Public Institutions & Local Governments

Local Government Energy Use Planning

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Application of the planning process to private and public actions affecting the development and use of land is known as “land use planning.” While planning initiatives can take many forms, the most effective tool for local governments is the comprehensive plan.

Designed as an official document, the comprehensive plan outlines general, long-term policies for the physical development of the jurisdiction. The South Carolina Local Government Comprehensive Planning Enabling Act of 1994 establishes seven parameters for comprehensive plans. These include population, economic development, natural resources, cultural resources, community facilities, housing, and land use.

In addition to the seven parameters, the 1994 Act allows local governments to address other comprehensive plan parameters.  

A Guide for Local Government Planning
The Local Planning Guide to Preparing an Energy Conservation Element exemplifies how the local planning process can be used as an effective platform to promote conservation strategies.

Primarily the Guide enhances awareness of energy conservation and encourages the adoption of energy efficient practices at the local level. The Guide also provides a framework for communities to develop an energy conservation element and make it an important component of the local comprehensive plan.

The Guide consists of three major sections:

Chapter 1 - The Planning and Energy Conservation Connection
discusses the potential for achieving energy conservation through the local planning process.
Chapter 2 - Strategies and Approaches for Energy Conservation
defines the role of local government and planning in energy conservation efforts. Included are opportunities for energy conservation, implementation models, and case studies, presented within categories such as land use, transportation, environmental protection, housing, community facilities, and economic development.

Chapter 3 - Preparing the Energy Conservation Element
outlines the structure and content of the energy conservation element. The chapter provides methodologies and procedures for conducting a community energy assessment and setting goals and objectives for the element; guidance in the development of an implementation plan; and effective evaluation techniques to monitor plan success and goal attainment.