A new partnership between the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) and Octopus Energy is to examine increasing the flexibility of Greater Manchester’s energy supply and create new jobs.
This will be done through Octopus Energy’s flexibility arm, KrakenFlex, a cloud-based technology platform managing the real-time energy supply and demand of clean energy technologies such as electric vehicles (EVs) and heat pumps. KrakenFlex is the rebranded name of Upside Energy, which was acquired by Octopus last year.
Alongside the use of KrakenFlex, Octopus Energy will trial the uptake of new green energy tariffs for customers in the Greater Manchester area. The company is also to create 300 high-skilled jobs through the partnership, with these ranging from data scientists and heat pump engineers to frontline customer support.
All of these measures are to be core components of Greater Manchester’s vision for a Local Energy Market, with Greater Manchester being the first and largest city-region to develop Local Area Energy Plans. By April, Greater Manchester is to know how to heat and power every street in every borough, with locally generated energy to increase regional security of supply as energy prices increase globally.
Neil Emmott, Greater Manchester lead for the Green City-Region, said the partnership with Octopus is a "big boost" in the city-region's goals of becoming zero carbon by 2038.
“Crucially, this partnership will lay the foundations for our Local Energy Market – the biggest project of its kind to revolutionise the way we produce, consume, and distribute energy in Greater Manchester.”
The partnership has been announced on the same day Octopus unveiled plans to raise £4 billion to fund a global expansion of its ‘Fan Club’ tariff model, which allows communities close to renewable assets to benefit from cheaper rates when they're generating.
Other local energy markets include Centrica's three-year local energy market trial, which concluded last November. The trial saw solar and battery storage installed in 100 homes in Cornwall, which were then aggregated together to form a virtual power plant (VPP).
Alongside this, 5MW of low carbon technology including solar, wind, storage and combined heat and power was installed at 87 businesses. Flexibility was then provided to both National Grid ESO and Western Power Distribution.