About the OPEN in Manchester

The Octagon Project Energy Network (OPEN) is a Decentralised Energy Network, being constructed across 5 square kilometres of central Manchester, which will start supplying heat and electricity to the city’s strategic Southern Corridor, from early summer 2022

This important and bustling area of the city is home to the University of Manchester, Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, major life-sciences and healthcare research institutions (including the Octagon Project itself), the National Blood and Transplant Unit and the Central Manchester NHS Renal Dialysis unit.

In addition there are  multiple commercial businesses, including offices, shops, hotels and leisure facilities, various schools and colleges; together with Bulk Residential Energy Consumers, such as Plymouth Grove Village (1,500 homes, including Social Housing) and a number of densely populated Student Accommodation blocks, providing over 12,000 bed-spaces to the city’s 72,000 full-time students.  

The Octagon project Energy Network (OPEN) is driven by a new Energy Centre located with the 3-acre site of Octagon House on Hathersage Rd, Manchester.

Formally the headquarters of United Utilities and NORWEB, the site retains many of the features and infrastructure which is at the heart of the electricity distribution network in Central Manchester.

Decentralised means that both electricity and heat are generated from a local Energy Centre (rather than a major remote power station) and then distributed, via a new network of below ground insulated pipe-work and private-wire cables, to serve this diverse community.

The success of a Local Energy Networks depends on and is enhanced by the diversity of its off-takers.  The OPEN contains an almost ideal blend and range in this regard, covering public sector bodies, commercial organisations and bulk residential consumers, who will all benefit from cheaper, more sustainable and efficient power, heating, hot water and cooling.

New “smart” technologies and control systems will be employed to reduce energy consumption and most effectively utilise the combined resources of all the stakeholders, for maximum collective benefit and net carbon reduction.

Such energy networks are also potentially the most effective means to harness renewable energy sources because, like the OPEN, they offer:-

  • Economies of scale, with high efficiency potential, through aggregation of demand.
  • The ability to manage the differentiated, individual demand profiles of a range of stakeholders and peak-time satisfaction solutions, against energy supply and, assisted by integrated thermal and battery storage technologies, improve efficiency, leading to a better use of resources.
  • The opportunity to displace aging “in-house” heating plant with new, centrally maintained heat generation and distribution equipment, thereby further reducing the carbon footprint of the whole network.
  • The ability to balance electrical demand from the network with the output of the Generation Hub, using “spill-to-grid” options and reinforcement. Ensuring that resilience is maintained for customers at either the generation source or point of connection.
  • The ability to implement phased expansion and modular up-scaling of the Generation Hub in response to future demand and to implement technological change as it become feasible.

What is MEPL - Manchester Energy Partnership Limited and what is its Vision?

MANCHESTER ENERGY PARTERSHIP LTD (“MEPL”) is a joint venture between Sustainable Energy Supplies Ltd, a developer and installer of low-energy systems, and Electricity North-West (Construction and Maintenance) Limited, part of the Electricity North-West Group Ltd, which includes the local Electricity Distribution Network Operator (“DNO”) ENWL.

Working together since 2016, the Manchester Energy Partnership has turned what was a desktop dream into a £30m low carbon infrastructure project for the North-West, which will help improve local demand management and meet the expanding needs for heating and power in this area of Manchester in 2022 and beyond.

Manchester seeks to lead the UK, both in its commitment to and delivery of a net-zero carbon economy by 2038, an initiative that both the City Council and Greater Manchester Regional Authority have pioneered since 2015. The OPEN will contribute to attaining these goals and help off-takers achieve their own carbon reduction targets.

Manchester Energy Partnership Limited “MEPL” – Our Mission & Ethos

“Community Sustainability”, as opposed to “Insular Self-sufficiency”. Employing cooperative principles to generate economies of scale and achieve better outcomes through collaboration.

“MEPL will strive to develop, community driven, locally generated, reduced carbon, heat and power, delivering maximum efficiency and economy, with significant cost savings (both operational and capital), whilst ensuring the highest levels of resilience, continuity of supply and sustainability to its consumers”.

“We will do this by interfacing with and monitoring all our stakeholders differentiated and contrasting energy demand profiles, to improve asset management, create better economies of scale and reduce energy consumption, to achieve the best combined use of all energy resources and reduce net carbon emissions”.

The Project Area Supported

25 principal stakeholders are targeted for connection in the early phases.

Phase 1 network demand to be satisfied by the OPEN (operational in Q2/2022), is heat 75 GWH and electricity 84 GWh, with estimated expansion in Phase 2 to; heat 96 GWH and electricity 126 GWh.

 

Who can Connect?

 If you are a large bulk energy consumer and your buildings is located within reach of our network (see Project Area Plan), then we want to talk to you. 

