Municipal Land Use Suitability Tool (MLUST)
A project to help municipalities identify where renewable energy (and other land uses) is most suitable in consideration of high valued
agricultural, ecological, and cultural lands
The Issue / Idea
How do municipalities balance development considerations with high value agricultural, ecological, and cultural lands?
When municipal governments consider industrial scale solar or wind energy development, it immediately becomes clear that not everywhere is suitable for those activities, and not everywhere is unsuitable. For some areas it is a clear-cut ‘yes’ or ‘no’, but most areas sit somewhere on a continuum between those two extremes.
The Miistakis Institute and the Oldman River Regional Services Commission (ORRSC) developed the Municipal Land Use Suitability Tool (MLUST) to assist the municipalities in identifying where renewable energy development is most suitable in consideration of high valued agricultural, ecological and cultural lands.
The MLUST process has been conducted for the Municipal District of Pincher Creek and the Municipality of Crowsnest Pass. For each municipality, the process took six months to complete and engaged municipal stakeholders, made use of existing spatial datasets, and produced a series of map products to inform planning at the municipal scale.
MLUST engaged the municipal council and staff to identify features they valued on the landscape. Each feature was scored by stakeholders to determine each features conflict with wind and solar energy development. The most suitable areas for renewable energy development coincided with low probable conflict rating of other land uses. Renewable energy development suitability areas were also informed by removing No-Go Areas based on provincial, municipal and organizational regulations and Non-Development Areas based on existing settlement and Infrastructure.
The MLUST process can be adapted to determine the most suitable lands for any type of land use, not just renewable energy.
Prior to the development of the MLUST process, a similar process was used with Wheatland County and the County of Newell called the Least Conflict Lands. This process was later refined to create the MLUST process.
Municipal Land Use Suitability Tool (MLUST) for Municipality of Crowsnest Pass
Executive Summary: Municipal Land Use Suitability Tool (MLUST) for Municipal District of Pincher Creek
Municipal Land Use Suitability Tool (MLUST) for Municipal District of Pincher Creek
Executive Summary: Least Conflict Lands: Municipal Decision Support Tool for Siting Renewable Energy Development
Least Conflict Lands: Municipal Decision Support Tool for Siting Renewable Energy Development
This project was undertaken by
Oldman River Regional Services Commission
M.D. of Pincher Creek
County of Newell
MLUST Crowsnest Pass Completed in
MLUST Pincher Creek Completed in
Least Conflict Lands Completed in
Energy Efficiency Alberta
Rural Municipalities of Alberta
The INTACT Foundation
Energy Efficiency Alberta’s Community Energy Capacity Building Program
County of Newell