Oldham Energy Futures - Oldham, UK

Photo: Brandon Denny

Status: In Progress


In Greater Manchester (UK), Oldham Energy Futures supports Oldham's neighbourhoods of Sholver and Westwood to discover, shape, test and own plans and projects designed to transform their neighbourhood. The project puts citizens at the front and centre of decision making and planning in their local area as key to kick starting the energy transition. After hosting a series of in-community workshops covering energy systems education, neighbourhood mapping, citizen data collection, energy systems modelling and group cohesion activities, the project selected three community groups to implement pilots in both neighbourhoods:

  • Community Energy Sholver: explore the potential for community owned rooftop solar in Sholver and neighbouring areas;
  • Westwood energy efficiency services: lay the foundations for Westwood specific domestic energy efficiency services;
  • Sholver transport pilot: create a community-based campaign to improve public transport provision in Sholver

Sholver’s and Westwood's existing heat, power and transport systems currently rely on dirty fossil fuel energy and are in need of an upgrade. By reducing the amount of energy that is consumed, switching to electrically powered heat, power and transport and generating green energy locally, Sholver could make a big contribution towards reducing locally produced carbon emissions and helping to combat climate change. Installing new energy infrastructure has the potential to create lots of work in the Sholver for existing and new buildings and maintenance organisations.

What impact does the current energy system have?

Local benefits


Oldham Energy Futures aims to deliver the following benefits for the neighbourhoods of Sholver, Westwood and the wider community:

  • Two local energy plans: visual showcase of each neighbourhood’s vision for a decarbonised & resilient local heat, electricity and transport system;
  • Seed funded projects: home-improvements to create warmer, healthier and low-carbon homes; EV and e-bikes local mobility or newly installed renewable energy generation;
  • Local people: Local Energy Action Plans, like warmer homes, lower bills, greener ways of travelling, better health and new jobs;
  • New skills held locally: by the local energy champions and the surrounding community;
  • Bespoke energy & planning expertise: on-hand support to local energy community groups;
  • Online hub: unique webpage acting as a depository of information captured during the workshop processes;
  • Investment on local economy: project spending on workshops, events and educational activities channeled into local venues, caterers and businesses;
  • Tools & visuals: including workshop plans and data driven visuals enabling other communities to develop their own local energy action plans;
  • Showcase Oldham’s Green New Deal: Oldham Council’s existing people-centered approach showcased through the project’s connections and communications.

‘’In March 2020, Oldham Council adopted the UK’s first local authority Green New Deal Strategy. The strategy sets challenging carbon neutrality targets of 2025 for Council Buildings and Street Lighting, and 2030 for the borough as a whole. It sets out a range of initiatives and actions for the Council and partners but if we are to succeed in meeting these targets, it will be absolutely essential to engage residents. COVID19 has brought huge challenges when it comes to community engagement. OIdham Energy Futures brings an invaluable opportunity to develop new approaches which will enable our residents to not only have their say in how they want the low carbon transition to happen in their neighbourhoods, but to gain the skills and knowledge they need to take advantage of new employment and training opportunities in the growing low carbon economic sector, and work together with the Council and other anchor organisations to achieve our zero carbon ambition for the borough.” 

Andy Hunt – Oldham Council

Carbon Co-op



Based in Greater Manchester, Carbon Co-op is a not for profit, energy services and advocacy social enterprise that helps people and communities to make the radical reductions in home carbon emissions necessary to avoid runaway climate change. Established 12 years ago, Carbon Co-op is active in three areas: Energy Commons, Retrofit, and Energy Systems.

Among other things, the ICLEI Action Fund technical team of experts selected Carbon Co-op's proposal due to its strong social component where social inclusion is not just "ticked off" but it is present at every step of the project. In addition, the multiple-source data-driven approach and the integrated focus of work involving energy and mobility were positive aspects.