Greater Manchester launches £15m infrastructure renewables fund

The Greater Manchester Combined Authority has created a new £15m loan fund for property developers and infrastructure providers to increase uptake of renewable energy use on development projects.

The Greater Manchester Low Carbon Fund was provided by the European Regional Development Fund, through a £15m loan for projects over a 15-year period. Managed by the GVA, the fund will target projects that don’t normally attract commercial finance due to the utilisation of new technologies, with an emphasis on renewable arrays.

The Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham said: “The Greater Manchester Combined Authority is pleased to launch our new Low Carbon Fund that will encourage the use of renewable energy in property developments and infrastructure projects while also providing commercial investment in Greater Manchester. This announcement comes at an exciting time as we this month we are holding Greater Manchester’s landmark first Green Summit which will set out how we will become one of the leading green cities in Europe. 

“I look forward to working together with GVA, developers and infrastructure providers as we use this fund to achieve our goal of reducing carbon emissions across the region by 2020 and investing across Greater Manchester to drive sustainable economic growth”

Selected projects will focus on renewable generation, whether it be wind farms, energy from landfill or biomass. Investments into these projects are then repaid and recycled into additional initiatives across the Greater Manchester region.

The new fund will work closely with the Greater Manchester European Local Energy Assistance (ELENA) fund, managed by the Combined Authority, which funds early stage developmental projects in energy consumption and carbon savings.

GVA’s John Tatham added: “This is GVA’s first fund under management, and to be working with the Greater Manchester Combined Authority is a strong endorsement of our capability in this area. The benefits that the fund can bring to developers and the environment are vast, as is the scope for the funding, which could include anything from district heating technology to wind farms to reduce region’s carbon footprint.

“Now that the fund has launched, we are in the process of speaking directly to developers and infrastructure providers to understand their energy requirements and how we can work with them.”

Health and wealth

Manchester is one of the 44 UK towns and cities breaching World Health Organisation (WHO) recommended guidelines for air quality, so new projects are needed to help lower emissions and reduce air pollution.

A host of businesses, politicians and local organisations from across Greater Manchester are aiming to save money and energy through support for a partnership between the Greater Manchester Combined Authority and the Big Clean Switch campaign, which specialises in helping UK households save money by switching to 100% renewable electricity.

Last month, the UK100 network of Local Government leaders announced that more than 80 UK towns and cities, including Manchester, Birmingham, Newcastle and Glasgow have committed to switch to 100% renewable energy by 2050.

Matt Mace

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