Funding and investment for decarbonisation projects

13 February 2023      Cheryl Pick, Projects and Engagement Manager

Grant funding opportunities   

Green Heat Network Fund (GHNF)  

Funder: Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, operated by Triple Point.  
Opened March 2022. Quarterly rounds until 2025.  

A £288 million capital grant fund to support the commercialisation and construction of new low and zero carbon heat networks, along with the retrofitting and expansion of existing heat networks.   

Heat Network Efficiency Scheme 

Funder: Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy. 
Opened 7 Feb 2023, closes 31 March 2023.   
The Heat Network Efficiency Scheme (HNES) provides funding to public, private and third sector applicants in England and Wales to support improvements to existing district heating or communal heating projects that are operating sub-optimally and resulting in poor outcomes for customers and operators. 

Follows the 2021-2022 HNES Demonstrator.  

Strategic Innovation Fund 

Funders: Ofgem & Innovate UK (UKRI).  
Launched 2021. Ongoing (next call for feasibility studies expected Autumn 2022) with rounds through to 2026 and option to extend.  

Total fund £450m with option to increase. Supports network innovation that contributes to the achievement of net zero, while delivering net benefits to energy consumers. Lead project partners must be an existing energy network. Each round invites applications to address a set of specific challenges. Successful Round 1 discovery projects included university collaborations. Has a feasibility focus as opposed to large scale capital investment, with only modest costs for university partners at first stage. Those awarded in discovery phase have opportunity to progress to Alpha and Beta phases with expectation of increased scope and funding.  

Research England Development (RED) Fund 

Funder: Research England.  
Launched September 2020. No closing date.  

Annual budget £27m. Supports institutional-level innovative projects in research and knowledge exchange including collaborations between education providers and between education providers and business. Focus on Delivering the Industrial Strategy through knowledge exchange. Has previously funded energy related projects including hydrogen demonstrators and a university based centre for the delivery and operation of sustainable infrastructure, cities and energy.   

Other sources 

The Crown Commercial Service (CCS) have developed a new carbon net-zero funding and grants list, which will publish new opportunities here as they arise.  

This Community Energy England (CEE) Funding resource is one to watch for future opportunities, and lists open and forthcoming funding opportunities via local authorities (such as central Government funds for 'Levelling Up' or 'net zero'), energy efficiency/retrofit schemes, non-Government grants and tax mechanisms, loans etc.  

Please note that although the ‘Salix’ fund (Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme) is listed by both the CCS and CEE in the resources above, the last round, 3b, closed to applications in October 2022 and no further funding has been announced).   

Regional funds 

Scottish Green Public Sector Estate Decarbonisation Scheme 

Funder: Scottish Government – operated by Salix. 

Scotland Recycling Fund 

Funder: Scottish Government – operated by Salix. 


Recently closed funds that may have future opportunities 

Phase 3b Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme  

Funder: Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) – operated by Salix.  
The latest round opened in October 2022 and closed the same month due to the threshold being reached. 
Provides grants for public sector bodies to fund heat decarbonisation and energy efficiency measures. The PSDS scheme is designed to help upgrade heating systems in public buildings. 

The next application window to the scheme, Phase 3c, is expected to open to applications autumn 2023. 

Net zero living: Pioneer places 

Funder: Innovate UK 
Opened October 2022. Closed December 2022 

This funding will support local authorities and businesses to develop detailed local plans for innovative approaches to unlock non-technical systemic barriers to the delivery of net zero targets in up to thirty ‘pioneer places.’ Maximum grant £75k. Innovate UK grants must be led by a business and involve at least one local authority. Academic institutions can collaborate.   

Net Zero Hydrogen Fund - Strand one development expenditure (DEVEX)   

Funders: Innovate UK & BEIS. 
Development expenditure (DEVEX) support for front end engineering design (FEED) and post-FEED studies for new low carbon hydrogen production facilities. Closed June 2022, no information available on strand two at this time. Must be business led, HEPs can participate but not lead.  

Heat Networks Investment Project (HNIP) funding 

Funders: Triple Point Heat Networks Investment Management and BEIS. 
Funded various local authority projects that involved HEPs in heat networks, last round closed in 2020 but not been classified as closed on website so may re-open for future rounds.  

UK Research Partnership Investment Fund  

Funders: UK Research and Innovation, Research England Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW), Department for the Economy, Northern Ireland (DfENI), Scottish Funding Council (SFC).   

A previous round funded the University of Bristol’s ‘Sustainable Campus Testbed.’ Currently closed, the round seven intention to submit deadline was August 2022 with two tranches funding projects 2023 through to 2025. Unknown whether a round eight will run at this time. 
Investment reports  
This investment briefing from the National Union of Students is an interesting read. It dates back to 2016 so payback calculations will be significantly outdated, however many funds listed are still active, and it contains specific information relating to on campus investment options.  

Green/clean tech business collaborators / investors operating in the space 
Triple Point heat networks investment management – combining Government and private sector funding to build the heat energy market.  

Amber infrastructure group – fund manager for various Government funds investing in the infrastructure sectors of the future including the London Energy Efficiency Fund and the Green New Deal Fund.  

QMPF Energy – working with public and private sector to support the low carbon transition.  

Triodos – investing in energy transition projects. 

Progressive Energy - deliver collaborative low carbon energy projects with focus on hydrogen. 

ITM Power – have collaborated with University of Sheffield and Keele University on campus based hydrogen demonstrator projects. 

Push energy – large scale solar installations on existing buildings, have links to Low Carbon Innovation Fund.  


Last updated 02 February 2023 

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