Coordinated local area energy planning could save £252 billion between 2025 and 2050, according to a report by the Energy Systems Catapult.
An uncoordinated Local Area Energy Plan (LAEP), that fails to take into account key elements such as national infrastructure, investment in buildings, transport and decentralised power could dramatically increase the cost of transition to net zero.
A legal duty has to be put on local planning authorities to enable a more precise approach to decarbonisation and reaching net zero, with LAEPs at its base.
To avoid different strategies, Ofgem should encourage improved coordination between local authorities and network companies when working on local energy planning.
The Catapult has also published guidance for local authorities that would help them create an LAEP with the purpose to deliver a consistent standard across the UK, helping local authorities avoid missing its net zero ambitions.
With 300 councils already declaring a climate emergency, focus on local area energy planning has risen, yet only 18 local authorities have so far completed a LAEP, with dozen more in progress according to Catapult.
Reaching Net Zero cannot be done only by the government and will need the participation of other stakeholders such as local authorities, network operators, local citizens or investors.
The guidance provides a step by step for the creation of a LAEP, starting with the preparation and including suggested data collection and analysis, modelling activity and how to create a plan (as pictured below).
Rebecca Stafford, business leader for place at Energy Systems Catapult, said: “Navigating the ins and outs of local area energy planning can feel like a formidable challenge, but we hope with this guidance local leaders can quickly find their feet and understand what they are producing, how they should do it and what they should include.”