Concept’s guide to the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme & Low Carbon Skills Fund
The government has launched two pots of funding to help public sector bodies identify and install decarbonisation measures across their estates. Here’s our easy guide to the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme and the 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 (Concept can support you with this – get in touch if you would like advice)
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 (Concept can help – get in touch if you’d like to learn more).
Key dates and deadlines
The PSDS scheme opened for applications on 30 September 2020, and the closing date depends on the type of organisation.
Public sector bodies that require funding to be transferred between government departments at Supplementary Estimates must submit their applications by Monday 9 November 2020. For all other eligible organisations, the closing date for applications is Monday 11 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.
It is hoped that this will open the scheme up to public sector bodies without sufficient in-house expertise or resources.
The grant funding could cover, for example, surveys, feasibility studies, consultancy, and resource costs to identify potential projects.
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:
- The deadline for central government is Friday 30th October 2020
- The deadline for wider public sector bodies is Friday 4th December 2020.
There is also funding available for organisations to secure support needed to deliver their capital project, and to either put in place or improve their Heat Decarbonisation Plan. If this is the case, Salix will work with you to develop an application to access further LCSF support. The deadlines for applications for this funding are 18th November 2020 for central government and 11th January 2021 for other public sector bodies.
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.
A consultant can make the application on your behalf, as long as it is authorised and managed by you. If you would like support from Concept with your application, get in touch.
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.
How Concept can help
At Concept we have successfully supported many organisations with Salix-funded projects, from initial application through to project delivery.
We can help you apply for PSDS and LCSF funding, and support you with all aspects of your carbon reduction project, from initial identification of suitable projects, through to implementation.
Every public sector organisation will be required to play its part in meeting the UK’s 2050 net zero target. If you are looking to set long term goals for decarbonisation of your estate, we can help you develop a robust Decarbonisation Plan – with practical, achievable steps. Get in touch for advice, or if you’d like to learn more.