Region benefits from £3m funding for tech to improve energy network

Bellway's roof-mounted unit

Greater Manchester has secured £3m in funding to cut carbon emissions and improve the quality of life of residents.

The funding comes from the Department for Science, Innovation Technology’s 5G Innovation Regions competition, and will be invested in the Greater Manchester 5G SMART Decarbonisation Network project.

The project will connect hundreds of existing air source heat pumps across Greater Manchester’s social housing settings using 5G technology, accelerating the creation of Smart Energy Grids.

A smart energy grid is an advanced electrical grid system that uses information connectivity and tech to efficiently manage local generation, distribution, and use of electricity, aiming to modernise traditional infrastructure, making it more efficient and adaptive to meet the needs of our people and businesses.

These grids will deliver benefits for residents, industry and public services, aligning with Greater Manchester’s Local Area Energy Plan, helping to reduce costs for residents and housing providers while cutting harmful emissions.

Housebuilder Bellway is trialing roof-mounted air source heat pumps at experimental eco-house, The Future Home, at the University of Salford.

Co-located on the same 5G network, a Digital Roads network environment will be piloted, aiming to reduce congestion and carbon emissions and prioritise traffic flow, such as public transport, in a quicker, more efficient way, reducing the amount of stationary traffic.

The legacy of this work is intended to be a social housing-focused model where more initiatives can be tested, such as in building management, education, mould detection, and health-at-home, before being scaled wider across Greater Manchester.

Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) will act as lead partner in the project, working closely with Wigan Council, Manchester City Council, Southway Housing Trust, Manchester City Council Housing Services (formerly Northwards Housing), and Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM), alongside a range of industry partners.

Cllr Nick Peel, Greater Manchester lead for digital, said: “5G can transform our public services and grow the economy, making our workplaces more productive and creating better paid jobs. Evidence shows the most significant economic benefits from 5G will come from widespread adoption of advanced 5G by industrial sectors, including manufacturing and logistics and by public services.

“To deliver this we will utilise existing infrastructure such as Greater Manchester’s Local Full Fibre Network and industry expertise, academia and the regions’ cyber security sector, ensuring that everyone in our city region, whatever their age, location or situation, can safely access and benefit from the opportunities digital brings.”