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Local Area Energy Planning – how a global challenge is creating local opportunities

Energy Systems Catapult’s pioneering approach to supporting Local Authorities as they find ways to decarbonise and reduce emissions is turning a global challenge into local economic opportunities.

Called Local Area Energy Planning (LAEP), this data driven and whole energy system approach identifies the most cost-effective ways for a local area to cut carbon emissions.

And it does so with local opportunities very much in the spotlight – in particular the development of new local skills and projects for investment that will support local areas and create jobs, investment and prosperity.

Developing a LAEP means drawing together a wide range of information and data – all of which has an influence on meeting carbon targets -into one clear workable plan for action.

This includes electricity, heat, gas networks, future potential for hydrogen, the built environment (from homes to factories), flexibility, energy generation and storage and decarbonising transport e.g. electricity to electric vehicles and charging infrastructure.

By pulling all of these different and complex elements together a LAEP can offer local authorities a way to make real progress in reducing emissions.

It shows where change is needed, and where it will have the best effect. This includes identifying the priority local projects for investment, as well as helping consider the need for new low carbon skills.

LAEP is being implemented by several local authorities in England, has been officially adopted by the Welsh Government and is being considered by the Scottish Government. It has been referenced in multiple reports, including the Climate Change Committee’s ‘Reducing UK Emissions 2020’.

Northern Powergrid and Northern Gas Networks have partnered in creating a charter for how they will support Local Area Energy Plans in Yorkshire and North East region and Ofgem included LAEP in their recommendations for the latest RIIO-2 Business Planning Guidance for energy networks.

local councils now have LAEPs, and Welsh Government has adopted LAEP into planning policy
of investment opportunities identified, based on the first 10 Greater Manchester boroughs to receive LAEPs