Greater Manchester today launched its partnership with Octopus Energy, designed to make the city-region carbon neutral by 2038, 12 years ahead of Whitehall’s national deadline.
The agreement, unveiled this afternoon as COP26 focuses today on innovation and science, will see Octopus trial the uptake of new green energy tariffs for customers in Greater Manchester. The city-region’s ten boroughs have a population of 2.8 million.
Promised in the partnership are 300 skilled jobs, ranging from data scientists and heat pump engineers to frontline customer support.
Greater Manchester has an ambition to become the UK’s leading Green city-region. It wants to lead the UK’s energy revolution, trialling and facilitating innovative technologies underpinning the country’s net zero ambitions.
Under Andy Burnham, its elected mayor, Greater Manchester intends removing nearly a million tonnes of carbon from the city-region’s economy:
- 850,000 tonnes from building retrofits and on-site power generation
- A “retrofitGM” drive for private homes
- Decarbonisation of heat and retrofit programmes for social housing, schools and colleges
- A “Go Neutral” programme promoting generation via renewables and smart energy assets
- 100,000 tonnes from overhauled transport, including more electric buses and taxis, more cycling and walking, increased use of Metrolink trams, and public EV chargers
Mayor Burnham said: “We are really pleased Octopus have committed to expand their operation and are opening their first hub in the North of England here in Greater Manchester.
“This has always been a place of innovation. 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.”
Manchester-born KrakenFlex, Octopus’ cloud-based technology platform for managing energy devices and sources, is at the heart of the partnership. Founded in 2014 as Upside Energy, the firm re-branded when bought last November by Octopus. Its platform has since been licenced to energy suppliers as far afield as Australia & Japan.
Driving “deep digitisation” of power grids, the platform promises greater flexibility across the city-region’s energy supply, managing energy supply and demand in real-time of clean energy technologies such as EVs and heat pumps.
These devices will be the core of the city’s vision for a Local Energy Market, improving ways Mancunians produce, consume, and transfer energy across its region.
Greater Manchester is the first British city to develop a Local Area Energy Plan. By April the partnership anticipates understanding how to heat and power every street in every borough. As energy prices increase, locally generated power will increase regional security of supply.
KrakenFlex CEO Devrim Celal said: “As the world gathers in Glasgow at COP26, we and Octopus are delighted to be working (… ) to support Manchester in becoming the UK’s first carbon neutral city.
“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,” Celal added.
In September, former US vice-president Al Gore’s investment fund bought 13% of Octopus, valuing the generator-supplier at £3.8 billion.
Today ‘Power to the People’ a conference of North West Mayors, industry experts, academics and leading innovators came together to examine the future of energy across the region, and how the North West is finding sustainable ways of powering local communities and cutting emissions.
Councillor Neil Emmott, Greater Manchester’s 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.”