When the first wave of Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme (PSDS) funding was announced in 2020, Clear Futures partnered with three Greater Manchester local authorities – Bolton, Stockport and Tameside – who needed support to develop strong grant applications.
The UK Government and BEIS (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) announced the first phase of the PSDS funding in October 2020, giving UK public sector bodies the opportunity to bid for grants from a £1bn funding pot. The scheme provided a key opportunity to unlock public sector decarbonisation projects at a time when public capital was under pressure due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The use of funding was specific: to deliver capital energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation projects within public sector non-domestic buildings, providing key stimulus to the low carbon economy and delivering significant savings across the UK public estate.
Our work resulted in significant savings for the public sector in terms of operational costs, freeing up capital for other priority issues, and a key step change towards meeting net zero carbon targets:
- Energy audits
- Strategic support services
- Funding application support
- Design and engineering
- Project management
- Cost management
Meeting tight PSDS deadlines
Each application had to evidence the impact of proposed decarbonisation measures and programmes for delivery – within the set timescale of nine months from any grant being awarded
For local authorities at the beginning of their roadmap to net zero, this presented a real challenge to understand the current state of their existing estate and how to deliver ‘no regrets’ decarbonisation projects.
All three applications were submitted on time, with feasibility works completed in eight weeks. The 36 projects identified:
- Supported internal net zero targets.
- Ensured no increase in operational costs arising from a switch from gas to electricity.
- Could be delivered to the PSDS deadline.
Further key outcomes included:
- Increased understanding within council teams of built estate carbon output and energy efficiency.
- Project teams prepared for accelerated delivery in advance of funding awards through support including design, procurement, initial project plans, risk registers, supply chain engagement, planning and site capacity assessments.
- Supported growth of green skills, job opportunities and local supply chains.
- Ambitious net zero strategies and roadmaps developed, with scope for wider decarbonisation and green infrastructure projects.