In 2020, both Ceredigion and Powys County Councils declared climate emergencies. Growing Mid Wales has a key role to play in bringing stakeholders together across the region to facilitate this transition, as well as supporting the Local Authorities lead by example.
What is the vision?
To achieve a net zero carbon energy system that delivers social and economic benefits, eliminates fuel poverty, better connects Mid Wales to the rest of the UK, and contributes to wider UK decarbonisation.
What work is underway?
In 2020, the Mid Wales Energy Strategy was published. Since then, work has begun to identify strategic actions and tasks to determine what needs to happen, on the ground, by whom to decarbonise the energy system.
The strategy sets out six key priorities:
1. Drive forward the decarbonisation of the region's housing and building stock
2. Work proactively to ensure that electricity and gas grids in the region are suitable for a 100% decarbonised future
3. Boost the use of renewable energy through new generation and storage
4. Accelerate the shift to zero carbon transport and improve connectivity
5. Develop and harness the potential of agriculture to contribute to zero carbon goals
6. Harness innovation to support decarbonisation and clean growth
Currently, both councils are developing Local Area Energy Plans which will push this work forward further.
What are Local Area Energy Plans?
Energy Systems Catapult and Afallen have been commissioned to create Local Area Energy Plans (LAEP) for both Ceredigion and Powys. These plans will pave the way for enabling effective local action to be taken which will contribute to the 2050 net zero emission target.
What is a Local Area Energy Plan?
Local Area Energy Planning (LAEP) is a data driven approach which sets out to improve our understanding of how a local area is likely to decarbonise its energy sector. LAEP modelling includes everything from energy supply and demand to transport, buildings and industry. The local plans are currently being designed in collaboration with stakeholders from across Mid Wales.
The outputs of the LAEPs will be a spatial plan which will identify: what the solutions are, where they should be deployed, how much they will cost, when they should be pursued and by whom.
The solutions are likely to be a mixture of:
- Grid infrastructure investment
- Low-carbon technologies (e.g. renewable electricity generation, heat pumps, electric vehicles)
- Solutions which reduce energy demand (e.g. energy efficiency measures, active travel)
Why are the Local Area Energy Plans important?
- Although steps are being taken to transition to net-zero emissions in Mid Wales' (e.g. the decarbonisation of public buildings, the roll out of electric vehicle charging points), the pace of change needs to significantly increase.
- LAEPs will help to identify where stakeholders in Mid Wales can come together to work towards transitioning to a low-carbon, fair and equal energy system where benefits can be created and retained within our region. This work will complement wider regional energy work that is underway which, in part, informs Welsh Government energy policy.
- Welsh Government have committed to a major programme of LAEP roll-out, so that every part of Wales will have a plan. Watch the following video by Welsh Government that explains LAEP in Wales: https://youtu.be/vBBiY2sqesc
All Welsh local authorities will be publishing their LAEPs by March 2024, these will then be scaled up to create a National Energy Plan for Wales, mapping out future energy demand and supply for all parts of Wales.
Image: © 2023 Energy Systems Catapult.