Green energy test bed to launch in Manchester

Energy infrastructure developer SSE Energy Solutions has signed an agreement with the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) to use the region as a test bed for pioneering projects which will accelerate its journey to net zero.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) will see the mass deployment of investment in the decarbonisation of power, heat, and transport across Greater Manchester, as well as helping to create a ‘green skills workforce’ with long-term, high-quality careers in the low carbon sector.

The five-year MOU will also seek to strengthen research and innovation clusters, building an ecosystem that connects people, ideas, and sectors to accelerate green energy projects, including ground and roof solar arrays, low carbon district heat networks, and EV and e-HGV charging hubs. 

SSE has already developed strong relationships with key stakeholders in the region, including the Green Skills Academy, Manchester Metropolitan University’s Fuel Cell Innovation Centre, and Greater Manchester’s Energy Innovation Agency. This multi-sector collaboration supports companies working in areas such as smart building technology, energy efficiency, and EV charging infrastructure.

The GMCA has set an ambitious target to achieve net zero by 2038. Meanwhile, SSE has increased clean energy investments by 65% to a total of £20.5bn by 2027 and is spending more than £10m a day to unleash the low-carbon infrastructure that the UK needs for its net zero transition.

Neil Kirkby, Managing Director of Enterprise at SSE Energy Solutions, said:

“If we are to reach our net zero targets here in the UK, we are going to need a workforce skilled to fill the STEM jobs that will be needed to facilitate the transition to renewable energy. Secondly, we need to ensure we take the public on the journey with us.

“We believe strongly in a just and fair transition to net zero and decarbonising the country presents opportunities to support communities with regeneration, economic investment, and the creation of sustainable, long-term jobs.

“This agreement with the GMCA means we can work together to deliver innovative green energy projects, designed and built by local people who will directly benefit from them. This is exactly what the Social Value strategy we have here at SSE is all about.” 

Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said:

“The green transition presents a massive opportunity to reindustrialise places like Greater Manchester. We want our economy to prosper, and our target is to become a carbon neutral city-region by 2038 – growing our low carbon industries can help us to do both.

“To realise our ambitions, we need to build relationships with partners in industry. This agreement will see us work closely with SSE Energy Solutions to find mutual benefits in a wide range of areas, including clean energy projects, careers and skills development, and research and innovation.”

Image courtesy of SSE Energy Solutions shows Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham (left), shaking hands with Neil Kirkby, Managing Director of Enterprise at SSE Energy Solutions.

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