Up to £40m in innovation funding will be available to help combat climate change through clean energy access for communities in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and Indo-Pacific regions.
Announced today, as part of Innovate UK’s Energy Catalyst Round 9 and 10 funding cycles, the funding will help create and demonstrate new technologies and business models delivering a just and inclusive clean energy transition.
Funding for the two rounds is coming from the UK Government’s Ayrton Fund for clean energy innovation, including the scale-up of the FCDO’s Transforming Energy Access platform announced at COP 26 in Glasgow.
Vicky Ford, the UK’s Minister for Africa at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office said “The UK is stepping up our partnership with emerging economies to help them access the clean and affordable energy they need. We’re delivering on the Glasgow Breakthroughs, the commitments made at COP26 to ensure clean technologies are the cheapest and best choice for all globally.
“Since 2016 our Transforming Energy Access Programme has already helped innovative businesses deliver clean energy access to more than 16 million people, and leverage over £890m in further investment. These two new funding rounds will support many more companies working in this area, grow our partnerships with other countries, and help combat climate change.”
Innovate UK’s Energy Catalyst programme is one of the UK’s biggest energy access focused grant funding initiatives. This latest round of funding aims to support innovations which improve energy access in a sustainable way, reducing reliance on fossil fuels in these regions.
Launched in 2014, Energy Catalyst has improved energy access in 34 countries, and supported 566 organisations, including 119 international partners.
Since its conception, it has provided a total of £60m of grant funding for energy access technologies and business models. The overall aim of Energy Catalyst is to create a just and inclusive energy transition and extend the benefits of clean energy to all, with the aim of meeting Sustainable Development Goals 7 (Affordable and clean energy) and 13 (Climate action).
By providing financial and advisory support to innovators, the programme helps to create strategic partnerships, channel knowledge and insights and develop business models to commercialise the solutions that will improve lives.
The funding competition is open to organisations working to create new or improved clean energy solutions for target regions and each collaborative project can apply for up to £5m in project costs.
Applicants can be from anywhere in the world, provided a project admin lead is based in the UK and projects focus on a technology or a business model which is affordable, reliable and low carbon.
Round 9 application process is open from 18 May 2022 to the 10 August 2022. Round 10 is expected to be announced in early 2023.
Alice Goodbrook, Energy Catalyst lead at Innovate UK, “Energy Catalyst is dedicated to building partnerships that will deliver the innovations needed to provide access to low carbon energy that is reliable and affordable in the areas that are on the front lines of the climate crisis. This £40m commitment over the next two years will fund the critical innovation needed to create jobs, spur economic growth and drive a home-grown energy transition across Africa, Asia and Indo-Pacific communities.”
“Our approach aims to go beyond conventional grant funding for technology innovation and tackles barriers that can inhibit progress, through understanding local markets, infrastructure and societal nuances to accelerate commercialisation.”
Funding is provided through the Foreign Commonwealth Development Office (FCDO), as part of the Transforming Energy Access (TEA) Platform, and the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). Both contributions are from the UK’s Ayrton Fund, part of the UK’s International Climate Finance commitment.
Energy Catalyst comprises three main elements; grant funding, collaboration building through brokerage activities to build partnerships and accelerator support which is led by the Carbon Trust and Energy 4 Impact.
More information, and funding applications are available from the UK Government’s website.
Notes to editors
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About Energy Catalyst
Energy Catalyst, an Innovate UK programme, helps early- to late-stage innovators develop market-based technologies and business models that accelerate access to clean, modern and affordable energy in Africa and Asia. For more information, visit https://energycatalyst.ukri.org/.
The Energy Catalyst is run by Innovate UK and is co-funded by partners including the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, the Foreign Commonwealth & Development Office, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the Global Challenges Research Fund.
About Innovate UK
Innovate UK is part of UK Research and Innovation, a non-departmental public body funded by a grant-in-aid from the UK government. For more information, visit the UK Research and Innovation website. We drive productivity and economic growth by supporting businesses to develop and realise the potential of new ideas, including those from the UK’s world-class research base.
About the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office
The UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office promotes the interests of British citizens, safeguards the UK’s security, defends our values, reduces poverty and tackles global challenges with our international partners.
About the Ayrton Fund
The UK Government announced the Ayrton Fund commitment of up to £1bn for clean energy innovation at the UN Climate Action Summit in 2019. It is part of the total £11.6bn of UK International Climate Finance also announced over the period from 2021 to 2026. The vision of the Ayrton Fund is to help drive forward the clean energy transition in developing countries, by creating and demonstrating new technologies and business models to deploy them. It will demonstrate UK leadership and expertise in cutting global emissions through world-leading innovations. The Ayrton Fund will be delivered by the FCDO and BEIS via a portfolio of ongoing, new and scaled-up programmes. The Ayrton Fund was referenced in the UK’s recently launched International Development Strategy.
About the Transforming Energy Access programme
Transforming Energy Access (TEA) is the flagship FCDO research and innovation programme supporting early-stage testing and scale-up of innovative technologies and business models that accelerate access to affordable, clean energy for poor households, enterprises, and social institutions in developing countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and the Indo-Pacific. This includes support to innovations across the three Ayrton themes of clean supply, super-efficient demand and smart delivery, as well as integrations of solutions across the three. In late 2021, a £126m scale-up of the programme was announced at COP26, transforming TEA into a major delivery platform for the Ayrton Fund focused on delivering innovations enabling a Just Transition for the 789 million people who still lack access to electricity, the 2.6 billion people who still cook on firewood, and the 3.5bn people suffering frequent or sustained blackouts which drives usage of expensive and polluting alternatives. www.carbontrust.com/tea
About UK Research and Innovation
UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) is the largest public funder of research and innovation in the UK, with a budget of over £8bn. It is composed of seven disciplinary research councils, Innovate UK and Research England.
We operate across the whole country and work with our many partners in higher education, research organisations businesses, government, and charities.
Our vision is for an outstanding research and innovation system in the UK that gives everyone the opportunity to contribute and to benefit, enriching lives locally, nationally and internationally.
Our mission is to convene, catalyse and invest in close collaboration with others to build a thriving, inclusive research and innovation system that connects discovery to prosperity and public good.