Sustainable Energy Project Support, SEPS, aims to support innovative energy projects that are environmentally, economically and socially sound. SEPS defines the term "project" in a broad sense. It does not focus solely on technical solutions, but also addresses a broad spectrum of ideas that may help to foster renewable energy or the efficient use of energy and, therefore, contribute to sustainable development.

At this time we are not accepting applications!

What type of PROJECTS are we looking for?

WISIONS is looking for project concepts that demonstrate how to apply small-scale renewable energy technologies to meet energy-related needs and improve energy access for people in the focus regions. We are particularly looking to identify projects that address problems/issues that are not yet mainstream and that offer innovative approaches/solutions and stimulate the productive use of sustainable energy. Additionally, we are looking for projects that can influence public opinion and regional decision makers in the field of renewable energy.

Our last call was open to projects that demonstrate the application of sustainable energy technologies in different contexts; for example, projects might aim to meet energy needs for reliable electricity or heat supply, for food processing and conservation, or for water pumping and treatment. The target groups could be small individual farmers, agro-businesses or small companies, as well as the wider community or municipality.

According to the technical focus of our supported practitioner networks in the target regions, we would be particularly interested in projects that focus on biogas, pico or micro-hydro power and small wind technologies. We are also receptive to projects that demonstrate the application of other renewable energy technologies or hybrid approaches. 

Background on sustainability aspects of renewable energy technologies can be found in our Technology Radar. Examples of projects supported under the SEPS scheme can be found here: SEPS – Project List.

Application Procedure

The projects must be innovative and demonstrate an integrated and sound approach in their implementation. Only projects that are ready to be implemented are eligible for SEPS support.

Applicants are therefore required to submit the following: 

  • a completed Project Application Form
  • a detailed budget plan in Euros (differentiating between cost categories, see section 3.3) 
  • a preliminary time schedule (in a table format that allows for time tracking)
  • a calculation demonstrating the potential avoidance of fossil fuel use and CO2 emissions (if possible)
  • a technical image of the technology to be implemented

Applicants may submit detailed documentation including a comprehensive description of the key aspects and arguments in favour of the project. The number of extra pages (including budget plan and time schedule) must not exceed 10.

The selected lead coordinating partner organisation will have to conclude a grant contract with the Wuppertal Institute and must be authorised to issue invoices for funds to be transferred. 

Please note that SEPS financial support cannot be used for:

  • Product development 
  • Product launches and product marketing
  • Research studies
  • Big dams
  • Clean stove projects

Criteria for obtaining SEPS project support

In order to be able to assess the project proposals submitted and compare them in a structured way, WISIONS has drawn up a set of criteria to ensure the sustainable character of the projects and the relevant forms of support.

  • Technical viability
  • Management model and economic feasibility
  • Social context and impact
  • Local and global environmental benefits
  • Innovative aspects
  • Replicability and dissemination concept
  • Sound implementation strategy

Description of criteria

Technical viability

The project must be technically feasible to implement in relation to the technology applied, predicted final energy use (in terms of both application and volume) and the availability of the required energy resources. Technological know-how within the project team (or from experts involved as project partners) is essential, as well as proven availability of resources (e.g. adequate water flows, seasonality etc.). Appropriate local expertise to maintain the appliances and provide sound operational management is crucial and may need to be developed to ensure that the appliances installed can be operated independently in the long-term.

Management model and economic feasibility

The establishment of a sound management model that is appropriate for the cultural and economic context of the target region is recommended. This should comprise clear responsibilities and mechanisms for regulation (e.g. supply of inputs, ownership, O&M duties, payments etc.). Appropriate local expertise and involvement of existing local institutions or structures is advantageous.  

SEPS can help to fund the up-front cost of renewable energy projects, but is unable to offer long-term support. Therefore the project should include a robust strategy for securing long-term economic sustainability. To develop economically feasible concepts it is recommended that the current local economic situation, as well as the willingness of the local population to pay for energy services, is assessed.

Social context and impact

The implementation of an energy project can be a significant intervention in the social context. The social setting influences the adequate functioning of the technology and its management and both have an impact on social relationships and vice versa. Because of these interdependent relationships the complexity of the technology and the applied management model must be appropriate for the local context.

Relevant aspects of the social context include, for example, the involvement of the local population, existing local organisational structures, cultural habits and the role of the local authorities, as well as impacts of the project on poverty, employment or gender issues.

Local and global environmental benefits

Local environmental conditions are of particular importance for the welfare of the population in the project area. Therefore, we take local and environmental benefits into account, together with any negative environmental side effects caused by the project. 

SEPS supports renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. Consequently, global aspects to be considered are the avoidance of fossil fuel use and CO2 emissions. To calculate figures for the avoidance of fossil fuel use and CO2 emissions, please apply the Environmental Performance Calculation Procedure. We consider that the CO2 reduction potential is low in regions with no or low use of fossil fuels. In these cases, we will take into consideration the hypothetical CO2 emissions that would be produced if fossil fuel appliances were to be used in place of the suggested technology for the project. 

Innovative aspects of the project

WISIONS aims to support the implementation and testing of innovative ideas that address energy needs in sustainable ways. Having said that, WISIONS interprets innovation in a broad sense. Consequently, as well as (or instead of) demonstrating technological innovation, projects may comprise other innovations, related, for example, to organisational, financial, managerial or political aspects. Please note: SEPS does not support the straightforward replication of projects that are already in mainstream use.

Replicability and dissemination concept

The project should be replicable or have clear potential benefits for projects in other areas. Existing production or supply structures, a high level of interest among the local population and the general public, and well-established links to potential users of the technology and to local and national politicians are advantageous.

It is crucial to inform the local population and politicians about the project and to involve them if new energy services are to be accepted and supported locally. Thorough dissemination of information is necessary in order to convince local stakeholders, such as authorities, funding institutions or project developers. This can help to increase not only the acceptance but also the replication of the project.

Implementation strategy

The proposed project must have a sound and comprehensive concept, be in an advanced phase of development and be ready for implementation. 

Please outline your implementation strategy and detail your planned project phases. Please be aware that WISIONS requires a short feasibility study to be carried out at the beginning of the project to ensure the feasibility of the applied technology and implementation approach for the needs of the targeted beneficiaries, as well as to evaluate the economic viability of the management model. In the first phase, the collection of baseline data is also required to measure the success of the anticipated outcomes. The final phase of the project should include sufficient time for monitoring the implemented technology and management model. 

A detailed time schedule for the duration of the individual activities and working steps needs to be included as part of the detailed documentation (Please present this in table format, allowing for the progress of the planned activities to be easily tracked).

The project should be possible to implement within one to two years.