Climate change and spending to save: transitioning towards a low carbon economy

In this article, we look at one of the tools available to the public and third sectors in taking forward low carbon initiatives, the Low Carbon Infrastructure Transition Programme (LCITP).

9 June 2015

Climate change is a global challenge and the Scottish Government has set a target reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of 42% by 2020.  One of the core mechanisms in reducing emissions is the move towards a low carbon economy.  Alongside this, the public sector is still facing significant budgetary challenges in terms of generating savings across the board - is there a way that the public sector can kill two birds with one stone?  Could the transition to a low carbon model assist in generating long term savings?  We consider that the answer may be yes, and this article looks at one of the tools available to the public and third sectors in taking forward low carbon initiatives which have the potential to generate those savings; the Low Carbon Infrastructure Transition Programme (LCITP).

The LCITP is a Scottish Government initiative which is intended to provided support mechanisms to assist in developing low carbon projects across Scotland.  The LCITP is a partnership between the Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, the Scottish Futures Trust and others.

The Scottish Government’s LCITP portal suggests that support for projects in the following areas is likely to be considered:

  • Low carbon and/or renewable electricity and heat generation
  • Local energy economies
  • Heat recovery
  • Energy storage and distributed energy systems
  • Hydrogen
  • Demand side management and active network management
  • Innovative / local finance solutions and investor readiness for low carbon projects
  • Energy efficiency
  • Resource efficiency
  • Materials re-cycling and re-use
  • Community involvement and/or potential for community investment

Eligible projects are likely to have to demonstrate delivery of reduced carbon emissions and/or a reduction in energy consumption.

The portal also clearly sets out the type of project which will not be considered (including research and development of technology, marine / offshore wind energy, sustainable transport, domestic energy efficiency, capital investment into commercial renewable development (except where it has a community focus) and established technologies).

The LCITP is open to applications from a wide range of organisations including local authorities, public sector organisations, third sector organisations, RSLs and academic institutions amongst others.  A fuller list of organisations is set out on the portal itself.

The Scottish Government has also made it clear that applications for LCITP support can be made at any of the three main envisaged stages of a project: the Catalyst stage which involves initial development and feasibility work; the Development Stage covering elements such as the final business case and investment options and propositions; and finally the Demonstrator Stage where support is available to demonstrate commercial viability.

The LCITP could be a useful tool for any public sector entity that is looking to take forward an innovative low carbon initiative directed at achieving savings and exploring whether to make an initial spend now could generate long term savings in the future.

Full details of the Programme along with details of how to apply are available on the Scottish Government’s website