Private and public sector, commercial and residential facilities, we want to help you decarbonise your properties, reduce energy costs and consumption, reduce your maintenance costs and mitigate the cost of large capital expenditure projects, that you may feel pressure to commit to in light of government targets for reducing carbon emissions.

 

 

The Energy Centre

Full planning approval for the construction of a new energy generation hub was granted by Manchester City Council in March 2021 and is expected to be generating electricity and distributed heat for phase 1 off-takers by Summer 2022.

The installation will comprise.

  • Phase 1 – 2 x 3.3MWe CHP units (2.5MW of thermal each), with expansion to 9.9Mw, to align with developing stakeholder uptake.
  • 3 thermal heat storage towers combined with battery electrical storage.
  • The CHP’s are designed so that the primary energy source will be changed to respond to advancements in sustainable technologies.
  • Carbon capture – on-site installation of cutting edge technology that captures CO2 and exports it to local clean manufacturing processes.
  • Photo Voltaic Arrays – positioned strategically on Octagon House and around the Network.
  • Air Source Heat Pumps – 22 units positioned strategically on Octagon House and around the Network.
  • Retrofit and decarbonation technologies – introduced by SES in partnership with Daikin and Mitsubishi.
  • Energy saving technologies – introduced by SES, such as Low Voltage Infra Red heating panels.

The OPEN Benefits

“Stakeholder Collaboration” enables resources (both energy and plant) to be used to derive maximum efficiency for the whole diverse community.

The OPEN will. 

  • Reduce energy cost in operation.
  • Mitigates capital expenditure for each stakeholder – reducing their embedded carbon footprint.
  • Reduce on-site plant replacement and Repex minimised – mitigating the risk associated with ageing plant and its replacement and reducing it carbon foot-print due to losses and inefficiency.
  • Promoting better use of existing assets.
  • Potential to reduce on-site plant size and thus liberate space.
  • Reduced maintenance costs.
  • Improved Peak-demand management, resilience and continuity of supply.
  • Improved flexibility and risk management/allocation, asset management and better estate planning.
  • Improved monitoring, measurement and reporting function.
  • Reducing an organisations or estate carbon footprint.
  •  
  • Contributing to 2038 Net Zero Carbon reduction targets.
  • Opportunity to participate in community-based sustainability project.
  • Visible expression of intent to achieve the organisation’s commitment to a sustainable culture.
  • Improved staff and service user relations, as well as public engagement and recognition.

Sophisticated Network Management

The OPEN will Incorporate remote monitoring of each individual off-takers consumption (interfaced with their local building management system). This enables the network not only to monitor each off-takers usage but also to automatically detect any efficiency issues; enabling the network to intelligently respond, to balance and demand match the heat and power requirements of each Stakeholder.  This will be combined with thermal and battery storage to help manage peaks in demand.

The Team

The Octagon Project – an urban regeneration scheme

A collaboration between key Manchester organisations and Central Government, dedicated to lowering the City’s carbon footprint, developing the life sciences and healthcare innovation economy, creating employment and better working environments, promoting regeneration and growth and bringing commercial vibrancy to this important area of the city, thus contributing to its overall wealth and future success.

Manchester Energy Partnership (MEPL) is the SPV responsible for delivering the OPEN. The board includes; Richard Everton and Steve Willock from Sustainable Energy Supplies Limited and Mark Williamson and Mike Taylor from Electricity North West (Construction & Maintenance) Limited. 

The team is led by Richard Everton, who has a proven track-record in property development and infrastructure projects throughout the UK and particularly in Greater Manchester.  He has a wealth of experience in PFI/PPI and urban regeneration projects and DBOOM service delivery projects for both public and private sectors.

As Managing Director, Steve Willock takes responsibility for the overall day-to-day management of the Octagon Project, including stakeholder engagement, public and client communications, customer support & education, off-taker proposals for heat and HV Private Wire electricity from the OPEN

 

“I am delighted that the tenacity and single mindedness of the MEPL team has turned what was a personal “pipe-dream” into a financially viable and practical reality for the city of Manchester.”

Richard Everton

Manchester Energy Partnership Limited

Chairman

Richard and Steve are both shareholders in Sustainable Energy Supplies Limited (a 50% investor in MEPL) which will administer the OPEN (Design, Build, Own, Operation and Maintain contract, together with the Off-takers relationships)  throughout its future lifecycle – expected to be more than 40 years in service for the city.

SES is perfectly positioned to help business decarbonise across Manchester and the wider region. Businesses wishing to decarbonise through connection to the heat network along with those outside of the initial project area can benefit from our support.

