What is Manchester’s new Tower of Light?

If you’ve spotted this newly illuminated structure in the city centre, here’s what it is all about.

<p>An artist’s impression of what the Tower of Light will look like once completed. </p>

An artist’s impression of what the Tower of Light will look like once completed.

Manchester’s new Tower of Light structure has been switched on – marking a milestone in the development of the city’s new heating and electricity network.

The illuminated 40m tower in the city centre is a striking new landmark and the most visible sign of the new council-owned underground power network which will provide heating and electricity to some of Manchester city centre’s most iconic buildings.

The network is set to go live in early 2022 and will help reduce the buildings’ carbon emissions and aims to support the city’s transition to zero carbon by 2038.

Tower of Light now near Manchester Central

The low carbon power generated in an energy centre underneath the railway arches by Manchester Central and distributed by a 2km network of underground pipes will serve the Bridgewater Hall, Manchester Central Convention Complex, Central Library, Heron House, Manchester Art Gallery and Manchester Town Hall and Town Hall extension buildings.

The council said the hope is for the network to expand in future and have the capacity to connect to other buildings in the vicinity – both existing and future, whether public or private-owned – helping them to reduce their carbon footprints too.

Introducing the report about the Tower of Light to this afternoon’s executive meeting, Coun Bev Craig, statutory deputy leader of Manchester City Council, said: “I know as Manchester residents walk through the city centre they may question what on earth this nice looking tower that’s lit up is. I think it’s really important as a symbol, that it’s an example of Manchester being ahead of the curve over the last number of years in relation to our commitment to tackling climate change and our journey to zero carbon by 2038.

The Wall of Light will allow people to see the inner workings

“Beginning to see it be operational, from the beginning of 2022, with the capacity to at least double in the coming years and the opportunity for us not just to heat council buildings but also to support private and public sector partners in the city.

“I think it’s an example of Manchester’s long-standing commitment to find ambitious and innovative ways of tackling really difficult challenges and the issues around energy production – particularly given where we are in the country at the moment with our energy crisis.

“I think it’s great that it’s happening. It’s great that Manchester’s got a visible symbol of what’s happening beneath the ground and I think it’s the beginning of plenty more in relation to tackling climate change.”