Local Area Energy Planning (LAEP) in Oxfordshire can help shape a sustainable energy future and support the county's journey to net zero. LAEP empowers communities and decision-makers to co-create localised energy solutions, ensuring Oxfordshire thrives environmentally and economically. From renewable energy integration to energy efficiency strategies, LAEP fosters a resilient and green energy landscape, securing a sustainable future for Oxfordshire's residents.

Key Outputs

Local Area Energy Planning (LAEP) provides an action plan that takes into account energy and infrastructure plans at the national level. It incorporates technical evidence on the whole energy system, wider non-technical factors, and engagement with stakeholders.

LAEP aims to deliver cost savings, social benefits and a more coordinated energy transition by taking a proactive, whole-systems, place-specific approach to energy planning. They should also give Distribution System Operators (DSOs) the information they need to invest ahead of need to deliver the network capacity required for development and net zero objectives.

Key benefits of a LAEP should include:

  • Planned decarbonisation to meet net zero targets: the route to decarbonised energy (mainly heat and transport) will be more efficient if it is planned via the LAEP process, and even more effective if this is done by all the councils of Oxfordshire working collectively.
  • Governance and local mandate: LAEPs give agency to local decision making and will allow for local agreed priorities to be communicated to the Distribution System Operators and the newly established Regional Energy System Planner (RESP).
  • Renewable energy integration: LAEPs create a strategy for the increased use of renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind, to reduce dependence on non-renewable and environmentally harmful resources.
  • Responsive/proactive grid management and reducing overdependence on increasing grid capacity: Building more electricity infrastructure is costly. LAEPs should highlight ways to improve the operation of the distribution network that could allow for the delay or avoidance of expensive reinforcement. This will in turn result in reduced network impacts and the diversion of Distribution Network Operators resources to areas of high priority. This will ensure the county has the energy it needs to meet its development needs.
  • Increased investment and planned investment portfolio: LAEPs will produce an action plan of costed projects, which will make planned investment and delivery more likely. Investment decisions will be based on a solid evidence base established in the LAEP.
  • Community resilience: strengthening the resilience of the local energy system to external shocks, ensuring continuous access to energy during emergencies or disruptions.
  • Carbon reduction: set and achieve targets for carbon reduction, contributing to broader efforts to combat climate change and create a more sustainable and environmentally friendly community.
  • Inclusive decision-making: fostering inclusive decision-making processes that involve diverse stakeholders, including residents, businesses, and policymakers, to ensure a well-rounded and representative approach to energy planning.
  • Infrastructure development: planning and implementing necessary energy infrastructure projects, including smart grids, storage facilities, and distribution networks, to support the evolving energy needs of the community.
  • Policy recommendations: providing evidence-based recommendations for the development and improvement of energy-related policies, regulations, and incentives

Current Status

In March 2023, local authority and Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (OxLEP) representatives had an initial exploratory session to explore the role and need for local area energy planning in Oxfordshire and considered different options regarding scales of delivery

An Executive Steering Board and multi-agency working group have been established. These bring together council representatives, Electricity Distribution Network Operators (DNOs), the gas distributor, and other key strategic partners to provide the strategic direction and practical support needed to embed the local area energy planning approach in Oxfordshire.

The Local Energy Oxfordshire (LEO) LAEP+ mapping tool developed through Project LEO provides key data and insight to inform local area energy planning, whilst insights from the various LEO asset and place-based trials offer ideas for innovative decentralised, local energy solutions.

Further Information

Read HM Government's research briefing on Local Area Energy Planning.

See a case study of a Local Area Energy Plan from Manchester Greater Authority.

Related News

Future Oxfordshire Partnership Advocates for Urgent Action on Grid Constraints Hindering Net Zero Goals

June 30, 2023

The Future Oxfordshire Partnership, a committee of Oxfordshire's six local authorities working with key strategic partners working to deliver a sustainable future for the county, calls to address critical concerns hindering net zero ambitions in the region.


Future Oxfordshire Partnership Embarks on Ambitious Net Zero Journey

March 31, 2023

The Future Oxfordshire Partnership has endorsed five workstreams of the Net Zero Route Map and Action Plan, setting out the path to a net zero future for the county.


Oxfordshire Councils agree new approach to co-ordinating planning in county

September 27, 2022

On Wednesday 27 September, following the cessation of work on the Oxfordshire Plan 2050, the Future Oxfordshire Partnership agreed a new approach to co-ordinating planning across the county by updating the remit of the Oxfordshire Plan Advisory Group.

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