New software tool helps local authorities find renewable energy sites

A free new tool has been launched for local authorities to identify potential locations for community-owned wind and solar farms.
UK Power Networks, which distributes electricity in London and the Southeast, has combined 18 datasets to help guide local authorities.

The new IRENES tool combines spatial and land use datasets for ground-based solar PV and onshore wind, over 18,000 square kilometres. It takes into account physical characteristics such as Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty along with solar irradiance and data on the existing local electricity network.
Data can be filtered, and layered with other Net Zero datasets in UK Power Networks’ Open Data Portal. Users can generate a map with traffic light colour coding showing locations for new projects.

The collaborative project is led by Anglia Ruskin University and University of East Anglia, and supported by UK Power Networks’ Distribution System Operator (DSO) and the Greater South East Net Zero Hub. UK Power Networks’ funding helped scale the original scope from five county councils, to 133 local authorities serving 5.6 million residents.

Peter Gudde, Net Zero programme lead at Greater South East Net Zero Hub said: “The Greater South East Net Zero Hub has been supporting the development of the IRENES Land Use Tool to enable locally developed renewable energy generation. We are pleased to see collaboration between two of the South East region’s leading universities and UK Power Networks Distribution System Operator in support of the public sector and their area commitments to facilitate Net Zero. We look forward building upon that cross-sector working relationship.”

Find the tool here

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