Improving confidence levels of Local Area Energy Plans


The Collaborative Local Energy Optimisation(CLEO) project, a pioneering and ambitious initiative by UK Power Networks and various stakeholders, is poised to transform Local Area Energy Planning (LAEP) across London, the South East and the East of England. With a substantial budget of £2.5 million and a timeline until July 2024, CLEO is committed to developing a self-service digital tool that empowers local authorities to make informed decisions for their communities' energy plans, with the ultimate goal of achieving Net Zero.


Project CLEO, a collaborative effort led by UK Power Networks, was launched to address several critical challenges. The project aimed to foster collaboration and information sharing between local governments and the Distribution System Operator (DSO), a crucial step in streamlining Local Area Energy Planning (LAEP). This was particularly significant as the project aimed to cater to the diverse needs of 133 Local Authorities in UK Power Networks' coverage area, with 88% striving to achieve Net Zero before the national 2050 target.

A significant aspect of CLEO was addressing the complexity and resource-heavy nature of LAEP development while also filling the knowledge gap in local authorities regarding incorporating energy networks and technology impacts into their plans.

Our Role

TPS played a pivotal and leading role in the CLEO project, driving the research, design, and development of the 'Your Local Net Zero Hub'. In close collaboration with the Local Net Zero team at UK Power Network's Distribution System Operator (DSO), Energy Systems Catapult, and Buro Happold, we were deeply involved with users throughout the process. Our methods included:

  • Comprehensive interviews.
  • Extensive user testing.
  • A well-received Design Thinking workshop

These efforts were instrumental in ensuring that the website and tools' specifications met the nuanced needs of various stakeholders.

“That Product Studio's design thinking approach profoundly enhanced our understanding of customer needs, allowing us to transform these insights into tangible products and services that truly resonate with our customers.”

Lynne McDonald

Lynne McDonald

Head of Local Net Zero, UK Power Networks


Our approach to the CLEO project seamlessly merged a customer-centric focus from the outset with Design Thinking methodologies. This resulted in creating Your Local Net Zero Hub and refining the planning tool specifications. Guided by customer insights and inspired by the gaming sector, we ensured every development phase was rigorously customer-tested for ease of use and maximum engagement.

The platform offers access to resources, case studies, funding information, connections with Net Zero specialists, and integration with the geographic information system (GIS) planning tool. Throughout the project, our commitment was to meet the needs of Local Authorities, bridge capability gaps, and accelerate Net Zero strategies, all underpinned by a dedication to continuous customer involvement and understanding diverse stakeholder perspectives.

UKPN product


The implementation of the Your Local Net Zero Hub as part of the CLEO project has not only had a significant and tangible impact on local decarbonisation efforts, but it has also sparked a new wave of optimism. It has empowered local authorities with essential tools and advice for developing effective LAEPs. This live platform, in operation for over a year and continually evolving, has been instrumental in facilitating collaboration and sharing of plans in 6 different ways, including easy session booking for local authorities. The tool also provides insights into diverse local authority needs, supporting a more customised approach to energy planning and contributing significantly to the UK's Net Zero commitments.

The Future

The tool is not just a solution for today, but it is poised to significantly level the playing field for Local Authorities in developing Local Area Energy Plans (LAEPs) for the future. This advancement marks a significant step in aligning localised energy solutions with broader strategic goals, enabling UK Power Networks to support local decarbonisation plans confidently. It paves the way for the three-tiered LAEP framework that underpins network investment decisions, ensuring regulatory compliance and optimal value for customers. We are not just hopeful but excited about the future potential of this tool and the positive impact it will continue to have on our collective efforts towards Net Zero.


UK Power Networks


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