SES provide access to technical support, design, supply and installation of a wide range of complimentary technologies including air source heat pumps, solar PV arrays, LED lighting upgrades and retrofit solutions including low voltage,, low carbon replacements for electrical heating panels.

 

“This is a significant step on the road to a net zero carbon region here in the North West. We are proud to working with energy and environmental leaders to bring current and future leading edge low carbon technologies to this important area of the city”

Steve Willock

Manchester Energy Partnership Limited / Sustainable Energy Supplied Limited

Managing Director

Electricity North West (Construction & Maintenance) Limited is a 50% investor in MEPL and is the non-regulated business within the Electricity North West Group, which includes Electricity North West Limited the regional DNO, responsible for the electrical grid infrastructure.

Experts in the delivery and maintenance, through COMA agreements with many of the larger energy consumers within the project area, the ENWCML team bring electrical security through world class infrastructure design and deployment.

With an in house Health, Safety, Environment and Quality (HSEQ) team responsible for the implementation of policy and standards, we work to some of the most stringent safety standards in the industry.

 

 

 

 

“The North West Electricity Group is hugely committed to supported local generation projects, capable of delivering meaningful volumes of electrical energy, in congested city areas.” 

Mark Williamson

CEO

Electricity North West (Construction & Maintenance) Limited

Partners and Alliances

The Octagon Project – an urban regeneration scheme.

 

A collaboration between key Manchester organisations and Central Government, dedicated to lowering the City’s carbon footprint, developing the life sciences and healthcare innovation economy, creating employment and better working environments, promoting regeneration and growth and bringing commercial vibrancy to this important area of the city, thus contributing to its overall wealth and future success.

Manchester City Council and the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (“GMCA”) Low Carbon Initiative Partners.

Manchester City Council is a long-term supporter of the OPEN, having entered into a Memorandum of Understanding in 2016 to prove the feasibility of the project and implement the scheme. Working closely with the GMCA, both bodies are committed to ensure its success and enable the OPEN to make a valuable and permanent contribution to their ambitious target, to become Net Zero North West by 2038. The GMCA Low Carbon Fund are also keen to invest in the OPEN.

Local Government Support

Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council and GMCA Mayor, Andy Burnham together with their respective Low Carbon teams, have long recognised the environmental and positive economic impact of backing and implementing projects such as the OPEN that contribute to these goals.

“Manchester City Council is committed to utilising district heating networks across the city as a strategic aid to assist in lowering carbon emissions, reducing energy costs for public buildings and commercial businesses across the city, and where possible reducing energy costs and public liabilities within the social housing sector. In 2017 the city council has engaged in a formal memorandum of understanding with the Manchester Energy Partnership for the delivery of the Octagon Project Energy Network. This ambitious project continues to have our full support, recognising the diversity and number of off-takers seeking to the connect to this network including; NHS facilities, a large social housing group and multiple commercial operators who will benefit from energy cost reductions, whilst also contributing to the city’s commitment to reductions in carbon emissions. We continue to work closely to help this project succeed in construction and its delivery of the forecasted benefits to the city”.

Sir Richard Leese

Leader

Manchester City Council

“The Greater Manchester Combined Authority recognises the importance and essential contribution that these projects will make in assisting the region to meet its carbon reduction targets by 2038. 

The Authority is committed to reducing its dependency on fossil fuels and grid-based electricity supply by enhancing local generation and the use of renewable energy resources. GMCA has been involved in the Octagon Project Energy Network and MEPL since its inception in 2015 and has helped with funding via BEIS HNDU support of the techno-economic study and the early-stage design planning of the network and energy centre.  I am delighted to see that this important project continues to move closer towards commencing construction and pleased to lend my continued support to the Manchester Energy Partnership Team.” 

Andy Burnham

Mayor of Greater Manchester

Vital Energi has seen many changes over the last 30 years and continues to lead the way by implementing the latest technologies for our customers. Our agile approach, experience and ability allows us to design flexible, resilient and future-proofed energy schemes across cities in the UK.

Vital has worked closely with the MEPL board and together we are ideally placed to contribute to the UK’s decarbonisation ambitions and enable clients to benefit from speedy procurement and risk mitigation, whilst maintaining quality standards.

 

Phil Mottershead

Project Development Director

Vital Energi Limited

Ken Hunnisett

Triple Point Heat Networks

Investment Management

 

Helena Anderson
Co-Founder and COO

Ikigai Energy

Perhaps the most important members of our team are you, the people that live, work, gain education, access public services and socialise in our great City of Manchester.

You can be be part of the Octagon Project. The OPEN offers an opportunity for bulk consumers of Electricity and Heat from Natural Gas, to decarbonise your site through connection to the district energy network, or take advantage of other low carbon and renewable energy solutions available through our group.

