The launch of the Energy Innovation Agency (Agency) will bring together world-leading academics, private sector and public sector expertise to help Greater Manchester reach its carbon-neutral targets.

By leveraging the potential of the region’s world-class growth and innovation assets, the Agency aims to lead the way, opening up opportunities in all parts of the city-region, to accelerate energy innovation across Greater Manchester and beyond.

Based in Greater Manchester, the Agency has been established by three leading universities (Manchester Metropolitan University, The University of Manchester and the University of Salford), property specialists Bruntwood, Greater Manchester Combined Authority, The Growth Company, Hitachi Europe, and energy firm SSE. 

The Agency will focus on four core challenge areas, attracting and supporting energy innovators on their journey to commercialisation. The Agency will launch with a series of challenge events based on each focus area, which is designed to engage innovators from across the country and beyond, to solve some of the industry’s greatest problems and accelerate the journey to net-zero carbon. 

The first challenge will focus on finding new solutions to decarbonise heat generation in non-domestic buildings.

David Schiele, Director of the Energy Innovation Agency, said:

“Twelve per cent of the UK’s carbon emissions are produced from heating non-domestic buildings, of which sixty per cent still generate their heat by gas. Reducing these emissions will be essential for the UK and, indeed, the rest of the world to speed up the progress of creating carbon-neutral cities and towns. 

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“As the home of The Energy Innovation Agency, Greater Manchester will be our testbed for this challenge, as well as the three challenges to follow. The potential prize extends far beyond the confines of our city-region and as such we’re looking globally as well as locally to find solutions that can help to bolster this transition. We need innovators, entrepreneurs, and rainmakers to come forward with their brightest responses to this challenge – the world literally depends on it.” 

Rising energy costs

Rising energy costs and increased legislation on commercial landlords, such as the 2023 requirement for all rented commercial properties to have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rated E or above, have already created a strong market driver for solutions that can help to lower carbon emissions.

Solving these issues will require innovation in technology, processes, partnerships, business models and financial structures. The Agency is inviting individuals and organisations, from within and outside Greater Manchester, to apply to pitch their solutions to the Agency and key representatives from its partner organisations at its launch event in Manchester.

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Those who would like to pitch can apply for a pitching slot at the Agency’s launch event on 28 April. 

Pitch applicants will be asked to describe their innovation, outlining how it responds to the challenge of decarbonising heat in non-domestic buildings, the current stage of innovation development, as well as the support required to help the innovation commercialise. 

The deadline to apply for pitching is 6 pm on Monday 18th April. Successful applicants will be invited to deliver a five-minute pitch, in private, to a panel of representatives from the Agency and its partner organisations. 

Those with the most promising pitches will be supported by the Agency to develop a complete roadmap to commercialisation, with the aim of accelerating deployment to make the biggest impact on reducing emissions both in Greater Manchester and beyond. 

Craig Morley, Energy Manager, of Energy Innovation Agency partner organisation and commercial property specialists Bruntwood, said:

“Our company owns and operates over a hundred buildings across Greater Manchester and the UK, and we’re proud of our heritage of developing sustainably – from the very beginning choosing to recycle rather than rebuild, bringing new value and life to existing buildings.

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“In addition to developing all of our new buildings with a sustainable focus, we’re actively embracing the opportunity to retrofit our building portfolio to improve efficiency and sustainability and doing so in a way which benefits our customers and communities. We’ve joined the Energy Innovation Agency to find, develop and embrace innovations that help us accelerate our journey to net zero, and to offer insights into the opportunities and to overcome barriers we’re all facing as we work towards a low carbon future.”

The Energy Innovation Agency (Agency) will launch in Manchester on 28 April 2022 at Bruntwood Circle Square. The event will include an opportunity for entrepreneurs and organisations to apply to pitch their innovations to the agency team and partners and to apply for tours of Bruntwood-managed premises requiring solutions that contribute to the decarbonisation of heat. 

  • There will also be a chance to hear from leading experts in the field on:   

    UK and Greater Manchester’s net-zero ambitions and current progress on decarbonisation
  • The importance of innovation to achieving net-zero
  • The support available to innovators through the Energy Innovation Agency
  • Specific challenges faced by Bruntwood, as one of Greater Manchester’s largest commercial landlords, who own and manage over 100 office buildings in the North West and Midlands regions.