Council programme director for the Green City campaign Sarah Davies argued that high targets for on-site renewables make sense for developments located in areas where the grid has reached full capacity.
Quite often a development goes ahead only to suffer power cuts a few months later, she explained. "It is unclear who is responsible for energy planning. It is just assumed that someone will do it," she complained.
Davies said the council has ended up paying for energy upgrades. These have cost "tens of millions" of pounds in Manchester in the past few years alone, she said. Energy supply is constraining economic growth in the city, she claimed.
The council has just won a large bid for funding to take part in a two-year EU-wide project on energy planning with other city councils from the continent.
"We will need discretion to push for microgeneration at site level to implement a plan," Davies maintained.
If the energy needs of a scheme are identified when a development brief is being drawn up then connections can be made with waste treatment, she added.