Planning for Renewable Energy

Local Authority Renewable Energy Strategies (LARES)

Local Authorities will play a key role in delivering Ireland's renewable energy targets, particularly in identifying or zoning areas suitable for renewable energy projects and infrastructure and implementing appropriate permitting processes.

SEAI have published a document to help local authority planners who are engaging with spatial planning for renewable energy. The document can be downloaded here:


To support the adoption of this methodology, SEAI developed six training courses on key aspects of its practical implementation. SEAI has registered these courses as IPI and Engineers Ireland CPD training and will deliver the courses in 2016 at local authority premises and Engineers Ireland.

  • Local Authority Renewable Energy Strategies Completed to Date - Click HERE

  • Training Courses - Click HERE


The Methodology Aims to:

  • facilitate consistency of approach in the preparation of Renewable Energy Strategies
  • assist local authorities in developing robust, co-ordinated and sustainable strategies in accordance with national and European obligations
  • address the most common issues regarding RE technologies and projects.

There is currently no statutory requirement for local authorities to produce a renewable energy strategy or adopt the SEAI LARES methodology. Local authorities may choose to do so voluntarily so they are in a better position to inform the drafting and revision of county development plans.

The LARES methodology need not solely apply to county level renewable energy strategies but may be upscaled to develop regional renewable energy strategies or downscaled to applied to town or local area plans.

SEAI Supports

SEAI will provide support in the form of training, rearch and development funding for expert input to local and regional authorities. Local Authorities and other bodies working on a LARES may apply for funding for innovative and exemplary elements of the work under the SEAI Sustainable Energy Research, Development and Demonstration programme. Click HERE for further details on this grant programme.

A LARES is not a stand-alone document.
It should be integrated with other local authority plans and policies and may be incorporated within statutory development plans.

The High Level Objectives of producing a LARES are as follows:

  • To align County Development Plans with national energy policy priorities and targets;
  • To facilitate a consistent approach to renewable energy by Local Authorities
  • To ensure alignment with Regional Development Plans
  • To ensure that all available resources are considered
  • To provide appropriate signals to renewable energy project developers
  • To facilitate the planning and development of supporting infrastructure for renewable energy projects


The Key Steps

The key steps to deliver a strategy include:

  • The Preliminary Phase: clarifies the local need for a strategy and identifies what assessments are required
  • The Policy Review: identifies all renewable energy and other relevant policies
  • Identify the Renewable Energy Resources and their potential for exploitation
  • Review the Constraints and Facilitators that might affect exploitation
  • Develop the Local Renewable Energy Policy

Guidance on how to execute each of the step is provided. The methodolgy also details the primary sources of information and data, relevant stakeholder organisations, and land use interactions for renewable energy developments. The timing and scope of public consultation at key stages in the development is also highlighted.



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