Greater Manchester Green City Region. Creating a greener, greater city region differently

Local Area Energy Planning: Supporting clean growth and low carbon transition

In a project delivered for the Energy Technologies Institute, Energy Systems Catapult has designed a planning framework to help local government, energy networks and other key local stakeholders prepare for a low carbon future in a cost-efficient and strategic way.

The work, undertaken as part of the Smart Systems and Heat (SSH) Programme has involved an in-depth process with local authorities in Newcastle, Greater Manchester and Bridgend (in partnership with the Welsh Government).  The work is an important element of the broader SSH programme designed to support the UK’s ambition to increase innovation and innovative practices that address decarbonisation through decentralisation, digitalisation and democratisation.

Reports have been published/written/created covering a range of topics from how local energy planning supports clean growth and low carbon transition to guidance for local authorities and finally, evidence-based reports on the extensive work undertaken in the three local authority areas.

The next phase of decarbonisation will focus heavily on the challenges of heat and the energy performance of buildings, with costs measured in hundreds of billions of pounds by 2050. This will require a whole new approach to deliver low carbon and affordable energy systems, made possible by utilising the best mix of building improvements, low carbon heating technologies, power, gas and heating networks.

Local Area Energy Planning is a means of exploring a range of different future local energy scenarios to achieve deep decarbonisation at least cost while promoting clean growth. Prior to the publication of this report, there had been little planning for decarbonisation of local energy infrastructure. In order to meet climate change targets, a major overhaul must extend into people’s homes.

Local Area Energy Planning develops a shared vision as a basis for targeting investment, encouraging innovation, securing value for money and gaining public understanding and support. This process enables stakeholders, led by local government, to interrogate different energy futures for an area and to develop the most promising, cost-effective options for decarbonisation. For network operators, it provides a foundation for justifying and planning network upgrades.

This work is fundamentally designed to help ensure that decarbonised energy solutions are iterative and appropriate for local areas. ESC plans to continue to further develop the work of our local area planning team and is in discussions with Local Authorities and devolved authorities across the UK to further adapt the work to meet local need.

Link to Reports:

Visit the main Platform site