Smart Local Energy Systems: Concept and Designs

Key Features

UK organisations can apply for a share of up to £1.5 million to design smart local energy systems.

Programme:     Innovate UK

Award:     Share of £1.5 million

Opens: 8th May 2018

Closes: 25th Jul 2018

! This scheme is now closed

This funding is part of the Prospering from the Energy Revolution Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund. It is the first stage of a programme to create detailed local energy system designs that are ready for deployment.

Innovate UK as part of UK Research and Innovation will invest up to £1.5 million to fund revolutionary concept and design studies for new, smarter approaches to local energy. These approaches must aim to provide cleaner, cheaper energy services for UK consumers in the 2020s while helping make communities more prosperous and resilient.

Designs must combine new and existing energy technologies with:

  • smart systems
  • new market and regulatory solutions, such as for energy trading
  • consumer engagement

They must create scalable and replicable business models, ready for investment in the early 2020s.

The best projects will be invited to develop their ideas further in a future competition as part of the Prospering from the Energy Revolution Programme.

Your concept and design study must describe ways to improve future energy services (heat, power and mobility) in one UK location that is at least the size of a medium-sized town or equivalent.

By the early 2020s implementation of your concept or design should aim to:

  • reduce energy bills by at least 25%
  • reduce greenhouse gas emissions below fifth carbon budget (2028 to 2032) levels
  • give a world-leading consumer experience
  • produce high value local jobs and UK supply chain opportunities
  • create export opportunities for UK businesses
  • improve energy security at short and long timescales (from millisecond through to annual)
  • help make the UK resilient to technological, environmental, social, economic and wider changes
  • improve efficiency across the whole energy system
  • meet air quality targets
  • improve infrastructure productivity
  • create ways to test and scale up new technologies, business, regulatory or consumer models, speeding up industry growth


The programme will be supported by an Energy Research and Integration Network. This involves the Energy Systems Catapult working with a group of leading researchers, and government and independent regulatory bodies.

It aims to make sure all projects:

  • prepare designs using the best practices and tools available
  • understand their role in the national system
  • share what they learn so it can create the greatest possible benefit for businesses, regulators, investors, consumers, researchers and policy-makers

To be eligible for funding you must be a UK-based:

  • business of any size
  • academic organisation or higher education institute
  • charity
  • public sector organisation or local authority
  • public sector research establishment
  • research council institute or
  • research and technology organisation (RTO)

You must:

  • carry out at least 90% of your project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK
  • work in collaboration with other businesses, research organisations, public sector or third-sector organisations
  • include at least one micro, small or medium-sized enterprise (SME)

The lead organisation must claim funding through this competition. At least one other organisation in the consortium must also claim funding.

For feasibility studies or industrial research projects, you could get funding for your eligible project costs of:

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

Total project costs can be between £100,000 and £200,000. Projects can last a maximum of 6 months. All projects must start by January 2019, and end by July 2019.