Manchester pushing ahead with innovative energy network after securing funding

Manchester City Council has acquired £2.87m for a proposed energy system which should deliver significant carbon reductions over three decades.

Working with sustainable energy supplier Vital Energi, the city council is developing plans for the Manchester Civic Quarter Heat Network. A 40m flue will be the focal point of the plans when it becomes a permanent and unique addition to the city centre’s skyline. It will be part-funded by the government’s £320m Heat Network Investment Project and will result in many of Manchester’s buildings becoming more energy efficient.

The 2km district heating network will connect several Manchester buildings, including Manchester Town Hall & Extension, Manchester Central Convention Centre, Central Library, Manchester Art Gallery, The Bridgewater Hall, and Heron House. The scheme will be powered from an energy centre which includes two 2.7MWe combined heat and power units. A final report will be heard by Manchester City Council’s Executive in the New Year and works are expected to start in spring 2018.

Angeliki Stogia, Manchester City Council’s executive member for the Environment and Skills, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for Manchester to not only reduce energy costs and carbon emissions within the civic estate, but also to offer those same environmental and financial benefits to local businesses. The council is fully committed to improving air quality and the environmental quality and attractiveness of the city, and we believe this flagship project will make a significant contribution to achieving those ambitions.”

The 40m flue construction at the centre of the project is the brainchild of award-winning architect Tonkin Liu with structural engineers Arup collaborating in the design. After presentations from four of the UK’s most renowned architecture practices were shortlisted, a panel of council representatives and experts elected to go with Liu’s entry.

Phil Mottershead, account director for Vital Energi, said: “This is a very exciting time for Manchester and the start of what will be one of the UK’s major city centre heat networks. The scheme will continue to grow and expand, offering low carbon heating and more affordable energy to local businesses at the heart of the city. We are delighted to be named as preferred bidder on the project and look forward to working closely with the council to deliver this flagship scheme which will continue to deliver benefits for decades to come."

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