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Greater Manchester Smart Energy project hits halfway mark

07/03/2016

Greater Manchester Smart Energy project hits halfway mark

Hundreds of residents across Greater Manchester are benefitting from a smart energy programme.

Over a year from the launch of the NEDO Smart Heat project, 300 social housing properties have been fitted with state-of-the-art smart energy developed in collaboration with Japan.

Residents in Wigan Borough, Bury and Manchester are helping to reduce carbon emissions while saving money on their fuel bills by taking part in the pilot project that will see a total of 600 homes have their old inefficient heating systems replaced with air source heat pumps.

The pumps are connected to a “smart grid” system which can manage the energy produced in people’s homes and help reduce demand on the National Grid, which is currently close to capacity. This uses less energy and can therefore lead to cheaper fuel bills. It is the first time the technology has been used in homes anywhere in the world.

As part of the trial, residents are being given a tablet computer which enables them to take part in the trial, while giving them free access to the internet – giving more tenants the opportunity to get online. Special equipment is being installed in each home known as a “home gateway”, which is used to monitor and control the heat pumps. This will be used to reduce energy consumption at peak times – thus reducing demand on the national grid.

The project, a partnership between Greater Manchester’s Combined Authority (GMCA) and Japan’s New Energy Development Organisation (NEDO), will see energy demand in those areas taking part reduced and also balanced by creating what is dubbed a ‘smart community’.

In addition to NEDO and GMCA, other partners in the £20 million project include Wigan and Leigh Homes, Northwards Housing, Six Town Housing and their respective councils, Hitachi, Daikin, Mizuho Bank and Electricity Northwest with the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).

Greater Manchester has a target to reduce CO2 emissions by 48 per cent by 2020 (compared to 1990 levels). Currently domestic fuel demand accounts for around 12 per cent of Greater Manchester’s carbon footprint.

Councillor Sue Derbyshire, Chair of Greater Manchester’s Low Carbon Hub, said:

“We are one year into the pioneering Smart Communities energy project which has seen all delivery partners working hard to sign up households and install technologically advanced heating systems in residents' homes. We are now beginning to see the many benefits of this pilot; helping households to reduce their energy usage and save money as well as balancing and reducing demand on the national energy grid at peak times. 

“By being part of Smart Communities, residents are also receiving training on their new tablet devices and getting online, enabling them to browse the internet and watch their energy bills reduce.  

“If rolled out across larger areas in Greater Manchester in the future, this project can make a big difference to reducing our carbon emissions and helping people save money.”   

You can find out more by visiting the Greater Manchester Smart Energy project's website.