More than 75% of local authorities in the UK have declared a climate emergency, with most targeting Net Zero before 2050. Yet few have a clear plan on how to get there.

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

Local Area Energy Planning (LAEP) is a data driven and whole energy system, evidence-based approach that sets out to identify the most effective route for the local area to contribute towards meeting the national net zero target, as well as meeting its local net zero target.

LAEP is 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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VIDEO: You've declared a climate emergency .. now what? Local Area Energy Planning case study in Manchester

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.

News, Reports & Insights

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Case Studies

Bridgend County Borough Council

Around 75% of local authorities in the UK have declared a climate emergency and targets of achieving Net Zero before 2050, yet few have a clear plan on how to get there, what needs to be done in what order, or which technologies and infrastructure to invest in.

Local Area Energy Planning (LAEP) is a data-driven, whole system approach – that considers how to decarbonise the entire energy system at least cost across electricity, gas, heat and transport, down the supply chains from energy generation to distribution and consumption in homes and businesses, and across systems – the physical, digital, market and policy systems.

Bridgend Country Borough Council were one of the first local places in the country to collaborate on a LAEP – focused initially on the decarbonisation of heat.

Working with BCBC, Wales and West Utilities and other key local stakeholders we developed a street-by-street LAEP unique to the area – that found decarbonisation of heat could be achieved at a cost premium of just 15% above the cost of decarbonising electricity alone.

The LAEP delivered future local energy scenarios; insights and evidence to help develop of a pipeline of innovation projects to transform the energy system to zero carbon over time; and identified opportunities and risks to help support more open dialogue, future engagement and investment in building retrofit, heat, gas and electricity networks.

Bridgend returned in 2021 to collaborate on extending the LAEP to include transport, energy storage and hydrogen.

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