In advance of Northern Powergrid’s next Local Authority forum on 21 January, Jim Cardwell, Head of Policy Development, talks about the key role of local energy planning and partnership when it comes to strengthening regional economies.
To find out more about Northern Powergrid’s latest Local Authority Forum: Collaborating for a local green recovery and other events click here.
"Local energy planning is a crucial part of our ability to build back better and strengthen the regional economy.
"That was the key take home from when we gathered local authority team at our last Local Authority Forum.
"Working with Northern Gas Network we gathered together with more than 30 representatives from Local Authority’s across our region to discuss how – as energy networks delivering new connections – we could best support them in responding to the Government’s call to “Build Build Build” as part of the Covid-19 recovery. Central to the discussion last November was the concept of Local Area Energy Planning (LAEP), a whole systems approach that requires an integrated, detailed plan to identify clear routes to decarbonising the energy system in local areas.
"These messages are running true as we prepare for the next forum at the end of this month.
"Net zero targets will impact an array of sectors across the region and bring with it great economic recovery opportunities. It is more important than ever before that there is cohesion and cooperation between local authorities, utilities and businesses that will deliver a green recovery.
"It was very encouraging to see an overwhelming majority of the audience eagerly developing LAEP in their regions, and that they saw the LAEPs as central to informing decisions made at both a local authority, combined authority and Local Enterprise Partnership level.
"As we build our future business plan and continue our ongoing commitment and collaboration around new connections, the open and transparent discussions with our stakeholders to understand their ambitions will help us set ours."
Integrated Stakeholder Approach
"Adopting an integrated stakeholder approach will strengthen the impact of strategies developed to reach net zero targets – this was a clear take home from the discussion.
"One of the session’s key contributing organisations, Newcastle City Council, is already leading by example through their net zero action plan, where it has taken an integrated stakeholder approach to developing decarbonisation strategies within the region. Tim Rippon from the councils Policy Team said, “It is important to understand emission profiles and inventory, such as properties within the area and popular modes of transportation to grasp the current baseline for local areas.”
"Likewise, Noel Collings, Senior Project Office at West Yorkshire Combined Authority discussed high-impact pathways that are crucial for decarbonising the region, “These pathways could include high levels of electrification, green hydrogen or the adoption of low carbon technology.”
"These high-impact pathways are inclusive of many sectors and further strengthen the importance of adopting an integrated approach to developing strategies that will support the region in its green recovery."
"Together with Northern Gas Networks, we delivered a successful local authority forum that uncovered the views of key stakeholders within the region. The forum highlighted the importance of LAEPs on informing decisions and how vital an inclusive and integrated stakeholder approach is in achieving a successful net-zero economy.
"Northern Powergrid will continue to host events that bring together and support local authorities from across the region in their development of strategies to reach net-zero. Working together will only strengthen our regions ability to deliver an economically robust, carbon-free future.
"This event as part of a series of dedicated Local Authority Forums run by Northern Powergrid, designed to facilitate increased energy and net zero collaboration between authorities in the region.
"The next dedicated Local Authority session is on 21st January 2021 and will focus on how collaborating to deliver a local green economic recovery. To join us, and share your thoughts and ideas for the future of the region, please sign up via this link."
by Jim Cardwell, Head of Policy Development, Northern Powergrid