An independent, whole systems approach to accelerating Net Zero in local places by developing low carbon markets, attracting investment and creating jobs
Britain's leading independent authority on local Net Zero action
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, what needs to be done in what order, or which technologies and infrastructure to invest in.
Energy Systems Catapult helps local places build robust strategies to navigate to Net Zero. Combining cutting edge whole system modelling with local stakeholder insights to support informed investment decision-making with consumers at the heart.
Our whole system modelling has shown that a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach is not the most cost-effective way of achieving Net Zero.
Each local area is unique and the right decarbonisation strategy will depend on the geography, building types, energy infrastructure, energy demand, resources, urban growth plans and low carbon ambitions of the local community.
We have developed a Place-based Net Zero Toolkit for local authorities, energy networks, businesses and innovators, including a range of models, tools, guides and case studies to support the growth of innovative low carbon businesses, infrastructure and jobs.
Net Zero strategies for local places
Our pioneering Local Area Energy Planning is data-driven, collaborative, cost effective and recognised as the leading approach to decarbonising local places.
Smart Local Energy Systems
Supporting the creation of Smart Local Energy Systems to attract innovative low carbon businesses, infrastructure, investment and jobs.
What we offer
Energy Systems Catapult is helping local places navigate to Net Zero, with practical steps to deliver real action with consumers at the heart.
Local Area Energy Planning
Pioneering local Net Zero strategies using EnergyPath® Networks to model local characteristics, like buildings, low carbon tech, energy networks & electric vehicles.
Local Energy Asset Representation
Helping planners and innovators deploy low carbon technologies with visual representations of energy assets, buildings, geography and fuel poverty.
Place-based Net Zero Toolkit
Independent, technology-agnostic, whole systems models, tools, labs, guides, case studies and data to support the growth of innovative Net Zero businesses, infrastructure and jobs in local areas.
How to work with us
Energy Systems Catapult provides technical, commercial and policy expertise to drive innovation across the whole energy system.
Our independent and technology-agnostic approach, has built a trusted track record in delivering thought leadership, collaborative R&D and commercial commissioning.
Providing a range of capabilities, tools and labs – from world class Net Zero modelling and cutting-edge systems engineering – through to digital and data science and real-world innovation trials that drive start-ups to success.
Supporting energy companies and networks, industrial sites and commercial businesses to navigate to Net Zero.
Collaborate with us
Supporting government, local authorities and innovators to create the new policies, markets, business models and technologies we need to deliver Net Zero.
Local Area Energy Planning
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 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 of extending the LAEP to include transport, energy storage and hydrogen.
Local Area Energy Planning
Greater Manchester Combined Authority is working in collaboration with Energy Systems Catapult and their 10 local authorities to develop Local Area Energy Plans across the city.
The 10 LAEPs will explore the unique local characteristics of each borough, including the types of buildings, transport systems, local industry, local energy generation, storage and distribution assets to help better understand how our energy could be generated, distributed and used in the future.
The insights will inform the creation of the Local Energy Market across Greater Manchester, helping to guide investment in measures like electric vehicle (EV) charging, energy storage capacity, decarbonisation of heating including introducing hydrogen where appropriate, home retrofit requirements for existing building stock and the development of local solar PV and hydropower generation.
Greater Manchester will also be the first place in the UK to utilise a new online public engagement and consultation process developed by Energy Systems Catapult, called zerocarbon.vote.
This will inform residents about the low carbon options that might be available in their neighbourhood based on the LAEPs and gather feedback and insight about their preferences.
The first Local Area Energy Plan is being delivered for Bury, with Salford and Manchester following. All 10 boroughs will follow by March 2022.
Cllr Andrew Western, GMCA Lead for the Green City-Region, said: “This marks a key step in this innovative project being pioneered here in Greater Manchester and one that will be a key element of our carbon-neutral ambitions by 2038.
“The local Area Energy Plans will help us optimise our energy consumption through localised systems in each of the 10 boroughs, making it more efficient and cost-effective for residents and businesses. This is the first project of its kind to be delivered at this scale.
“This is the smart way forward and working together with our partners we can lay the groundwork for a low carbon future.”
Local Area Asset Representation
Local Energy Asset Representation (LEAR) is a modelling tool developed by Energy Systems Catapult. It pulls together local information on energy demand, generation, storage and distribution assets, social factors like fuel poverty and characteristics like building design types and local geography, using geospatial data analysis and aspects of machine learning. It enables planners and innovators to strategically decide how they might deploy and grow low carbon businesses.
The York & North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership (YNY LEP) needed a LEAR to support their vision for achieving net zero emissions by 2050 and milestone of 78% reduction by 2035. Locally, five local authorities have declared a climate emergency setting challenging decarbonisation targets up to twenty years ahead of that target. YNY LEP area covers well over 8,000 km2 and has a population of around 825,000 people.
YNY LEP requested their LEAR provide an understanding of the building stock in the local area by geographic location, including analysis of:
- Types of dwellings including building fabric
- Types of heating systems
- Annual and peak energy demands
- Potential for domestic on-roof solar PV and off-street parking for electric vehicle charging
- An assessment of energy networks that serve them including capacity and embedded generation.
The LEAR also provided information on the levels of employment and deprivation correlating to the building by building assessment in each area.
Place-based Net Zero Toolkit
Social innovation agency, Nesta in Scotland, commissioned Energy Systems Catapult to help Scotland better understand which dwellings are most and least well suited to the transition to ground and air source heat pumps.
We used our first-of-a-kind Home Energy Dynamics (HED) modelling tool to test some Nesta’s assumptions, including:
- Low-carbon domestic heating options will be costly to install.
- The running costs and effectiveness of heat pumps will vary in different types of properties.
- There is a portion of Scotland’s housing stock for which heat humps may not be a viable heating option at all.
- Older tenement flats (which are around 28 per cent of urban housing stock in Scotland) pose particular problems to become sufficiently energy efficient and to site and install a heat pump.
Energy Systems Catapult collated energy efficiency data for several housing archetypes and conducted detailed HED modelling for heating a tenement flat in different retrofit/upgrade scenarios.
The report How to Heat Scotland’s Homes found that:
- Housing stock in Scotland has a poor standard of energy efficiency with over 70 per cent of dwellings having an EPC rating D or C and 15 per cent having the lowest ratings of E, F or G.
- Barriers to installation of heat pumps, including cost, supply, public awareness and practicalities such as space, exist across all housing types in Scotland.
- Older, pre-1914 housing stock such as tenement blocks would require substantial and costly energy efficiency measures including to the fabric of the buildings (often prohibited by current planning restrictions), in order for heat pumps to deliver an acceptable standard of comfort and cost.
Collaborate with us
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.Contact us
Helping accelerate zero carbon innovation with independent, technology-agnostic and whole systems models, tools and labs.Contact us