the transition to net zero is one with massive potential to make things better for our residents, and it’s great to have Octopus on board.”

Octopus Energy will look to increase the flexibility of Greater Manchester’s energy supply through its flexibility arm KrakenFlex – a cloud-based technology platform managing the real-time energy supply and demand of clean energy technologies such as electric vehicles and heat pumps.

All of these measures will be core components of Greater Manchester’s vision for a Local Energy Market, improving the way we generate, consume, and transfer energy across our city-region. Greater Manchester is the first and largest city-region to develop Local Area Energy Plans, by April next year we will know how to heat and power every street in every borough by. Locally generated energy will increase regional security of supply as energy prices increase globally.

Devrim Celal, CEO of KrakenFlex, the arm of Octopus Energy that will manage the partnership with the GMCA, said: “As the world gathers in Glasgow at COP26, we are delighted to be working with Greater Manchester Combined Authority to deliver an exciting new partnership that will support Manchester in becoming the UK’s first carbon neutral city.

“Last year, Manchester-based company `Upside Energy’ became part of the Octopus family in a mission to create a dynamic and flexible renewable energy system. Reborn as KrakenFlex, the deep-tech pioneer is driving the digitisation of the grid, helping make the UK the Silicon Valley of Energy.

“We are at the cusp of a green energy revolution and partnerships like the one with the GMCA will help accelerate this transformation, making energy greener and cheaper for consumers whilst fighting climate change.”

The new partnership between the GMCA and Octopus Energy comes as North West Mayors, industry experts, academics and leading innovators came together for ‘Power to the People’, an event which took place in Manchester on Tuesday 9 November. The all-day conference examined the future of energy production and use across the region, and how the North West is finding sustainable ways of powering local communities and cutting emissions.

Cllr Neil Emmott, Greater Manchester Lead for the Green City-Region, said: “This new agreement with Octopus Energy is a big boost to our plan for a carbon-neutral Greater Manchester by 2038. It’s also a major vote of confidence in our city-region to lead the transition to a more sustainable future, supporting low-carbon infrastructure and new jobs in green industries.

“Crucially, this partnership will lay the foundations for our Local Energy Market – the biggest project of its kind to revolutionise the way we produce, consume, and distribute energy in Greater Manchester.”

Greater Manchester leaders will return to Glasgow to take part in the second week of COP26, following the visits of the Mayor and Greater Manchester Economy Lead Cllr Elise Wilson, where they met other global city leaders to discuss shared ambitions on climate action.

The city-region has ambitious plans which, if implemented in full with the backing of central Government, will remove a million tonnes of carbon from the city-region’s economy:

850,000 tonnes from the retrofitting and energy generation:

  • Heat decarbonisation and retrofit programmes across public sector, school, higher education, social housing
  • Go Neutral smart energy programme – low carbon renewable energy generation and smart energy assets
  • Launch of retrofitGM for privately-owned homes

100,000 tonnes through public transport overhaul

  • Shift to electric buses and taxis, increased levels of cycling and walking, increased Metrolink use, EV chargers installed and utilised across city-region

In addition, various business support programmes, led by the Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership, will enable private enterprises to contribute to the city-region’s drive towards a net zero future.

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