Place-based Innovation: How can Smart Local Energy Projects and Innovative Planning Support Net Zero?

Published: 30 July 2021

In April, the UK announced the world’s most ambitious climate change target – to reduce emissions by 78% by 2035 – catalysing a greater need to increase the pace and scale of national, local, and individual change.

It is clear that the next stage of decarbonisation demands a behavioural shift by people in their homes and in their local area. But where there is no one-size-fits-all low carbon solution that meets the needs of all localities, how can decision makers be supported and the wider benefits realised?

In this latest insight paper from ESC’s Energy Revolution Integration Service (ERIS), Policy and Regulation Senior Adviser Sarah Keay-Bright examines the role of place-based innovation through Local Area Energy Planning (LAEP), Pathfinder cities, and Energy Innovation Zones (EIZ) in enabling smart local energy systems (SLES) that offer decarbonisation and positive outcomes for communities and investors.

Key points

  • What is Local Area Energy Planning and how can it support SLES?
  • What are Smart Local Energy Systems (SLES)?
  • The four key elements of LAEP which, in combination, can help establish a solid foundation for local action
  • How policy can be developed to complement LAEP
  • The impact of policy uncertainty and revenue risks on local energy innovation
  • Existing ways to trial innovations under different market arrangement
  • Net Zero Pathfinder cities and Energy Innovation Zones (EIZ)