UK-based firm awards £40 million grant to clean energy innovators

Britain's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak speaks during the High-Level Segment for Heads of State and Government session at the United Nations climate summit in Dubai on December 1, 2023. PHOTO | AFP

Dubai. Innovate UK’s Energy Catalyst programme has awarded over £40 million in grant funding to a range of innovative projects with plans to harness clean energy and enable a just and inclusive energy transition.

The funding award was announced today by the UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak as part of a £316m package of announcements in support of an inclusive and just transition at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) in Dubai.

The £40 million is part of the Ayrton Fund for clean energy innovation, with this funding provided by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) through the Transforming Energy Access (TEA) platform, and the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT).

It underscores the UK government’s continued commitment to support the research development and demonstration of innovative technologies and business models necessary to foster affordable and clean energy for all.

This latest cohort of Energy Catalyst innovators have the potential to make a significant impact for communities across sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and the Indo-Pacific region. As part of Round 10, 64 pioneering projects with activities spanning 24 countries will work to advance innovation in areas including next generation solar, smart green-grids, hydrogen, clean cooling, and renewable-based alternatives to fossil fuel generators.

Projects to receive grant funding and business support include Achelous Energy, which will demonstrate a floating oceanic solar farm in Indonesia, and ion Venture’s project which will develop an automatic battery swapping cabinet to help scale e-mobility in Uganda.

Energy Catalyst will also support its first projects in Cambodia, Eswatini, Fiji, Malaysia and South Sudan. This includes SDG Changemakers, a project focusing on a feasibility study to increase access and affordability of clean energy on Fiji’s Kioa Island.

Energy Catalyst, running since 2014, is today the largest open call within the Ayrton Fund and aims to bolster sustainable energy solutions to reduce reliance on fossil fuels in targeted regions.

This latest round of funding brings the total value of grants provided by Energy Catalyst to over £160m in Overseas Development Assistance, driving impact across 46 countries through 320 supported projects partnering with over 600 organisations.

Previously supported projects have continued to make a significant impact in the sector, having secured an additional £200m in further funding.

'We are proud to see Energy Catalyst scale effectively to meet this increasingly urgent challenge and we look forward to working collaboratively with all the innovators being supported through this latest round. The breadth of technologies and regions represented signifies a crucial step towards achieving a more sustainable and equitable future, extending the benefits of clean energy for all,' Energy Catalyst Lead at Innovate UK, Alice Goodbrook said.