Local Area Energy Planning: Guidance for local authorities and energy providers

Published: 9 December 2018

Local Area Energy Planning was pioneered by Energy Systems Catapult to help inform and support local authorities, distribution network operators, business and communities to plan for a cost-effective low carbon transition to achieve Net Zero.

LAEP: Guidance for local authorities and energy providers offers advice and recommendations on undertaking an objective, evidence based and data driven whole systems approach to Local Area Energy Planning.



Smart Systems and Heat Phase 1 (2015-2017)

LAEP was created as part of SSH1, which focused on developing capabilities, tools and insights for Local Energy System Modelling and Domestic Energy Services and was delivered by the Energy Systems Catapult for the Energy Technologies Institute.


The Smart Systems and Heat programme  developed and piloted a Local Area Energy Planning tool – EnergyPath Networks. This has involved a new, whole system approach to planning and design of local energy systems and has been piloted with three UK local authorities:

  • Newcastle
  • Bury in Greater Manchester
  • Bridgend in Wales.

The pilots identified decarbonisation pathways and network choices based on the geography, buildings, energy infrastructure, energy demand, resources, urban growth plans and decarbonisation ambitions for each local area.

Key points

Local Area Energy Planning: Guidance for local authorities and energy providers is aimed at local/regional organisations, energy network operators and other stakeholders, setting out the case for local leadership and providing guidance to undertake Local Area Energy Planning., including:

The guide provides the following:

  • A description of the policy imperative which supports Local Area Energy Planning
  • An assessment of how this fits in with energy planning already being undertaken by various local authorities and energy network operators across the UK
  • An explanation of the steps to be taken in adopting a whole system approach to Local Area Energy Planning, outlining how local areas can follow an approach which reflects: local circumstances to achieve decarbonisation goals, clean growth and other local drivers such as energy security and affordability, reflecting government advice
  • A list of additional resources supporting Local Area Energy Planning is provided at the end of this guide.