Regular readers of this blog will know how passionately I feel about protecting the environment and seeking energy solutions that support renewable energy.
Earlier this year I went to the launch of the Greater Manchester Energy Plan with Ed Davey, which focuses not just on what we can do for the environment, but what investing in renewable energy can do for Manchester. One of the objectives of the plan is to be on the cutting edge of innovation:
- To be early adopters of smartgrids, smart technologies and energy storage, improving the efficiency of our energy system;
- To have created market opportunities for the £100 million of energy research being undertaken by Greater Manchester’s universities; and
- To have integrated the development of new heating and cooling networks and the establishment of locally generated power networks with the development of major retrofitting programmes and role out of smart technologies in order that networks can expand as heat demand from retrofitted property decreases
And it looks like we are well on the way on exploring energy alternative. A few months ago it was announced that there are plans to develop a geothermal heat plant in Manchester. GT Energy is planning to tap into the natural hot water found beneath Devonshire Street, Ardwick to heat surrounding buildings. This will be one of the first of this type of heat plant in the UK, and we’re lucky to be on top of the Cheshire Basin, one of the UK’s largest geothermal resources.
Other sources of renewable energy are hitting the news every day with expectations of job growth, such as 100 new jobs in Scotland or a potential 1,600 jobs on the Isle of Sheppey. Geothermal energy has the ability to create an even larger number of jobs due to the labour-intensive installation and maintenance. The Geothermal Energy Association in the US has found that per 500 megawatts, geothermal energy provides 27,050 jobs as opposed to 2,460 created by investing in natural gas.
If we are able to harness this geothermal energy source that Manchester is built on, there is the potential for a great boom in the renewable job market. This is one of those wonderful win-win-win situations: good for the environment, good for business, good for Manchester.