Area of investment and support

Area of investment and support: Prospering from the energy revolution

The ‘prospering from the energy revolution’ challenge funds business and researchers to work with local organisations to accelerate innovation in smart local energy systems.

They’ll show how these systems provide clean and more affordable energy, while attracting investment and creating high-value jobs.

Budget:
£104 million
Duration:
From 2018 to 2023
Partners involved:
Innovate UK

The scope and what we're doing

With funding of £104 million, this challenge programme is accelerating innovation in smart local energy systems.

This kind of local approach can provide cleaner, cheaper and more efficient energy in ways that benefit communities. But setting up such systems can be complex, bringing together heat, power and transport services, and requiring innovation in areas from energy storage to data management.

This challenge has funded more than 80 projects around the UK, including smart local energy system trials and demonstrators with businesses, researchers and local communities working together. Around 200 organisations have been involved.

The projects show that while there are some barriers, there is great potential for integrated local energy approaches to provide cleaner and more affordable energy, attract investment and high-value jobs, and accelerate the journey to net zero carbon.

Our funding opportunities may fund research and development projects that are classed as feasibility studies, industrial research or experimental development.

For feasibility studies and industrial research projects, the following intervention rates may apply:

  • up to 70% if you are a micro or small organisation
  • up to 60% if you are a medium-sized organisation
  • up to 50% if you are a large organisation

For experimental development projects which are nearer to market, the following intervention rates may apply:

  • up to 45% if you are a micro or small organisation
  • up to 35% if you are a medium-sized organisation
  • up to 25% if you are a large organisation

Capital costs may be funded through some funding opportunities with intervention rates of up to 80%.

Opportunities, support and resources available

Smart local energy systems: unlocking net zero

Catch up on this series of 6 in-depth webinars covering different aspects of the drive towards smart local energy systems, from the scale of the opportunity, to finance, to what works for local authorities and communities. The series ran during Net Zero Week in summer 2021.

Watch recordings of the 6-part conference, ‘Smart local energy systems: unlocking net zero’.

Webinar series: Six in Sixty

Hear from many of the programme’s projects and partners in this series of 1-hour webinars, run between November 2020 and May 2022.

The themed webinars included demonstrators, designs, key technology and data projects alongside the EnergyRev academic programme and the Energy Revolution Integration Service, delivered through the Energy Systems Catapult.

Watch recordings and get slides from the Six in Sixty webinar series.

Voices from the Energy Revolution

In the front line of the projects, hundreds of committed and expert people are working on new approaches to energy. See 60-second snapshots of their perspectives in this video series.

Watch the ‘Voices from the Energy Revolution’ playlist (YouTube).

Enabling smart local energy systems

Following the successful completion of the £104 million, five-year prospering from the energy revolution programme, the findings from the programme was brought together into one web page: enabling smart local energy systems.

The web page provides inspiration and learning for everyone working on place-based approaches to energy, and includes:

  • detailed findings from the programme’s local energy system demonstrators
  • detailed design projects
  • research and reports on the potential benefits and barriers to ramping up smart local energy systems alongside national energy strategies

The page also links to outcomes from projects within the programme, such as:

  • the EnergyREV academic consortium
  • the Energy Systems Catapult’s work on smart local energy
  • local area energy planning
  • Net Zero Go platform

Past projects, outcomes and impact

Funded and announced projects

Discover the programme’s smart local energy systems projects in the report, Smart local energy systems: the energy revolution takes shape.

This document presents the range of inspiring projects now in progress all around the UK under this challenge.

Driven by forward-thinking companies, researchers and communities, together they are showing how smart local energy systems can be part of a better net zero future.

Demonstrator projects

Three large-scale demonstrator projects will be completed by 2023. They are showing how integrated intelligent local systems can deliver power, heat and mobility to users in new and better ways. They are:

Detailed designs

These projects are developing designs for local energy systems that focus on areas the size of towns, cities and regions. From Northern Ireland to Southend and from Liverpool to Peterborough, they cover a range of settings, including urban and rural, domestic and industrial, commercial and mixed energy systems. The projects aim to develop models with the potential for replication across the UK in the 2020s.

Watch the video on bringing hydrogen energy to South Wales (YouTube).

Zero Carbon Rugeley

Project Girona

Modernising energy data

Creating innovative energy systems depends on opening up access to data on networks and assets. The programme’s investments include:

Key technology components for local energy systems

The programme includes 15 projects researching and developing key technology components that could make smart local energy systems more efficient and effective.

Creating new knowledge, tools and insights

This programme includes significant investments in research and knowledge sharing.

EnergyREV

EnergyREV is an ambitious academic programme involving more than 60 researchers from 22 universities, aimed at accelerating the uptake, value and impact of smart local energy systems. It has produced a wide range of authoritative research.

Energy Revolution Integration Service

The Energy Revolution Integration Service (ERIS) is part of Energy Systems Catapult, an independent organisation aiming to remove barriers and open new markets for energy systems. ERIS promotes the social and economic benefits of smart local energy systems, sharing knowledge, opportunities and networking with key stakeholders.

The Energy Systems Catapult has recently launch Net Zero Go, a practical guidance platform designed to help local authorities on their net zero journey.

Report: Accelerating net zero delivery

The programme commissioned a large-scale study by PricewaterhouseCoopers which shows that a place-based approach to low-carbon measures, including integrated local energy systems, could help the UK reach net zero faster and more economically than a standardised national model.

‘Accelerating net zero delivery’ report.

Insight reports

The programme commissioned Regen to work with the PFER funded trial projects and identify the main findings based on their experience.

From this 3 short ‘insight brief’ reports have been produced:

A more comprehensive report covering these and other findings from the projects will follow in January 2023.

Read the ‘demonstrators show smart local energy systems’ net zero benefits’ news story.

Last updated: 1 September 2023

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