A local energy plan comprehensively assesses a community’s energy use and past activities, establishes future goals, and identifies projects that will be most effective in meeting those goals. Integrating energy concerns into a municipality’s master planning process is important, but specific energy plans are valuable tools to identify opportunities for improvement, evaluate their relative effectiveness, and outline how they will be achieved. Energy plans can address both short- and long-term goals and will vary for each municipality depending on the extent to which a community has previously engaged in energy work, the resources available, and the amount of local interest. Energy plans generally include a broad vision, goals, energy consumption baseline, resource analysis, and recommended strategies for achieving energy goals. Depending on the depth of the plan, developing an energy plan can take anywhere from several months to a year. The Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) and regional planning agencies, such as MAPC, are available to assist communities with energy planning process. For example, MAPC’s Local Energy Action Program helps identify energy projects/issues most relevant to a given community and then provides the necessary technical assistance, including plan production and project management, to help communities complete clean energy projects. This strategy outlines how to create a local energy plan. Read more.