Carbon Coop launches new toolkit to support local authorities in developing community-led energy planning activities

Date published: 07 July 2022

Carbon Coop, in collaboration with the Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES) and URBED, has launched the new Community-Led Energy Planning (CLEP) toolkit.

The Energy Futures toolkit is aimed at guiding local council officers, community groups and other interested organisations (such as Distribution Network Operators) who would like to deliver, commission or fund a CLEP process.

Following completion of the Google Foundation-funded Oldham Energy Futures project, which worked across two neighbourhoods in the borough, bringing residents on a journey of learning, participation, discovery, and discussion to produce Community-Led Energy Action Plans for the areas of Sholver and Westwood. 

The toolkit draws on the Oldham Energy Futures teams learning, and provides guidance in planning, resourcing, and supporting community-led energy discussions with low-income communities alongside practical support to enable and empower discussions, development, and decisions in the energy planning process, the toolkit also covers: 

The practicalities of preparing for a CLEP process;

Delivering workshops to build knowledge and understanding with a neighbourhood group;

Communicating findings and solutions;

Enhancing and combining the approach with additional activities, including Local Area Energy Planning or community-led action projects to build community wealth.

Launching the toolkit at the LGA Annual Conference 2022, Jonathan Atkinson, Carbon Coop Co-founder, said: “At a time when local authorities are increasingly facing challenges around the energy system transition and a need to engage and involve local communities, our toolkit provides invaluable assistance in helping council frame and facilitate involvement.”

Cllr Abdul Jabbar, Oldham Council Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance and Low Carbon, added: “Oldham Energy Futures is a new kind of community energy project – we have never before seen an approach to community engagement on energy issues on this scale.

“One really important lesson from OEF is that the energy needs and interests in each Oldham district will be absolutely unique.

"OEF can help residents develop their energy transition vision for their own neighbourhoods, to meet the requirements and priorities of their own community.

“We are excited about the potential pilot projects coming out of OEF, and Oldham Council will continue to play its part to support these community projects through to successful delivery.

"We hope they will inspire other groups in Oldham to come forward with projects for their own areas.

“The only way we will be able to achieve our Green New Deal ambitions as a borough is by all working together – and the OEF methodology gives us a way to do this.”

The Toolkit is now available to view on the Carbon Coop website here 

What is Community-led Energy Planning?

Community-led Energy Planning (CLEP) is a place-based, community-centred approach to building knowledge, understanding and confidence in lower-income communities to enable them to shape and benefit from the energy transition.

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