Energy Innovation Fund

Canberra has a strong and vibrant renewable energy innovation and start up culture. The ACT is working towards a net-zero emissions target by 2045. We achieved our 100% renewable electricity target in 2020. Yet there is more to do, and we need your help.

As Canberra transitions to net-zero, funding is available to support energy transition innovation for a brighter future. Applications for the Energy Innovation Fund (the Fund) grants program are now open.

About the Fund

Canberra’s Energy Innovation Fund is driving the long-term development of the ACT’s industries and jobs that support the energy transition. Formerly known as the “Renewable Energy Innovation Fund” or the “REIF”, the Fund has invested $12 million since 2016 and has been instrumental to the growth of a vibrant renewable energy sector in the ACT.

An additional $19 million was committed to the Fund following the fifth round of the ACT renewables auction (which help maintain the ACT’s 100% renewable electricity achievement). This additional funding will help develop innovative, emerging energy technologies and solutions to support the net zero transformation.

The objectives of the Fund are:

  1. Supporting energy transition innovation, with potential to export outside the ACT.
  2. Supporting energy transition policy innovation in the ACT.
  3. Building energy innovation ecosystems in the ACT.
  4. Delivering ACT’s energy innovation policy and industry development strategy.

Our aim is to achieve our shared vision of Canberra as a place of opportunity for clean energy research, innovation and investment.

We want new business models and innovation to solve clean energy challenges and accelerate the uptake of clean energy initiatives.

How it works

We’re responding to climate change as an economic opportunity. The net zero transition represents the greatest commercial opportunity of our time. This program is designed to attract investment in the clean energy sector and support jobs in the ACT.

Grants program

As part of the Energy Innovation Fund, the ACT Government facilitates a grants program to offer flexible, early-stage funding for energy innovation projects, initiatives and research. The grants support a broad range of new and emerging technologies and ventures. These have the potential to support the delivery of the energy vision of the future.

The grants also support the development of the ACT as an export-oriented hub for energy transition innovation and investment.

Up to $17 million in grants is available through the Fund over 5 years.

This grant will provide up to $10 million in investment over five years in flexible, early-stage funding for a broad range of new and emerging technologies and ventures that support the energy transition. This grant is open all year round, so you can apply at any time.

The Technology Demonstration Grant is targeted at businesses.

This grant supports innovative solutions to the key policy challenges the ACT faces in accelerating the energy transition. Up to $3.75 million is available over five years. The policy challenge theme will be announced once per year for applications during the same year.

The Policy Challenge Grant is open to businesses, research institutions and think tanks.

This grant has two categories of support: innovation clusters and business accelerator. It aims to support businesses and non-profit organisations in providing networking opportunities, industry capacity building activities, and support for commercialisation solutions for energy innovation products and services. This grant offers up to $3.25 million over five years. This grant is open all year round, so you can apply at any time.

The Innovation Ecosystem Grant is open to businesses, including non-profits.

How to apply

The Technology Demonstration Grant and Innovation Ecosystem Grant will be open year round.

Applications for the Policy Challenge Grant are also open year round, however the grant theme will change every year. Applications for the grant under the current theme close on 31 December 2024.

Eligibility criteria applies. Read the Energy Innovation Fund Grant Guidelines [2.0 MB] .

You will need to submit your application through SmartyGrants - the Directorate's online grants management system. If you are a new user, create a free SmartyGrants account.

Applications for all grants will be assessed quarterly. Late applications will be assessed in the following quarterly period.

The first assessment deadline is 30 April 2024, 11:59pm AEST.

2024 grant focus areas

The Technology Demonstration Grant will remain open to accommodate for technological advances.

The Policy Challenge Grant theme will change every year, whilst the focus of the Innovation Ecosystem Grant will change as needed. See below for the current focus of these grants.

Achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045 will see the ACT transition from a fossil fuel economy to a net zero emissions economy, powered by renewable energy.

