Deal secures cheap energy

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SCORES of Wigan households could benefit from more affordable energy bills thanks to a newly-signed multi-million pound deal.

The deal, which could see up to £20m invested in the region’s economy, is between Japan’s Department of New Energy and Development Organisation (NEDO) and the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities (AGMA).

The UK Government has also backed the initiative.

State-of-the-art technology will be fitted in homes across Wigan and the rest of Greater Manchester - starting with around 300 social housing properties. If successful it could be rolled out to thousands more properties across the region.

The technology generates energy using a combination of low carbon heat units and a remote “smart grid” management system. This will be the first time this technology has been used domestically anywhere in the world.

It is hoped the pilot project will help develop technology that could reduce the country’s reliance on fossil fuels.

The technology will create new supplies of renewable electricity, help keep energy costs low and assist in meeting climate change targets.

The technology will be up and running by 2014 – subject to detailed study.

Lord Smith, chairman of AGMA and Leader of Wigan Council, said: “We have been working closely with our colleagues at the New Energy and Development Organisation, who bring a huge amount of technical knowledge and passion for green energy to this project.

“This agreement takes us into the next phase involving detailed work on the potential project.

“This agreement builds on the successful work we have already been doing to create a low carbon hub in Greater Manchester and is another economic energy success story for our region. I am personally delighted that NEDO has chosen Greater Manchester to develop this project.”

The deal forms part of Greater Manchester’s commitment to exploring cleaner and greener energy supplies.

The region became a “UK Low Carbon Hub” in October after a deal was struck between AGMA and the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC).

The agreement recognised Greater Manchester is leading the way in delivering low carbon initiatives.

Officials from NEDO are in Greater Manchester for the next two days. They will sign the deal with AGMA later today before being taken on a tour of Manchester and Wigan.

Ashley Crumbley, chief executive of Wigan and Leigh Housing, and buildings lead for the Low Carbon Hub said: “This agreement builds on the work we have already carried out across Greater Manchester using energy saving equipment and green energy generating technology such as solar panels, which has resulted in thousands of homes now benefiting from lower bills.

“By working closely with NEDO to further develop this state of the art technology, the project could pave the way for a large scale replacement of gas boilers with a new form of heat generation.”