Procurement of hydro-electricity for Metrolink – the Greater Manchester light rapid transit system.

By Adrian Slatcher


GMPTE own the Greater Manchester light rapid transit system – known as Metrolink. Operations are franchised to a private company. The tendering process for a new operator allowed an opportunity to embed sustainability issues, including a requirement to certify to Environmental Management System ISO14001, and to introduce environmental criteria into energy procurement.

Objectives and target audience

The main objectives of the initiative are, to reduce the carbon footprint of the Metrolink system by including weighting for green energy and e-billing within the award criteria, thereby combining value for money and improving environmental performance, to promote the environmental image of Metrolink to both staff and the general public, and to promote climate change awareness and the importance of alternative energy sources.

Financial Resources and Partners involved

GMPTE, Scottish and Southern Energy and Apollo Energy (energy brokers).


Electricity for the Metrolink system had previously been procured by the franchise holder, based on price only. GMPTE changed the contractual relationship with the franchise holder in order to ensure control over the procurement process. The award criteria of the contract were also changed to ensure that cost was not the sole factor in choosing a supplier and weighting was given to green energy and e-billing issues.


In July 2007, GMPTE became the first tram network in the UK where traction current is supplied entirely through green energy – specifically large scale hydro power.  The reduced emissions improve the environmental performance of the system, whilst continuing to fulfil our obligations to the public to seek value for money. GMPTE has received favourable publicity from the switch, which has achieved the aims of promoting awareness of the environmental benefits of Metrolink, climate change and alternative energy supplies.

Critical Success Factors / Challenges

Effective contractual changes in contract with the franchise holder enabled GMPTE to procure the electricity contract, whilst ensuring that charges were the responsibility of the franchisee. Forward planning, and clarity of the OJEU award criteria were required to ensure that cost was not the sole factor in awarding the contract. A commitment to improving GMPTE’s environmental performance from all levels within the organisation enabled GMPTE to include weighting for green energy and e-billing.

More info

Contact for this case study

  • Lara Melville (, Energy Officer, GMTPE.
  • Telephone: +44(0)161 244 1733

Contributing partner organisations

Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Executive and Scottish and Southern Energy


  • Start date: 1st April 2007
  • End date: 15th July 2010

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