Pathways for projects
This page is based on the Planlocal programme that we developed to give communities the confidence, knowledge and ambition to achieve a low-carbon future for their area. It provided support to communities seeking to influence strategic planning in their area and undertake low-carbon initiatives.
The PlanLoCaL website is now closed, but some content from the programme is available in the sections below. Many of these resources were first produced in 2011 but are still relevent now.
The original Planlocal programme had two major strands: renewable energy and energy efficiency. The later was based on the government’s Green Deal, now-closed. The resources below are all from the renewable energy strand.
Once your group sets off on the path towards a low carbon or renewable energy project, getting people involved will be crucial.
You'll need to get your community thinking about energy and seeing the potential benefits of your project. You may want to encourage local residents to take part, or join your group as volunteers. Or you may be trying to involve people from your council, make links with local organisations and networks, and get local businesses on board.
Below are some downloads that give advice and guidance on all of these processes.
If you have a project which may be contentious, or on which you are keen to get input from a range of stakeholders, this section also explains how to run a community consultation in a constructive way to get the best results.
Planning and facilitating events
An obvious way to get people from your community involved in your project is to hold public events: an energy day, a stall at a market or village fete, a film night, talks, or demonstrations, or a public consultations.
All events need careful planning. Thes resources will help you plan, promote or facilitate an event that pulls in the public and other stakeholders, is on-message and well-run.
In this section you can find a series of exercises which will help you and your community or group in the development of your project.
They will take you from a starting point of looking at renewables and deciding which technology might be best for you, onto choosing where to site it, through deciding what type of structure would work for your group, before looking how to fund your project and what you might invest your profits in.
Assessing micro-hydro potential for two hypothetical rivers
Estimating the potential deployment, costs and income for a community-wide solar PV scheme
Assessing the suitability of two hypothetical buildings for heat pumps
Assessing a single building’s potential for a biomass heating system
Assessing the heat demand of a whole community for biomass district heating potential
Identifying sources of woodfuel for a biomass project
Identifying potential sources of feedstock for an anaerobic digestion project
Exploring potential locations for a medium to large scale wind turbine
Estimating the type, cost and timescales of the studies needed to get planning permission for a wind power project
Estimating the type, cost and timescales of the studies needed to get planning permission for a hydro power project
Estimating the type, cost and timescales of the studies needed to get planning permission for a biomass project
An introduction to the technologies
Solar power: an introduction
Biomass: an introduction
Wind: an introduction
Hydro power: an introduction
Heat pumps: an introduction
Energy from waste: an introduction
Which technology is best for you?
Solar power: things to consider before starting a project
Biomass woodland management: things to consider before starting a project
Biomass boilers: things to consider before starting a project
Biomass district heating or an Esco: things to consider before starting a project
Wind: things to consider before starting a project
Hydro power: things to consider before starting a project
Heat pumps: things to consider before starting a project
Anaerobic digestion: things to consider before starting a project
How community projects come about
Solar PV on a community-scale in West Oxford
Solar hot water at a swimming pool in Bovey Tracey, Devon
Biomass boiler for a church in Gulworthy Cross, Devon
Biomass district heating for a small community in Sussex
Biomass district heating on a Barnsley estate
Woodfuel project for the communities of Spaunton and Appleton-le-Moors
Wind turbine for a community in Hockerton, Nottinghamshire
Hydro-electric for a community in Settle, North Yorkshire
Heat pump for a community building in Woolfardisworthy, Devon
Anaerobic digestion in Silloth, Cumbria
Managing a community project
Managing a community project
Community-led planning for a low-carbon future
Running a community consultation
A cautionary tale about consulting with the community
Becoming legally recognised
Dealing with the planning system
Engaging with your local council
Getting planning permission
Listed buildings, heritage and landscape
Permits, permissions and planning