In 2020, we secured a nation-leading 100% renewable electricity supply for the ACT. This was a huge achievement for the ACT and a significant step toward our net zero emissions target. Over the next 20 years, most households and business will transition their homes and businesses off fossil fuel gas to electric appliances.

We will see social, technical, and economic challenges emerging in the coming decade that require innovative solutions to enable the net zero energy transition. The Government highly values partnerships and the expertise within the Canberra community, that can help to solve key challenges.

The Energy Innovation Fund (Fund) invites the business and research community to be part of the solution to accelerate electrification in the ACT.

The Fund Policy Challenge themes for 2024 are outlined below. Proposals could include, but are not limited to:

  • innovative policy options
  • innovative actions offered by industry
  • innovative financing mechanisms
  • collaborative trials or pilots to test proposed solutions
  • behavioural nudges and insights.

Theme 1: Scaling up electrification in households

Households are at the heart of the energy transition. ACT households are already leading the way by upgrading gas appliances to efficient electric appliances, installing rooftop solar and battery systems and purchasing electric vehicles. Nearly 19,000 Canberra households have accelerated their energy efficiency or electrification journey over the last three years through the ACT’s Sustainable Household Scheme.

All-electric households can help save energy bills, and these savings are even greater with consumer energy resources such as household solar and an electric vehicle. While the bill savings that can be gained through electrification are significant and lasting, the upfront cost of electrification can be a barrier.

The ACT Government is seeking proposals to address the following identified challenges:

  1. Accelerating the speed and scale of electrification in households

    This could include:
    1. testing economically efficient pathways for households to electrify,
    2. innovative industry support for household electrification,
    3. options for electrification at scale in the ACT.
  2. Enhancing household benefits from electrification

    This could include:
    1. options to help households optimise their home energy use,
    2. testing options to support households to make easier choices that result in bill savings, thermal comfort and/or emissions reductions.

The ACT Government is particularly interested in proposals that consider equity for the ACT community and allow for a smoother energy network evolution.

Theme 2: Enabling fair and equitable access to zero emissions transport

Transport accounts for 64% of emissions in the ACT and is a priority for emissions reduction action. Of these emissions, private vehicle use accounts for around 70%.

The ACT’s Zero Emissions Vehicles Strategy 2022-30 [1.5 MB] supports the uptake of ZEVs through a range of actions, financial incentives and concessions to achieve 80-90% of new light vehicle sales being ZEV by 2030. Government has also committed to explore phasing out the sale of internal combustion engine vehicles (like petrol and diesel vehicles) by 2035, in 10 years’ time.

The ACT has the highest rate of electric vehicle uptake in Australia and has some of the most generous financial incentives for ZEV purchase in the country, including up to $15,000 zero interest loans for purchase and charging infrastructure, zero stamp duty, and registration discounts. However, some Canberrans are going to find the transition to zero emissions transport harder than others, particularly those on the lowest incomes who face higher cost barriers to transition and are more exposed to the cost-of-living crisis.

The ACT Government is seeking proposals to address the following challenge:

  • How do we ensure equitable access to zero emissions transport for ACT’s lower income and vulnerable community?

The Government is seeking proposals that could provide innovative policy options or industry actions for more equitable access to zero emissions transport and zero emissions vehicles as soon as possible.

A successful project will support equitable access to zero emissions transport for ACT’s lower income and vulnerable community.

The below areas of focus will not exclude other proposals to be assessed/awarded with funding. However, they signify the ACT Government’s priority for industry and economic development in Canberra.

Innovation Cluster

The ACT is internationally recognised for renewable energy innovation. ACT Government’s leadership has seen us secure a 100% renewable electricity supply; improve household energy efficiency; and attract significant local investment, business opportunities and drive economic development.

Building on the ACT’s thriving knowledge economy and a strong renewables presence, the ACT Government invites proposals to expand the ACT’s energy transition innovation ecosystem and strengthen the energy innovation industry capability.

