Manchester City Council

Green Shoots

The Greater Manchester Low Carbon Hub Board holds its quarterly meeting today. Most of the work is done in our five thematic and two cross-cutting subgroups with an enormous number of people involved, but one of the issues we will be discussing today is how people can find out about what we are doing and get involved. Very little of what we do is in any way confidential (though there are occasionally bits that are commercially sensitive) and some of our subgroups, for example the one dealing with growing green businesses, need to pro-actively market to meet their objectives. Comms are often controversial, spending money on comms even more so, but if we don't we will not be able to meet our aspirations in this crucial part of the city-regions strategy.

Apart from communications, there are a number of substantial items on today's agenda. Our Energy sub-group has been working on the potential for establishing a GM Energy Enterprise and we have now reached the point of needing to develop the business case to progress further. We have relaunched and are looking to expand the Skills sub-group, particularly through more industry involvement. We also look at progress on building retrofit, Green Deal and ECO, with concerns about the impact of the Chancellor's autumn statement on these programmes, especially for low income households. There is also another tough nut to crack in the private rented sector. One very exciting development is that the feasibility work we have been doing with the Japanese government and their agency NEDO has been completed. A memorandum of understanding was signed earlier this week, and we should now be able to move to implement the NEDO Smart Communities Heat Pump Aggregation project. The object is to install air source heat pumps in six hundred homes - but network them with the potential not only to reduce domestic energy bills, but also produce surplus energy to sell back into the grid.

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The blog of the leader of Manchester City Council, Councillor Richard Leese.

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