Concept’s guide to the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme & Low Carbon Skills Fund
The government recently announced new grant funding to help decarbonise public sector buildings, and given the tight application deadlines, we’ve had many enquiries.
To answer your questions, here’s our easy guide to the new Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme and Low Carbon Skills Fund.
The Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme
The £1bn Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme (PSDS) allows public sector bodies to apply for a grant to fund up to 100% of the costs of capital carbon reduction projects.
It’s available for non-domestic buildings only – and includes measures such as heat pumps, insulation, glazing and heating controls.
It’s delivered by Salix, a government-owned public body which provides capital to fund energy saving projects in the public sector.
What’s the purpose of the PSDS scheme?
PSDS has been created to tackle emissions from heating public sector buildings: heat is one of the most challenging areas of decarbonisation to tackle. In doing so it will aid a green recovery and support the UK’s 2050 net zero target and clean growth goals.
There are clear carbon and cost saving benefits to public sector organisations too. The government says it could cut carbon emissions from the public sector to the equivalent of taking nearly 45,000 cars off the road.
Which public sector bodies can apply?
The following public sector bodies can apply for PSDS funding:
- Central government departments and their non-departmental government bodies
- Emergency services
- Further and higher education institutions
- Local authorities
- Maintained schools and nurseries, academies, multi-academy trusts and free schools
- NHS Trusts and Foundation Trusts
- Non-departmental public bodies
What projects can be funded under the PSDS?
PSDS funding can be used to finance low carbon heating and heat decarbonisation technologies, such as heat pumps, electric heating, or connections to existing low carbon heat networks.
It can also be used for projects that reduce demand for heating (e.g. insulation and glazing), and measures that don’t reduce carbon, but enable future heat decarbonisation to take place (e.g. battery storage and metering). However there are more rules surrounding these two types of project – they must meet one of the following criteria:
- They must be combined with a low carbon heating/heat decarbonisation measure
- They must be implemented in buildings that already use low carbon heating
- They must include a commitment to produce a Heat Decarbonisation Plan by 30 September 2021, which sets out a plan to replace end-of-life fossil fuel systems with low carbon systems
If you can demonstrate that it’s not viable for a low carbon heating system to be installed, then PSDS funding can also be used to fund replacements for coal-fuelled or oil-fuelled heating systems (e.g. gas boilers or gas CHP).
A full list of eligible projects/technologies can be found here.
How to apply for the PSDS
PSDS applications can be made via the Salix website. It needs to be submitted by the public sector body directly, but consultants can support you with the application.
Key dates and deadlines
The PSDS scheme opened for applications on 30 September 2020, and the closing date for all eligible bodies is 11th January 2021.
What is the maximum amount we can apply for under the PSDS?
There is no maximum application limit, although Salix says it may need to review very large applications to ensure they will be delivered on time, and that the funding is spread fairly.
How can I identify the right project for my estate?
Not every public sector body has the in-house resources needed to identify the most effective decarbonisation solutions for its estate. That’s where the Public Sector Low Carbon Skills Fund comes in:
Public Sector Low Carbon Skills Fund
The Low Carbon Skills Fund (LCSF) was launched at the same time as the PSDS. It’s to help organisations source specialist advice to identify and develop decarbonisation projects – and prepare robust applications for the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme.
The grant funding could cover, for example, surveys, feasibility studies, consultancy, and resource costs to identify potential projects. It can also be used to deliver your capital project, and to either put in place or improve a Heat Decarbonisation Plan.
Deadlines for the Low Carbon Skills Fund
The LCSF opened for applications on 30th September 2020 and there is only a short window to apply:
- For project development support, the deadline for applications is 4th December 2020
- For project delivery and heat decarbonisation plan support, the deadline for applications is 11th January 2020.
How to apply for the Low Carbon Skills Fund
LCSF applications can be made via the Salix website – they will be assessed and awarded on a weekly basis. Given the timescales for then identifying potential projects and submitting applications to the PSDS, it’s best to apply as soon as possible.
Is there a minimum/maximum amount we can apply for under the LCSF?
There is no minimum/maximum amount for an application to the LCSF – but it makes sense to consider the time required to procure services and develop a robust and effective application for the Public Sector Decarbonisation Fund.
Every public sector organisation will be required to play its part in meeting the UK’s 2050 net zero target. If you would like advice on practical approaches to decarbonising your estate, get in touch.