About PlanLoCaL


What is it?

PlanLoCaL is a programme of work from the Centre for Sustainable Energy (CSE), which is designed to give communities embarking on a community energy project the confidence, knowledge and ambition to achieve a low-carbon future for their area.

It provides support on positively influencing strategic planning, as well as driving forward low-carbon initiatives in their area. The name PlanLoCaL derives from 'Planning for Low-Carbon Living'.

The website acts both as a resource bank and a tool to help empower communities. It acts as a way of bringing together a lot of information and resources which will support motivated, but not necessarily knowledgeable communities, groups and individuals to get a renewable energy project off the ground in their community.


Who is it aimed at?

Anyone who is interested in starting a community renewable energy project.

The website, DVDs and resource pack can be used by anyone to learn the basics about all the available renewable energy technologies, planning issues etc. It is designed to be used in a communal setting and as an aid to collective decision-making.

We envisage that there are two ‘types’ of people who will use this resource for community work:

  • community activists or individual community members (or small ‘core groups’ of people) who want to establish a community-owned renewable energy project in their own locality
  • community development workers or individuals who would use this pack as part of their job, perhaps as a way to kick-start a process that would get a community interested in the idea of a community-owned renewable energy installation

The PlanLoCaL programme is funded by CLG, and therefore covers England only, although much of the information in this resource will be relevant to communities in other countries.


The PlanLoCaL resource pack

The PlanLoCaL resource pack is a handy A4 folder full of exercises, images, case studies, technical information, support on running events and help on setting as a group. This is specifically aimed at those interested in setting up a community renewable energy project, whereas the website gives wider support on issues such as energy efficiency, becoming low carbon, etc.

You can order a free copy of the resource pack by completing an order form    here and returning it to the address shown.

Alternatively, you may just want one or two sections of the pack and you can print these off from the downloads section of this website. Here you can find all the elements of the resource pack, plus various other useful documents not included in the pack.


How did the project originally come about?

The Department for Communities and Local Government (CLG) issued one-off fund called the Empowerment Fund which not-for-profit organisations could bid into with ideas for programmes of work they wished to run that would empower communities.

CSE bid to run a programme of work linked to the planning system, helping communities better engage with their local planning processes in order to drive forward a low-carbon future for their area and were among 21 organisations who were awarded funding.

The PlanLoCaL programme was the only Empowerment Fund programme with a specifically low-carbon/climate change focus.


What is the Centre for Sustainable Energy?

The Centre for Sustainable Energy is a registered charity based in Bristol. Established in 1979, our vision is a world where sustainability is second nature, carbon emissions have been cut to safe levels, and fuel poverty has been replaced by energy justice.

Our mission is to share our knowledge and practical experience to empower people to change the way they think and act about energy. We do this by giving advice, managing innovative programmes of work, offering training and support so that others can act, and undertaking independent research and policy analysis.