DECC said that the guidelines published will help English regions set themselves ‘ambitious’ renewable targets in their new Regional Strategies, in line with the UK’s overall target for 15% renewable energy by 2020.

The document will guide regional authorities on how to calculate the potential their areas have for renewables. This might include what the wind speeds are in different areas, how many houses there are with roof space – and what constraints they should then apply.

The guidance provides detail on how to assess potential for large and small scale onshore wind, biomass, hydro power and solar energy.

Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) together with new local leader’s boards will be responsible for delivering renewable energy targets outlined in their regional strategies.

According to DECC, the methodology will ensure a more strategic approach to identifying, in general terms and at an early stage, which are likely to be the most appropriate areas for renewable energy projects. Developers will be able use this information when working up project proposals.

Lord Hunt, the energy minister, said: “Our target for renewables is ambitious and we want to see that ambition reflected at regional and local levels. We must make the move to low carbon energy supplies and everyone needs to be involved in that. Nationally we’ve nearly tripled renewable electricity since 2002 but more needs to be done.

“Each region in England already has its own renewable energy target. These new guidelines will help to ensure that in reviewing these targets, each is setting a target based on similar methods and assumptions and that the targets are in line with the UK’s overall renewable ambition.”