Proposals may include avenues to better connect individuals and businesses in the energy innovation industry sector, innovation capacity building, as well as creating linkages with local, national, and international energy innovation and investment networks through new programs and events.

Business Accelerator

The ACT Government invites innovative proposals from businesses that support the development of a pioneering and nation-leading electrification industry in the ACT, with export potential. Examples include but are not limited to:

  • developing one-stop-shop services for home and business upgrades and energy optimisation for easier consumer decision making.
  • developing a second-hand battery industry to commercialise second-life energy storage systems from EV batteries to harness their remaining capacity.
  • developing a commercial sized behind-the-meter battery industry that supports battery testing, installation, software development for demand management, and battery recycling.

Previous funding rounds

The Energy Innovation Fund has supported the Battery Storage and Grid Integration Program, the ACT Renewables Hub, and the grants program.

Details of projects funded under previous rounds are below.

  • PV Lab Australia received $214,374 to reduce the number of photovoltaic panels going to landfill by addressing causes of panel degradation and barriers to reuse.
  • Spark3D received $254,184 to develop advanced additive manufacturing techniques for applications in next-generation photovoltaics and batteries.
  • Hydrogen Renewable Energy Australia (HYREA) received $253,552 to develop a proof-of-concept hydrogen fuel-cell electric boat with on-board and on-demand green hydrogen production facilities.
  • Zeppelin Bend received $250,000 to develop a web-based tool for identifying, prioritising, and analysing electricity network constraints to map out locations for network-connected battery projects.
  • Flex-G received $180,000 to adapt its nano-coolant technology for application in battery technology to limit thermal shocks.
  • Aqacia received $82,341 to proceed with commercial trials of its machine learning technology which uses image recognition and classification to quality-control solar panels.

  • FlexeGraph received $135,000 to create a nano-fluid that will exceed the performance of traditional coolants, increasing energy efficiency and longevity in a range of applications.
  • Smart Blox received $50,441 to develop modular solar panel and battery units in simple ‘plug and play’ blox.
  • Evenergi received $235,000 to develop a model for heavy electric emulation and optimisation using real life data.
  • Evoenergy received $250,000 to provide 75 customers in the Ginninderry greenfield development with battery subsidies.
  • ITP Power received $88,040 to develop a web-based energy storage optimisation tool that models the performance of PV systems and battery storage for residential, commercial customers or micro- and mini-grids.
  • ITP Thermal received $135,000 to develop and commercialise large-scale hydrogen storage in vertical shafts.
  • PV Lab Australia received $219,830 to develop a new, accredited, Australia first PV module testing facility.

  • PV Lab Australia received $63,070 to develop an Australian first testing for solar panel potential induced degradation (PID).
  • ITP Thermal received $95,000 to develop solar energy storage solutions with ammonia.
  • Reposit received $250,000 to develop and apply microgrid technology for solar and battery customers.
  • ITP Renewables received $60,000 for modelling pathways to a low-carbon National Electricity Market.
  • Solcast received $287,000 for rapid scaling and improvement of solar farm forecasting.
  • Eco Spectral received $110,000 to develop a system for residential, commercial and city-wide energy management using artificial intelligence and data analytics.

Why it’s important

It is an exciting time to be in the renewable energy and energy storage sector. The ACT is supporting new businesses, trades and research. We’re also attracting innovators and investors to the ACT to support our commitment to net zero emissions by 2045.

Contact us

If you have any questions about the fund, your Grant application, or the SmartyGrants platform, you can get in touch with us at:

Email: or

You can also explore other business support and investment opportunities.

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Acknowledgement of Country

We acknowledge the Ngunnawal people as traditional custodians of the ACT and recognise any other people or families with connection to the lands of the ACT and region. We acknowledge and respect their continuing culture and the contribution they make to the life of this city and this region.