The Greater Manchester Combined Authority is hoping to establish a publicly-owned energy company that could cut costs for local consumers and drive investment in renewable energy projects.
The proposed not-for-profit Greater Manchester Energy Company (GMEC) would supply industrial, commercial and domestic customers with energy bought from the market, as well as from local sustainable sources such as solar, wind and hydro power schemes.
The enterprise would mirror similar schemes established by other local authorities, including Nottingham, Bristol and Cheshire East.
A report published by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) in 2014 argued that public energy companies wholly owned by local authorities could provide a much needed economic boost to regions outside of London.
The hope is that the UK will begin to emulate countries such as Germany, where city authorities are key players in the energy market.
For example, Munich plans to invest €9 billion (£6.8 billion) in local renewable energy projects by 2025, which would generate enough power to supply its entire population of one million people.
As well as investing any profits into local low carbon energy generation schemes, GMEC would be able offer lower energy tariffs to help tackle fuel poverty across the region.
Cllr Sue Derbyshire, Chair of the Greater Manchester Low Carbon Hub, said: “Today’s decision helps Greater Manchester take the next step towards a local, fair and sustainable energy provider for the city region.
“The Energy Company will offer great energy prices and the knowledge that customers are helping to build a greener future for Greater Manchester.”
Work is now underway to develop a preferred business model for the company, which is expected to launch in 2017.