What is the Energy Innovation Fund?
The Energy Innovation Fund is an initiative that supports the commercialisation of innovative, transformational emerging renewable energy technologies.
The Victorian Government through the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning has announced the Energy Innovation Fund (EIF), designed to support the commercialisation of innovative, emerging renewable energy technologies in Victoria required to meet the net-zero emissions by 2050 target, is now open for applications.
The Energy Innovation Fund aims to bring intellectual property, innovation, local economic development and environmental benefits to the State, local businesses and communities. These are achieved through supporting activities that progress innovative projects in their commercialisation continuum including feasibility/pre-investment studies, front-end-engineering-design, large scale pilots and demonstrations.
The objectives of the Energy Innovation Fund are to:
- support the achievement of Victoria’s net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 target;
- enable the State to support emerging technology developments that are transformational, high impact, and aligned to Victoria’s New Energy Technologies Sector Strategy;
- facilitate the reduction of long-term consumer costs associated with achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050; and
- promote diversity and resilience in Victoria’s energy sector.
Energy Innovation Funding requests are expected to be in the range of $2 million – 20 million. Any grant funding provided must be the minimum funding required for a project to proceed. Total grant funding requests (including all government funding sources) must not exceed 50% of the Project’s Eligible Expenditure.
Energy Innovation Fund applicants must demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Department that they are planning to develop a renewable energy and/or storage Project that:
- is connected to the Victorian region of the National Electricity Market (NEM) (for electricity generation/storage Projects) or be located in Victoria and connect to the relevant Victorian utility network where necessary (for non-electricity generation/storage Projects);
- primarily involves activities that take place in Australia;
- for electricity generation/storage Projects, is registered, or intends to register with the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) under the scheduled/semi-scheduled category (typically this applies to generation facilities with a nameplate rating of at least 30MW);
- can demonstrate a contribution to Victoria achieving net zero emissions by 2050. Generation, green hydrogen or green gas projects must be based entirely on renewable resources;
- has a Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of 9, or a demonstrable pathway to reach TRL 9 by 2025, and
- a Commercial Readiness Index (CRI) of between 2-5
Round 1 – Offshore Wind
Offshore wind has experienced significant global growth over the last decade due to technology advances and declining costs, establishing an important role for this sector in the global energy transition and pathway towards net zero emissions. Victoria benefits from rich offshore wind resources, and there is significant interest in the strategic potential of offshore wind for the Victorian market. Round 1 of the EIF will be dedicated to offshore wind to complement the State’s activities to understand the sector’s potential contribution to the future energy system.
Round 2 – Technology Neutral
Large-scale energy transformation in Victoria requires a diverse mix of emerging energy technologies, some of which are yet to become commercially viable on their own. To support the continued development in this sector, Round 2 will be open to any renewable energy technology that satisfies the eligibility criteria.
Clarification questions relating to Round 1 applications and Round 2 pre-applications can be submitted within the allocated period.
Energy Innovation Fund applicant organisations must satisfy the following criteria to be deemed eligible:
- hold an Australian Business Number (ABN);
- an Australian entity duly incorporated under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth.) and hold and comply with all necessary authorisations that are material to the conduct of the business of the Applicant; or
- a Commonwealth entity under section 10 of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (Cth.); or
- an Australian State or Territory owned body corporate, or a subsidiary of an Australian State or
Territory owned body corporate; or
- an Australian State or Territory local government or council.
- In some limited circumstances a legal entity other than those listed above may, at the Department’s discretion, be accepted as an eligible Applicant. Any other entity that wants to apply to the Fund should
contact the Department prior to the lodgement of Applications. Foreign organisations who can comply with the Applicant eligibility requirements set out in this document may participate.
- not be subject to any insolvency event including the subject of an order or resolution for winding up or
dissolution (other than for the purposes of reconstruction or amalgamation) or the appointment of a
receiver, liquidator, administrator or similar;
- be the legal and beneficial owner of, or have all necessary rights to use, any intellectual property necessary to carry out the Project;
- acknowledge that the Applicant will be required to submit a Knowledge Sharing Plan and enter into an
agreement with the Department to publicly share knowledge and information about, and resulting from,
the Project described in the application (e.g. as part of the Funding Agreement);
- disclose any legal proceedings or investigation including, litigation, arbitration, mediation or conciliation that are taking place, pending or (to the best of the Applicant’s knowledge, after having made proper enquiry) threatened against the Applicant or a related body corporate (as defined in the Corporations Act 2001 – Cth);
- disclose all Australian State, Territory and Commonwealth Government grants applied for in relation to the Project and the history of grant funding (including both successful and unsuccessful applications);
- materially comply with:
- all obligations under employment contracts, industrial agreements and awards;
- all codes of conduct and practice relevant to conditions of service and to the relations between the
Applicant and the employees employed by the Applicant; and
- all applicable Workplace Health and Safety legislation.
- hold all insurances required by law;
- not be named on the list of persons and entities on the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade sanctions list;2 and
- not be named as an Applicant that hasn’t complied with the Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012
If at the time of the application the Recipient is expected to be a different legal entity to the Applicant, the Applicant must specify that this is the case in its application and provide details of the expected Recipient.
Applicants should note that the funding Recipient (if different to the Applicant) must meet and comply with the eligibility criteria set out above. The Department will not be obliged to enter into a Funding Agreement with any person other than the proposed Recipient assessed by the Department at the time of application or an entity that is majority owned and controlled by the proposed Recipient assessed by the Department at the time of application.
Applicants must demonstrate that they and the proposal will remain financially viable throughout the life of the Project.
How to get the Energy Innovation Fund
You will need to demonstrate:
- Commerciality – the emerging energy technologies’ ability to become commercially mature post 2025
- Zero emissions – the zero-emissions outcomes or how the Project supports a zero-emissions storage
- Strategy – alignment to Victoria’s New Energy Technologies – Sector Strategy
- Risks – understanding of the financial, technical, environmental and delivery risks
- Feasibility – demonstration of a viable pathway to commercial feasibility
- Market – consideration of the relative size of the Project’s proposed energy output in the energy market
- Capability – track record and experience in projects of a similar nature in Australia or overseas
- Economics – forecast economic impact from the Project and associated local supply chains
- Return – time taken for forecast economic benefits to flow
- Engagement – the ability of trust of the local community including non-hosting members
- Innovation – transformational aspects of the proposed Project.
- Knowledge sharing – a commitment to make available the learnings gained from the Project
- Network – a contribution to system reliability and security in Victoria
- Upgrades – any required network upgrades are included in the delivered cost
- Cash – need for grant funding
- Justification – pathway to a viable Project business case
- Contract – adherence to the template Funding Agreement
- Potential – commerciality of the proposed scale of the Project, reflecting any use of staged development
- Value – competitiveness of the delivered cost of electricity compared to alternates
- Competition – contribution of the Project to wholesale utility market competition in Victoria
The Energy Innovation Fund will be delivered in multiple rounds, with Round 1 applications and Round 2 pre-applications opened on 29 January 2021.
Energy Innovation Fund applications for Round 1 close 12 March 2021 and Round 2 Energy Innovation Fund pre-applications close 8 April 2021. Round 2 applications are anticipated to open in August 2021.