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Fund Criteria

Introduction to the Green Economy Fund

The Green Economy Fund is a way of SP Energy Networks investing in the communities that we serve to support the Scottish and the UK Government’s Energy Ambitions.

SP Energy Networks have committed to voluntarily contribute up to £20m over a two year period to support initiatives that will benefit the people of Scotland and support Scotland’s ambitious green energy plans and local economic growth.

Green Economy Fund

The fund will focus on helping our communities invest in low-carbon heating and transport technology, building the infrastructure and the learnings needed for the changes in heating and transport expected over the next decade. The fund will support the Scottish Government’s ambitious energy strategy and the UK’s drive to a low carbon economy.

This isn’t just about green projects; this is about creating and accelerating a green economy.

Who are SP Energy Networks?

We transmit, distribute and connect electricity to and from 3.5 million homes and businesses over our network, 24 hours a day, every day of the year.

We take electricity generated from power stations and renewable energy sources, reduce it to the low voltage needed for homes and transport it through our vast electricity network. We also provide customers with new or upgraded connections to our network.

We operate in three of the UK's largest cities (Liverpool, Glasgow & Edinburgh) accounting for 1.6m (43%) of our customers, as well as three significant rural areas (North Wales, Scottish Borders and Dumfries & Galloway). In Scotland we operate across Central and Southern Scotland.

We recognise as a network provider that we have a key role to play in a low carbon future. We understand that this transition will cause a greater reliance on renewable energy and our ability to deliver electricity to where it is being demanded.  We want to help and be part of this transition.

Who should apply?

To apply you must be a Scottish organisation or a UK organisation with a Scottish footprint i.e. staff based in Scotland.

A wide range of organisations are eligible to apply including charities, community groups, housing associations, local authorities, schools, academic institutions and businesses.  Where an application comes from a business, particularly large companies, there must be high levels of social and/or economic outcomes.  

The scheme is not open for individuals to apply for funding.

How much funding is available through the GEF?

The £20M fund can provide capital or revenue funding. In deciding what activity you will ask Green Economy Fund to fund, you should consider whether that activity can be funded in any other way and whether it is already being or has been delivered elsewhere.   Funding will not be granted for 100% of the cost of the project and a level of match funding or time should be included in your proposal. You should also consider whether your project will represent value for money in terms of the positive outcomes delivered for the money spent.

The minimum grant award is £10,000 and whilst there is no stated maximum threshold we are looking to support a range of small, medium and large projects.  Please note funding cannot be paid retrospectively i.e. for costs already paid or for work/activity already commission/planned.

What Types of Projects can the GEF support?

The fund is open to support a wide range of different activities that can be seen to impact the SP Energy network in some direct or indirect way.

ALL projects must demonstrate a measurable social and or environmental impact and meet the fund ciriteria. 

Examples of the kind of activity that could be funded through Green Economy Fund include, but are not limited to projects that:

  • Engage vulnerable customers with energy issues and refer them for support
  • Provide energy advice that does not duplicate existing advice services
  • Install energy saving or renewable energy measures that cannot be funded elsewhere. 
  • Are innovative, whilst not a requirement we welcome applications that are innovative or are using technology in innovative ways.
  • Provide training and education on energy that is targeted at supporting vulnerable customers
  • Result in high carbon savings, air quality benefits or social impacts
  • can be easily replicated for rapid deployment
  • Demonstrate a strong link to the energy sector and potential future learnings that can be shared and/or replicated.
  • A wide technology base will be considered from solar panels for sheltered housing to electric vehicles for schools, small projects to very large.
  • Have a strong community benefit or wider community benefit from the proposed project, with defined measurable benefits, and potential future learnings that can be shared
  • Target a defined social grouping; for example, those projects developed to assist fuel poverty

What activities cannot be funded by the GEF?

