The Greater Manchester Local Energy Market – what is it?

Cornwall Insight is part of the Greater Manchester Local Energy Market (GMLEM), a project which is creating a modern energy system across the city. This world-leading scheme led by Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) involves 11 key partners, and is a key part of the GMCA’s plans for decarbonisation. Greater Manchester is committed to become a carbon neutral emissions city region by 2038, and the GMLEM is a really important part of this.

Ultimately, the LEM will allow the city-region to manage its own power supply.

It aims to:

  • Increase local renewable electricity generation
  • Decarbonising how we heat our buildings
  • Increase the diversity and flexibility of our electricity supply
  • Allow for the increase in growth of electric vehicles and new low carbon technology

Who is involved?

The scheme is co-ordinated by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) and brings together an array of partners from the private, public and third sectors. These include commercial and legal advisors, service design consultants, financial and regulatory specialists and the energy, technology, and systems resources. The idea is that our combined expertise delivers an ambitious, modern and integrated plan that allows the city region to manage and operate its own power.

What is Cornwall Insight’s role?

Cornwall Insight’s role within the project is to leverage its expertise to provide advice on the regulatory and policy environment for project partners. This includes the current structures, limitations and barriers for the project ambition, and outlining a clear pathway to develop the LEM project, noting and best utilising the wide range of existing and emerging reform in the industry. Our role can be broken down into:

  • Supporting understanding of the existing policy, regulatory and market environment and how this is likely to change over time
  • Supporting project partners in understanding the role of the LEM and how this fits into the current space
  • Developing a clear and credible pathway to delivering the ambition of the LEM within the current policy and regulatory environment
  • Supporting partners utilising Cornwall Insight’s vast range of insight, data and analytics on the energy market
  • Regulatory and policy engagement – communicating the benefits of the project and regulatory and policy barriers to policy makers and the regulator.

What will the LEM look like?

While the final details are still being worked out, the LEM is looking at how energy is generated, traded, transported, supplied and used across the city region.

There are two key elements to the project:

  1. Energy systems planning. We are taking a full view of how we plan the new energy system including forward planning and working closely with the 10 Greater Manchester Local Authorities to understand how we use energy now and how we are likely to use it in the future. This allows us to plan for how our energy assets and networks need to change.
  2. Creating a platform for trading energy. This will be a bespoke LEM aggregation platform via an app and website that integrates smart technologies across heat, power and transport and links into local distribution and national transmission platforms.

Together, these two sides of the project show us how Greater Manchester can build its own local energy market.

Who will use it?

In time, everyone! We are trying to build a system that allows everyone living and working in Greater Manchester to use energy differently.

User experience is at the heart of the project design. The LEM platform will be used by commercial properties, owner-occupiers, social housing tenants and the public sector, so it needs to be intuitive, easy to use and understandable.

We’ve sought opinions and input from the general public, private sector businesses and the public sector to make sure that the LEM does what everyone needs it to do.

Special consideration has been given to ensure that it protects the most vulnerable in society from the impact of rising energy bills or poor-quality homes.

In its initial phases, it’s likely that the LEM will be used by the private sector, with public sector and general public following in later years.

What are the benefits?

Greater Manchester Combined Authority is working to make Greater Manchester a place where everyone can live a good life, growing up, getting on and growing old in a greener, fairer[WM1] , more prosperous city region. A key part of these plans is protecting our environment, and that’s why Greater Manchester is seeking to become carbon neutral by 2038.

A new local energy market will reduce carbon emissions and consumer bills, providing market confidence and leading to increased local investment, with the accelerated deployment of renewable energy and storage assets.

It will help make Greater Manchester a globally leading city region, where we can all be proud to live and work.

How will it be funded?

The project development is being funded by a £3m grant from the Industrial Strategy Challenge fund, delivered by UK Research and Innovation, and is running from July 2020 to June 2022.

Eventually, Greater Manchester businesses, organisations and residents will be able to generate their own energy through green systems like photovoltaic solar panels and trade any surplus via the LEM. The idea is that it will be self-funding, with the city region producing all its own green energy and not relying on fossil fuels or energy from outside the region.

When will it be ready?

Our current focus is on designing the LEM market and as part of this we are currently piloting elements of the process with select numbers of Greater Manchester residents. Once we know the outcomes of these pilots, we will be in a better position to understand final timescales. 

Find out more

Greater Manchester Combined Authority

GM Green City