Green technology projects and initiatives in Greater Manchester

GREATER Manchester has recently become a hotspot for green technology projects as the region attempts to achieve an ambitious goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2038.

From small, community-led initiatives to large-scale schemes backed by big businesses, dozens of projects aimed at mitigating or reversing the impact of human activity on the environment are underway.

These projects provide multiple benefits for people living in Greater Manchester. When successful, they can dramatically improve air and water quality, reduce waste and cut harmful carbon emissions. Green tech also encourages innovation, which creates jobs and boosts the local economy.

The Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, has regularly called for funding for clean energy to support its net-zero targets. One major project that went live recently and is set to have a major impact is the Bee Network, an integrated transport system that will make it easier for residents to access bus, tram, cycling and walking routes, rather than travelling by car.

The Bee Network

Burnham maintains that the Bee Network will be transformative for the region. The first zero-emission buses started running in September 2023 and expanded to additional cities, towns and villages in Wigan, Salford, Bury and Bolton in March 2024. There are expected to be around 300 green buses in operation across Greater Manchester by 2027. These buses will cut carbon emissions by a significant 1.1m tonnes.

In a speech at the Greater Manchester Green Summit, Burnham added: “The Bee Network is a pivotal moment for Greater Manchester – not just for transport, but for our environment and clean air. With further backing support we can deliver a fully decarbonised transport system.”

The switch to renewable energy sources is a process that is in progress in a variety of sectors. For example, online casino operators are implementing eco-friendly practices for powering their servers and other forms of cutting-edge technology. Online casinos also help reduce carbon emissions simply by existing, as players can access their favourite games in an instant, without having to commute to a physical casino. The biggest in the business now provide live casino and casino games featuring new slot releases and giant jackpots.

Gaming is just one sector that will benefit from the UK’s green tech push. The Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT) is spending £36m on sustainable projects across the country, with Greater Manchester one of the regions to benefit. Other initiatives backed by public limited companies are having a positive impact too.

The new yellow Bee Network bus design. Image by GGC Media

In early 2024, it was announced that Panasonic had partnered with Greater Manchester to deploy innovative green tech across the county. The Japanese tech giant is now set to roll out hydrogen fuel cell technology to supply 100% renewable electricity to businesses and premises in both public and private sectors. The tech, codenamed RE100, will power hospitals and other facilities.

The move is more evidence of how large corporations can support local authorities in their quest to accelerate a net zero transition. In addition to the tangible projects, many of the partnerships also increase research and development investment, which will drive innovation and benefit businesses, sectors and people for years to come.

Green tech initiatives in the region got a boost in late 2023 when the government’s 5G Innovation Regions fund awarded £3m to Greater Manchester for innovative projects designed to “accelerate decarbonisation”. Some of the investment has already been funnelled into a 5G SMART project that will connect existing air source heat pumps via ultrafast cellular networks and create a plethora of Smart Energy Grids.

These grids will better manage and distribute electricity in Greater Manchester and help homes and businesses access more efficient and affordable digital connections. The project will also cut harmful emissions significantly. Speaking about it, councillor Nick Peel added: “5G can transform our public services and grow the economy, making our workplaces more productive and creating better paid jobs.”

Housing is another pressing issue in big cities. Building affordable properties is vital for people’s aspirations and quality of life. The True Affordable Net Zero Homes initiative will see 30,000 homes with state-of-the-art heating, cooling and lighting being built in the Greater Manchester area. This initiative, like many others planned or ongoing, will transform the region and set it on the path to its carbon-neutral goal before the end of the 2030s.

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