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

Published: 5 December 2018

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 an cost-efficient and strategic way.

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 systems approach to help decide on the best mix of building improvements, low carbon heating technologies, power, gas and heating networks to deliver low carbon and affordable energy.

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, yet a major overhaul that extends into people’s homes will be necessary to meet climate change targets.

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. 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.


Two publications have been produced to summarise the conclusions and insights of the work:

  • Local Area Energy Planning: Supporting clean growth and low carbon transition’ is aimed at government, decision makers and related stakeholders, setting out how Local Area Energy Planning can address some of the challenges of UK climate and energy policy and to help deliver the UK’s clean growth opportunity;
  • ‘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.
  • ‘Local Area Energy Planning: Insights from three pilot local areas’, is a supporting document which summarises the insights of the process undertaken with the three pilot areas.

Click below for an overview of the Local Area Energy Planning reports:


Next steps

We are now working with the three areas to develop Smart Energy Plans. These will enable local stakeholders to test the options outlined in the Local Area Energy Strategies to work out how they could be implemented through modelling and demonstrator projects.