ABB technology in Greater Manchester to be blueprint for carbon negative microgrids

ABB technology in Greater Manchester to be blueprint for carbon negative microgrids

• ABB has delivered an electrical distribution and control system for a 300 kW future microgrid eco-park in Greater Manchester

• The project demonstrates that the control capability in smart circuit breakers is an affordable alternative to SCADA systems for small-scale microgrids

• The site is one of thousands in the UK with potential to become a carbon-negative microgrid that supplies excess electricity to the grid

ABB is delivering the electrical distribution and control systems for a 300 kW future microgrid that Tetra Tech, the engineering and management consultancy, is deploying for Oldham Council in Greater Manchester. The system provides similar electrical control as an industrial-scale system but at a fraction of the cost. The project is a blueprint for small-scale microgrids and has potential for deployment at thousands of commercial and industrial sites around the UK.

Oldham Council’s long-term goal is for a future eco-park (based at its Environmental Services’ depot) to become carbon negative by completely covering its own electrical and heat requirements, as well as supplying excess power to the grid. The electrical control scheme is based on smart ABB Ability™ circuit breakers. These have the capability and flexibility to control power generation, distribution and consumption, as well as providing advanced features such as power management, metering and communication.

The first phase of the project will be complete by spring 2023 and will integrate solar photovoltaic panels, a 500 kVA grid connection, electric vehicle (EV) charging points and electricity demand from an office building, as well as heating from an air source heat pump. Capacity has been set aside for the project’s Phase 2 (subject to funding), which will enable the depot to produce more energy than it uses by integrating a battery energy storage system, as well as combined heat and power (CHP) units fed by hydrogen gas from biomass gasification units.

“We’ve worked closely with ABB to develop an innovative electrical system that anticipates potential future developments that are proposed for Part 8 of the IET Wiring Regulations,” said Lindsay Moody, Director of Engineering, Tetra Tech. “The result is a sophisticated control system that provides a similar level of control to an industrial control system but at a fraction of the cost. It has huge potential to help operators of small-scale commercial and industrial sites make the most of renewable energy and reduce their own carbon emissions.”

The site is one of dozens of similar locations in the UK where this approach could be successfully deployed. While the project was initially conceived as an island microgrid, the project scope changed due to reallocation of funding during the pandemic, which shifted the battery system and CHP units to a later phase. As a result, ABB’s engineering team worked with Tetra Tech to deliver a scheme that would meet the requirements of Phase 1 alone, as well as Phase 2 in the future.

David Lowen, ABB’s Lead Business Manager in the UK for Electrification said: “The beauty of our circuit breakers is that they come with additional features built in, such as accurate metering, as well as digital communication and algorithms for smart decision making. Not only does that save space and reduce installation time, but it gives them the flexibility to control low-voltage distribution, as well as more sophisticated roles such as power management, load shedding and generator control when clients require these. That creates exciting opportunities for a site like this in Greater Manchester.”

ABB (ABBN: SIX Swiss Ex) is a leading global technology company that energizes the transformation of society and industry to achieve a more productive, sustainable future. By connecting software to its electrification, robotics, automation and motion portfolio, ABB pushes the boundaries of technology to drive performance to new levels. With a history of excellence stretching back more than 130 years, ABB’s success is driven by about 105,000 talented employees in over 100 countries.

ABB’s Electrification Business Area is a global leader in electrical products and solutions, operating in more than 100 countries, with over 200 manufacturing sites. Our 50,000+ employees are dedicated to transforming how people live, connect and work by delivering safe, smart and sustainable electrification solutions. We are shaping the future trends of electrification, differentiating through technological and digital innovation while delivering an outstanding experience through operational excellence for our customers across utilities, industry, buildings, infrastructure and mobility. For more information visit

Tetra Tech is a leading provider of high-end consulting and engineering services for projects worldwide. With 20,000 associates working together, Tetra Tech provides clear solutions to complex problems in water, environment, sustainable infrastructure, renewable energy, and international development. We are Leading with Science® to provide sustainable and resilient solutions for our clients. For more information about Tetra Tech, please visit

For more information please contact:

David Watton
Marketing & Communications Manager
Phone: ++44 (0)7880 557171

ABB Electrification
Holborn Tower
137 High Holborn


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