Examples of activity that could NOT be funded by Green Economy Fund include, but are not limited to:

  • Advice services that duplicate existing provision, potentially causing confusion for energy customers
  • Energy Saving measures that could be funded from another source, such as ECO, other government or devolved government schemes or an organisations own capital programme.
  • Individuals may not apply but funds can be applied for by organisations to employ people as part of a project

Fund criteria

Projects will need to meet the following minimum criteria:

  • All projects will be considered but they must demonstrate a strong link to the energy sector
  • The projects should be able to run independently with little input from SPEN however at the discretion of SPEN, accept a mentor from SPEN’s senior team and/or The Energy Saving Trust
  • Projects must be based in the SP energy network area in Scotland and the applicant’s team must have a majority Scottish footprint
  • There must be clear additionality demonstrating the need for funding
  • An experienced project manager must be assigned by the applicant to manage the project.  Green Economy Fund can contribute to this cost and the project management budget should be inline with the award amount and project complexity.
  • Projects must be able to be able to complete within 2 years of funding being granted
  • All applications should have a match funding contribution.  For all but local community applicants this must be a clear funding commitment (not just in-kind support) and
  • Demonstrate value for money through a defined  formal procurement process or benchmarked rates for project partners

Projects will also be ranked on the following key impacts with each of the elements of the criteria receiving a weighting or scoring:

  1. must reduce carbon emissions.
  2. funding should lead to social benefits with income generated being put towards activity with good social outcomes.
  3. Support local economic growth for examples leading to new jobs and businesses across Scotland. 
  4. supporting energy projects whether this is through tackling fuel poverty, innovation around energy systems, low carbon transport and low carbon heating of our homes and buildings. 
  5. lead to learning outcomes which will further the fund aims.  Whilst projects don’t need to be innovative or unique we would like to see projects that lead to learning outcome for example by supporting education, testing new innovation, be open to sharing learnings, act as an exemplar to encourage further uptake or provide access to demonstration projects. 
  6. Additionality - The Green Economy Fund will support projects where there is clear need for the funding. 
  7. Well planned projects with a good project team that can show how the project can be delivered by March 2020.

Dissemination requirements

Funded projects may be required to provide input to press statements, a case study showcasing the project and the recipients may be asked to present their project details and outcomes at a SP Energy Networks hosted event. 

What next?

Once we receive your Expression of Interest, we will assess the information you have provided against the Green Economy Fund eligibility and aims.

Application forms and guidance will be available in August and organisations that submit an EOI and whose project aims align closely with the fund, will be invited to formally apply.  The additional information that will need to be provided at this stage will include a project plan and budget planning. Please note that submitting an EOI or being invited to apply does not offer any guarantee that funding will be approved. 

We will run workshops in August to support applicants in completing formal application and provide further guidance.

We would encourage early submission of your EOI which will be appraised weekly, early submission allows more time for you to develop your application. We may choose to close or extend the EOI at any stage, depending on the level of interest received and the funding threshold being met.  We would therefore encourage early submission of your interest.

It is anticipated that the GEF will have at least two funding rounds, the fund will re-open for Expressions of Interest as soon as funding decisions for each round are made and the amount of funding still available is clear.


please note that these timescales are indicative and may be subject to change

Round 1
Milestone Date Guidance

Expression of Interest live

29th June 2018

Documentation and online form available on SPENs website.

Expression of Interest (EOIs) Closes

31st July (*NB)

EOIs will be evaluated as received and applicants are advised to submit early. *The Round 1 EOI will close on the deadline or when quota of Expressions of Interest has been received.

Applicants contacted to be advised invited to submit an application.

23rd August

Applicants that submitted early and pass the EOI will be sent the application form early.  Depending on demand it is expected all Round 1 applicants that pass the EOI will be invited by 23rd August.

Deadline for full applications

17th October

Applications will be evaluated and assessed by an external panel.

Decision announced

5th November

All medium and large grants will require additional due diligence and SPEN and its agents will work with applicants through this process.

Round 2
Milestone Date Guidance

Expression of Interest live

18th September 2018

Documentation and online form available on SPENs website.