New report reveals green energy and co-operative potential for the North West, with potential revenue gains of £50bn a year.
The North West (NW) has enough renewable energy potential to meet its future energy demands twice over, according to a new report from the North West Green Energy Task Force.
Renewables could generate an energy retail value of £50bn per annum to help lower bills, stimulate green economic growth, provide energy security and fund public services - with co-operative ownership a key element.
Rose Marley, CEO of Co-operatives UK, said: "Co-operative ownership allows us to get all stakeholders involved: public, private and community. We'll unlock local solutions, foster innovation and deliver that deeper sense of ownership. A sustainable and inclusive energy landscape needs co-operative ownership."
The report was unveiled at The Sustainability Show in Manchester on Saturday 8 July. It revealed that a combination of wind, solar, tidal and green gas could generate a potential energy supply of 92TWh per year, more than double the forecasted demand of 46TWh per year.
The Green Energy Task Force was launched in 2022 by Metro Mayors Andy Burnham and Steve Rotheram, and green entrepreneur Dale Vince. The Taskforce is made up of of Dale Vince’s Green Britain Foundation, Climate Outreach and Co-operatives UK.
As well as mapping out the green energy potential of the Greater Manchester and Liverpool City regions, the report also includes research from Climate Outreach on how to engage local communities in achieving Net Zero, and a exploration of models of ownership from Co-operatives UK.
Dale Vince, green entrepreneur and climate campaigner, said: "The North West Net Zero Youth Network said it best when they told us 'if you build, they will come'. It shouldn’t need our kids to tell us we need to act, but they’re right. We need to build. We need to build the infrastructure and we need to build a movement to bring people with us.”
It is imperative to act now according to Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester. He said: “We are at a crucial moment in time where the decisions we make now around sustainable energy impact not just our environment but our economic success for generations to come.
“Renewable energy presents us with an opportunity of a green industrial revolution, where improving our carbon footprint also reduces people’s energy bills at a time they need it most and creates good, skilled jobs locally.
“The Green Energy Taskforce report highlights the scale and scope of the renewable energy opportunity in the region and proposes ways that new energy assets can be cooperatively funded and owned. I strongly believe that in the North West we can seize these opportunities, which will boost our economy and improve the lives of local people whilst making this a greener place.”
Steve Rotheram, Mayor of Liverpool City Region, has set a more ambitious target of net zero by 2040 for his region, rather than the government's 2050 aim.
He said:"The last few years have seen the climate crisis thrust into public consciousness like never before. It presents a challenge on a scale like nothing we have seen - and I believe we all have a moral duty to play our part.
"If trains, docks and canals made our area a leader in the First Industrial Revolution, then our industrial strengths and natural assets in wind, tidal and hydrogen can make us a leader in the Green Industrial Revolution. From Glass Futures, which has the potential to lead the way in the decarbonisation of energy intensive industries, to Mersey Tidal Power which could generate enough predictable, renewable energy to power up to one million homes for 120 years, I believe we have all the skills, capabilities - and political will - to become Britain's Renewable Energy Coast.
"I will be banging the drum over the next few years for more power, resource and funding from government to ensure that the Liverpool City Region is able to play its part on the journey to net zero - and attract the many thousands of green jobs and benefits it will bring."