We are a group of climate activists, council officers, technology experts, elected politicians, trade unionists, grid specialists, researchers, co-operative practitioners and self-proclaimed policy wonks discussing and planning the opportunity of democratically controlled energy in Greater Manchester.
Funded by Jam and Justice (http://ontheplatform.org.uk/jam-justice) and co-ordinated by Energy Democracy Greater Manchester, this action research project runs an inquiry in to how workers and citizens might become more involved in the governance of the energy system, as a way of addressing societal issues such as fuel poverty and climate change.
The aim is to positively influence local policy makers with a key focus for bringing the findings of the enquiry to Andy Burnham’s climate conference in Spring 2018 and sharing them with a wider public.
Our process is one of hands-on enquiry and open-minded dialogue. We have agreed to challenge and be challenged, respect other view points and maybe even change our minds. Next to desk-based research we come together for a mapping workshop, a visit to a distribution company and a guided walk of the past and present of Manchester energy systems. And we collect local, national and international examples we can learn from and connect with and share them on this website.
Due to data protection not all our research is currently public but you will find many links to resources we find interesting, to events and activities and to our podcast series.
Energy Democracy Greater Manchester (EDGM) believe that citizen and worker participation is required for the transition to a cleaner, fairer energy system to take place.
We believe that the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) should establish a citizen and worker owned and controlled energy supply company as a first step.
The ‘Low Carbon Hub’ of GMCA have previously considered and rejected establishing an energy company. But there is pressure internally and externally to review this decision and the newly elected metro mayor, Andy Burnham pledged to establish an energy company in his manifesto.
The mayor is due to host a climate change conference within 12 months of his election which was in May 2017.
EDGM have received funding from ‘Jam and Justice’ to run a 12 months research project on citizen participation in the energy system. Due to an overlap in organisational priorities, and the voluntary nature of EDGM, Carbon Co-op (http://www.carbon.coop) acts as the delivery body for this project.
Members of the Jam and Justice research team will participate in the research project.
1. What barriers currently exist to incorporating citizens and workers in a municipal energy company in Greater Manchester according to a) policy makers b) energy system activists c) citizens; and d) workers?
2. What examples already exist of meaningful and successful engagement of citizens and workers; and what existing and new business models are there for an energy supply company in the UK or beyond?
3. In what ways have these been demonstrated to be effective and successful (e.g. on social, economic and environmental terms?) Does Greater Manchester offer equivalent structures/conditions within which to put in place similar models?
4. What currently unforeseen benefits might exist as side effects of worker and citizen participation in a municipal energy system in Manchester? Can these be built into the design of a municipal energy company for Greater Manchester?
5. How can insights from this project inform the design of a municipal energy company in Greater Manchester that will help establish values of equality, fairness and sustainability at the heart of energy provision?