Contact the Octagon Project to find out more.

email: bepartofit@octagonproject.co.uk

Steve Willock

Manchester Energy Partnership Limited

Embracing change

The whole world is striving to decarbonise and is seeking new ways to generate or harvest the electrical and thermal energy, required to meet our everyday needs and run our lives.

The continued demand for ever greater volumes of electricity, to run our businesses, store and exchange data, provide heat, charge our electric vehicles, places huge pressure on our the existing generating and distribution infrastructure, with reliance on 100% renewable green energy or it even satisfying increased demand, still many years away.

Our Power stations are still generating typically less than half of all the energy we consume in the UK, evermore, when the sun doesn’t quite shine enough or the wind doesn’t blow.

Transmission losses are unavoidable when transferring electricity over great distances from power stations, with as much as 48% wasted before it reaches our local point of use, with the greatest consumption being in our towns and major cities. As a consequence, all of the UK’s District Network Operators (DNO’s) are committed to supporting more localised energy generation.

District energy networks, where power and heat is generated closer to where it is consumed offer proven, expandable and upgradeable solutions where the additional introduction of low carbon and renewable technologies will further reduce carbon emission and cut wasted energy caused by transmission losses.  

 

The Octagon Project Energy Network is deploying a wide range and combination of renewable, low carbon and proven gas based technologies that will significantly help toward net-zero targets. We are already considering the introduction of Green Hydrogen blended with clean natural gas sources in our energy centres as early as 2024.

We have plans to integrate currently expelled and waste industrial heat from local manufacturing facilities, and integrate multiple large scale AIR SOURCE HEAT PUMP installations, SOLAR PV and Carbon Capture solutions, alongside new low carbon technologies designed to reduce consumption of electricity through low voltage heating system installations where access to distributed hot water through the use of ASHP’s for heating is not viable.

MEPL has enjoyed huge and visionary support from the local authorities and each have helped the OPEN gain financial support from the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy in the form of financial grants for commercialisation and government backed project loans totalling £14.6million in 2021.

However, the aspiration and long-term vision of the Manchester Energy Partnership reaches out further and deeper than the 40-year plan for the £30m Octagon Project alone. With solid backing from private equity and infrastructure funds, each with a commitment to renewable and low carbon technology, we are already considering the introduction of Green Hydrogen blended with clean natural gas sources in our energy centres as early as 2024.

We have plans to integrate currently expelled and wasted industrial heat from local manufacturing facilities, and integrate multiple large scale AIR SOURCE HEAT PUMPS, SOLAR PV and Carbon Capture solutions alongside new low carbon technologies designed to reduce consumption of electricity through low voltage heating system installations where access to distributed hot water for heating is not viable.
As more heat networks and our own augmentation hubs come on line we will seek to join them together, creating huge energy networks serving hundreds of thousands of North West citizens.

Getting the job underway – our current technologies

We are all challenged and driven to find ways to reduce our carbon footprints, individually, socially and corporately.

However, measures that can make a difference to our emissions reduction targets must be realistic, technically deliverable, commercially viable and available now, in order that a chosen strategy can deliver and not disappoint.

Whilst aspirations to achieve net-zero in one single step are high, we cannot wait years for the technological panacea to arrive to meet this goal.

We have to act immediately to start the process.

Gas- powered CHP is the enabler.

Phase One will see is capable of generating annual electricity volumes in excess of 6.5Mw with thermal heat in the form of low temperature hot water of over 25Mw through a combination of Air Source Heat Pumps, Solar PV, clean natural gas fired combined heat and power units, steam generators and ancillary boilers with 3 large thermal stores, optimising the heat generated through smart storage and controlled distribution.

Off Takers enjoined in the heat network will benefit from the installation of new smart heat plate exchangers, with remote monitoring and control systems optimising (LTHW and steam) heat delivery and consumption.  Whilst those benefiting from HV connections to private wire electricity can benefit from lower fixed costs for electricity.

Network Expansion - Linking with other network and systems

Integration with PV and ASHP energy networks both within and outside the Project Area, enables outputs to be directly interfaced with the OPEN existing distribution infrastructure.

The aspiration and long-term vision of the Manchester Energy Partnership reaches out further and deeper than the 40-year plan for the £30m Octagon Project alone. With solid backing from private equity and infrastructure funds, with a commitment to implementing cutting edge, renewable and low carbon technologies, we will

As more heat networks and our own augmentation hubs come online, we will seek to join them together, creating huge more efficient energy networks serving hundreds of thousands of North West citizens.

city, buildings, night

CONTACT US

Contact Us

Address

Landmark House, Station Rd, Cheadle Hulme, Stockport SK8

Email

bepartofit@octagonproject.co.uk

Phone

0161 282 4528