This project developed LAEP+, a mapping tool based on a wide range of integrated data designed to enable pipelines of low-carbon energy projects to be planned effectively and at lower cost.
Advanced Infrastructure Technology
£599,988 (across two phases)
Summary: impacts and findings
The project developed an online platform that enables users to view and analyse building-level data in order to plan and optimise the siting of multiple low-carbon technologies. It confirmed that this can bring dramatic improvements in the cost and speed of planning for wider rollout of these technologies.
Project aims and approach
The energy transition faces major challenges in the deployment of low carbon technologies and net zero energy systems. Progress is blocked by siloed knowledge, datasets and tools which make it difficult and slow to strategically identify project opportunities, build business cases, scope smart local energy systems that bring together different technologies, and plan delivery. Many local authorities struggle to cost-effectively identify and triage suitable sites for energy projects.
The project developed Local Area Energy Planning Plus (LAEP+), a country-wide net zero planning tool for local authorities, energy network operators and consultancies.
The tool aims to reduce the cost of data acquisition and modelling by up to 50%, by maintaining relevant data in up-to-date and geospatially mapped formats accessible on web-based visualisation platforms, removing the barrier of data in LAEP analysis.
Integrating a wide range of types of data, down to the level of individual buildings across the UK, it enables non-technical energy planners to model project opportunities and build custom maps for internal analysis or public engagement.
Watch a brief introduction to the project:
In Phase 1 of the project, under the title LAEPApps, the team validated the vision for the product and carried out user research with more than 50 potential users across 37 organisations. They fell into three main categories: local authorities, network operators and practitioners. The team went on to develop and trial the prototype application and validated the business case by demonstrating the savings that could be achieved.
In Phase 2, the product was further developed to the Beta stage and trialled with customers.
You can watch detailed ‘show and tell’ presentations and demonstrations about this project at the links below.
- Phase 2 show and tell – end of project – recorded June 2022
- Phase 1 show and tell – recorded July 2021
Advanced Infrastructure Technology
April 2021 to May 2022
Achievements and barriers
A common challenge in the sector is that full data from DNOs is not yet available in all areas; the project team addressed this by building inference modelling into the application where needed. Another issue was licensing for some data sets, which was dealt with by building visibility permissions into the system.
Overall, the project team has succeeded in building a mapping tool based on a wide range of integrated data that enables pipelines of low-carbon energy projects to be planned effectively and at lower cost.
- Next steps include using the outputs to develop new services such as project-level modelling and simulation for organisations such as power network operators.
- The project led directly into a trial sponsored by SSEN called RESOP (Regional Energy System Optimisation Planning). This aims to model the impact of local strategies on the energy system to ensure communities’ ambitions can be accommodated and economic growth delivered in a sustainable manner. The trial started in June 2022.