Our pioneering evidence-based approach uses whole systems thinking to identify the best route for your local area to achieve Net Zero

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Data-driven, collaborative and cost effective Net Zero action plans

Local Area Energy Plans (LAEP) are recognised as the leading method for translating national Net Zero targets into local energy system action with plans that are collaborative, data-driven and cost-effective.

Every month around 10 new local councils commit to taking climate action by pursuing a LAEP, with the overall number fast approach 100 in total.

LAEPs are led by local government and developed collaboratively with defined stakeholders. The results are a fully costed, spatial plan that identifies the change needed to the local energy system and built environment, detailing ‘what, where and when and by whom’. LAEP sets out the total costs, changes in energy use and emissions, and sets these out over incremental time periods to meet the 2030 target of a 68% reduction in emissions, and the 2035 target of a 78% reduction in emissions, and net zero by 2050.

  • LAEP provides the level of detail for an area that is equivalent to an outline design or master plan; additional detailed design work is required for identified projects to progress to implementation.
  • LAEP defines a long-term vision for an area but should be updated approximately every 3–5 years (or when significant technological, policy or local changes occur) to ensure the long-term vision remains relevant.
  • LAEP identifies near-term actions and projects, providing stakeholders with a basis for taking forward activity and prioritising investments and action.

The LAEP scope addresses electricity, heat, and gas networks, future potential for hydrogen, the built environment (industrial, domestic and commercial) its fabric and systems, flexibility, energy generation and storage, and providing energy to decarbonised transport e.g. electricity to electric vehicles and charging infrastructure.

Actions to be addressed when developing the plan include: stakeholder engagement and a social process that considers both technical and nontechnical evaluation, using robust cost inputs and standardised assumptions and data sets, multiple future scenarios/ pathways, whole system approach, spatial analysis (including zoning and data granularity), temporal analysis, network infrastructure impacts, and developing the plan through a credible and sustained approach to governance and delivery.

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Whole systems approach

Local Area Energy Planning considers the complex interactions of power, gas, heat, and transport and the different ways in which our energy might be supplied, managed and consumed in the future – couple with the low carbon ambitions of the local community.

No ‘one-size-fits-all’

Each local area is unique and the right decarbonisation strategy will depend on the geography, building types, energy infrastructure, energy demand, resources and urban growth plans.

Local stakeholder collaboration

We promote greater cohesion across the local area, by actively encouraging planners, businesses, energy networks, regulators and communities to collaborate and take a whole system perspective.

Inform public and private investment

Local Area Energy Plans provide solid foundations to support local authorities, businesses and individual households in making decisions to cost-effectively cut carbon emissions. Including among a range of options: decarbonising heating, increasing local energy generation and storage, and developing electric vehicle charging.

Figure 1: The 7 Stages of Local Area Energy Planning

Figure 1: The 7 Stages of Local Area Energy Planning

News, Reports & Insights

Explore our news, reports, insights, guides, case studies, policy briefs, and more.


Local Area Energy Planning – The Time and Place is Now

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Guidance on creating a Local Area Energy Plan

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Building a governance framework for coordinated Local Area Energy Planning

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Case Studies

Covering 70% of Peterborough emissions

Peterborough City Council declared a climate emergency in 2019 and commissioned Energy Systems Catapult to develop a Local Area Energy Plan (LAEP) to deliver a comprehensive, data-driven, and cost-effective plan for decarbonisation of the whole energy system.

Funded as part of the Prospering from the Energy Revolution programme (2018-2023) through UK Research & Innovation, adopting a Local Area Energy Plan has positioned the Peterborough as a UK leader in the transition to Net Zero.

The LAEP – which covers 70% of all emissions generated in Peterborough – evaluates the current and future energy demands of the city, considering electricity demand, heating demand, retrofitting buildings for energy efficiency and electric vehicle charging demand to produce a plan to get to Net Zero carbon.

Peterborough was divided into ten zones based on areas served by primary electricity substations, rather than any political or geographical boundary. Dividing Peterborough into ten zones was necessary owing to the distinctions between urban/rural and commercial/residential areas that require different decarbonisation solutions.

The LAEP demonstrated that meeting a Net Zero target of 2040 would require investment of £8.8 billion into Peterborough. The forecast investment required is the total capital costs of the whole energy system (including domestic heating, insulation, networks etc.). Investment would most likely come from a combination of private investment, residential home upgrades, and government grants. The LAEP has afforded Peterborough City Council an opportunity to identify potential projects in need of financing. This project identification will inform the Council’s decisions on where to focus public and private investment to best meet their decarbonisation efforts.

The Council has kept the development of the LAEP open and transparent and has held a workshop with local stakeholders to discuss the report’s findings, the solutions to any barriers which may exist and to explore potential projects. The stakeholder group will lead the delivery of the LAEP through the development of viable business cases and unlocking investment.

Energy Systems Catapult has used the findings of the Peterborough LAEP, and others, to create its Guidance on Creating a Local Area Energy Plan, that is now becoming widely used to guide creation of LAEPs across the country.

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UK’s leading independent authority on helping local places take real action on the climate emergency. Our pioneering approach is data-driven, collaborative and cost effective.

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