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Energy Planning Group

The majority of the Citizens Assembly supported the roll-out of more renewable energy, improving the energy efficiency of buildings and providing charging infrastructure for electric vehicles to help achieve net-zero.

Becoming a green energy powerhouse and an exporter of clean energy is an aspiration for Devon and Somerset set by the Heart of the South West LEP in its Blueprint for Clean Growth. Furthermore the Joint LEP Energy Strategy prepared by the three Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEP) covering Cornwall, Devon, Somerset and Dorset sets a target for the percentage of the areas’ electricity consumption sourced from renewable technologies to rise to 80% by 2030 but acknowledges that social and political support provides localised challenges to deploying projects to meet this target.

The Devon Carbon Plan notes that the route to achieve a net-zero-carbon energy system is complex and proposes the preparation of a Devon Energy Plan as a priority action. This will explore the potential future pathways and test these with stakeholders and communities to identify the no-regrets projects that should be delivered in the near term.

Workers installing solar on a roof

Purpose

The group was formed in June 2023. Its purpose is to ensure Devon’s future energy needs to achieve net-zero will be met, as well as the area’s ambition to be a clean energy exporter, whilst reflecting the Devon Carbon Plan’s principles to ensure this transition is cost effective, fair and involves communities.

Aim

To lead the planning for the most effective route for Devon’s energy system (heat, power and transport) to maximise its contribution towards improving energy security and meeting the national net zero target, as well as achieving the interim target of a 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions below 2010 levels by 2030.

The Devon Carbon Plan sets out that this will require consideration of:

  1. Using less energy. We need to reduce demand for energy and use energy as efficiently as possible to minimise the need for new generating capacity. 
  2. Transitioning to renewables. The energy used needs to be from renewable sources.
  3. Increasing flexibility and storage. We need to store energy and use it more flexibly.

Objectives

A. Prepare a fully costed and spatial master-plan that identifies the change needed to the local energy system and built environment, detailing ‘what, where and when and by whom’.

B. Identify near-term actions and projects to provide stakeholders with a basis for taking forward activity and prioritising investments and action.

C. Engage stakeholders meaningfully in the preparation of the master-plan.

Electric car charging

Communications

The minutes of the Net-Zero Task Force will be published on the project website following their sign-off.

Membership

  • All upper and lower tier local authorities in Devon
  • Dartmoor National Park Authority
  • Exmoor National Park Authority
  • Devon Association of Local Councils
  • Public Health Devon
  • Devon Energy Collective
  • Wales and West Utilities
  • National Grid – Distribution System Operator
  • National Grid – Energy System Operator
  • Heart of the South West LEP
  • South West Net-Zero Hub
  • University of Exeter
  • University of Plymouth

Chairperson

The Chair of the Group will be appointed by its members. The initial chairing organisation is Devon County Council. The Group will re-elect the chair every 24 months. The Chair can serve multiple terms.

Decisions

The group will seek to make decision by consensus. If necessary, decisions can be taken by a majority vote, with the chair holding an additional casting vote.

Resources

Financial and in-kind resources to achieve the objectives are to be sought from the members and grant funding.

Secretariat

Devon County Council’s Environment Group will provide the secretariat function to take minutes, arrange meetings and progress the early stages of the project.  

Current Activity

During autumn 2023 and spring 2024 the group is collating the data it needs to build a model of the existing energy system in Devon – this is called a ‘digital twin’. Once built, this model will be used to forecast Devon’s energy demand and generation and storage requirements into the future under different scenarios. The short-term actions that are common to most of the scenarios will form the Devon Local Area Energy Plan.

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