The following is a set of check boxes to intergrate into your energy independence planning initiatives for sustainable cities.
Reduce carbon emissions.
Reduce dependence on fossil fuels.
Introduce cleaner fuels.
Increase use of renewable energy.
Promote diversification of energy sources.
Support local and decentralized power supply.
Focus on energy efficiency and provide support and information to users.
Make efficient resource use the basis of economic development.
Ensure that citizens have appropriate access to energy services and information on best energy use practises to reduce poverty.
Plan for efficient spatial development.
Develop efficient and accessible public transport using cleaner fuels.
Create a sustainable and lowcarbon energy vision for the future.
Sustainable energy action planning
The aims of sustainable energy action planning are optimal energy efficiency, low- or no-carbon energy supply and accessible, equitable and good energy service provision to users.
Planning is based on consideration of the broader concerns of the whole economy, environment (particularly carbon mitigation) and society, not just a ‘least financial cost’ focus. And, it is led by the demand for energy services.
These are the key characteristics of sustainable energy and climate action planning:
All energy sources and energy related activities are considered as a whole system;
Carbon mitigation is a key determinant in the development of the plan and choice of project options;
The demand for energy services, rather than what energy can be supplied, is the basis for planning;
Energy conservation, energy efficiency and demand-side management are considered prior to supply-side solutions;
Environmental and social costs are clearly considered;
Energy sector linkages with the economy are included;
The plan is flexible and can anticipate and respond to change.
Why a demand-led approach to energy planning is important:
Understanding the needs of the users
Good energy planning needs to be informed by the right kind of information. It is fairly easy to gather supply information (how much oil, electricity, gas etc. the city uses), but it is more difficult to gather information on who uses what energy sources, how they use these and why.
This kind of energy information is very important for sustainable energy planning, because your focus needs to be on meeting energy users’ needs in the best way possible.
There are very significant economic, social and environmental benefits which can be gained by planning according to people and industry needs: these therefore must determine a city or town’s energy plan.
The needs of energy supply industries and the energy sources which they supply often dominate energy planning. The supply industries are also often very powerful so they can push their needs over the needs of users.
Sustainable energy and climate action planning requires a very different approach: first of all it must put the energy service needs (such as the need for a warm or a cool house, hot water, cooked food, transportation of goods, welding, public lighting etc) of the users and the city first. This is because energy service needs do not necessarily need to be met with a supply of energy.
Take for instance the need for a warm house in winter or a cool house in summer – this can be met by installing a ceiling and insulation or by overall energy efficient design for new build; the need for hot water can be met by installing solar water heaters. A supplyled regime would just assume that the household could use electricity for heating or make some other plan from the energy sources available.
A demand-led approach would also plan at a much more local scale and try to create closed/no waste systems: for example the energy input required by an industry for production may be able to be supplied by the waste energy and waste products produced by that same industry or by an adjacent industry.
A good demand-side database is important in order to develop energy action strategies and evaluate implementation.
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Joshua D. Mosshart-Cleantech Sustainablity Expert