Waste to Energy Fund: Bioenergy – Stream 1: Project development

Last updated: 20 July 2022
Status: Applications closed
Closing date: Friday 26 August 2022, 11:59 pm
Total funding available: Between $20,000 and $250,000

$1:$1 (SV:Applicant). Co-contributions must be financial (cash). In-kind contributions are not permitted in this Fund.

Exception: $2:$1 (SV:Applicant) for Not-for profit organisations, Charities, Community Groups, Co-operatives, and Research institutes.

Available to: Research institutions, Businesses, Industry groups and associations, Consultants (as a lead applicant in a collaborative partnership only), Community groups, Social enterprises, Not-for-profit organisations, Local government, Co-operatives

Sustainability Victoria (SV) is supporting bioenergy project developers through the Waste to Energy Fund: Bioenergy (the Fund). $10 million is available to support the sector to increase renewable energy generation in Victoria.

The funding is available through two streams:

  • Stream 1: Project development – supports Applicants to scope, test, and gain approvals to achieve pre-construction and pre-financial close phases of a bioenergy project. This page is about Stream 1.
  • Stream 2: Project infrastructure – supports Applicants with a proven business case in the purchase, construction, and commissioning of infrastructure to convert organic matter to bioenergy. Read more about Stream 2.

This grant program is funded through the government’s circular economy policy, Recycling Victoria: a new economy.

The following are the guidelines for applying for Stream 1 of this fund.

Information bulletin

Find out more in the Information bulletin.

1. Fund overview

1.1 Fund objectives

Projects must meet one or more of the following objectives:

  • increase the production of bioenergy in Victoria
  • increase the diversion of organic material from landfill
  • increase abatement of greenhouse gases
  • increase business opportunities, economic development, and beneficial use of pathways across the bioenergy supply chain.

The Fund aims to achieve the following outcomes:

  • increase the capacity of Victoria’s renewable energy generation
  • increase in the amount of organic material diverted from landfill
  • decrease greenhouse gas emissions
  • purchase, install, and commission bioenergy infrastructure
  • increase local employment
  • develop realistic feasibility studies and business cases
  • develop market pathways for bioenergy end products
  • develop and analyse the feedstock market network
  • develop clear regulatory and approval pathways.

1.2 Funding available

For Stream 1, each project can receive a grant of between $20,000 and $250,000 (ex. GST).

For Stream 2, each project can receive a grant of between $50,000 and $1 million (ex. GST). Read more about Stream 2.

1.3 Co-contribution

Applicants must contribute at least $1 for every $1 requested.

The following groups must contribute $1 for every $2 requested:

  • Not-for-Profit organisations or Charities
  • Community Groups
  • co-operatives
  • research institutes.

Co-contributions must be financial (cash). In-kind contributions are not permitted in this Fund.

2. Eligibility

2.1 Who can apply

Funding is available to Applicants that propose to generate bioenergy using organic materials and can demonstrate that this solution is the best value option in the Waste Hierarchy.

Eligible organisations include:

  • businesses, industry groups or associations
  • local government
  • research institutes
  • Charities
  • Community Groups
  • Social Enterprises
  • other Not-For-Profit organisations.

Consultants may apply as a Lead Applicant in a Collaborative Partnership only and must be organisations not individuals.

We encourage applications from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations.

Applicants must:

  • be legally constituted organisations
  • have a current Australian Business Number (ABN)
  • have been operating for a minimum of 12 months by the application closing date (to be validated by the date that the organisation’s ABN is active from)
  • be able to demonstrate financial viability to undertake the project (will meet or exceed the minimum co-contribution requirement)
  • agree to comply with the Terms of Participation in Grant Programs
  • agree to comply with the funding terms and conditions:

Applicants who do not agree with the Grant Funding Agreement Terms and Conditions will be asked to provide full details of proposed amendments that would render the contractual provision acceptable to the Applicant in the SmartyGrants application form. Applicants should note that significant or substantive variations will not be viewed favourably unless the Applicant is able to demonstrate the necessity for such variations. Should applicants be successful, no further amendments to SV’s standard terms and conditions will be considered beyond the variations included in the application form.

Sustainability Victoria manages several grants. Although you can apply for more than one grant for a project, you can only receive one grant. If you’ve already applied for a Sustainability Victoria grant and now find this grant is more relevant or suitable, you can withdraw your application by emailing us.

2.2 Who cannot apply

  • Individuals
  • Unincorporated associations.

2.3 What will be funded

Funding for Stream 1 will support projects that:

  • focus on feasibility studies, technical studies or the development of business cases relating to a proposed facility that will generate energy from organic waste
  • require support in pre-financial close stages
  • use agricultural cropping residues, such as cereal straw and chaff
  • use waste and manure from poultry, dairy, piggeries, and other animal operations
  • use general food waste from commercial and industrial hospitality and retail operations
  • use food manufacturing and processing wastes (including dairy, fruit, nuts, wine, and meat)
  • use forestry wood residues from forest harvesting and wood processing as a feedstock
  • are small scale bioenergy projects using fruit and vegetable waste from horticulture residues
  • generate energy from paper and pulp manufacturing and related processing waste (that can’t be recycled into paper products)
  • process biosolids, sewage and sludge waste.

Projects must:

  • align with the objectives of the Fund
  • be implemented in and service Victoria
  • meet regulatory or planning requirements
  • not have commenced or will not commence prior to entering into a funding agreement with SV
  • be completed by 31 March 2025.

Costs that will be funded include:

  • technology selection costs
  • feedstock identification and end market research and development
  • conducting laboratory testing of incoming feedstock
  • engineering, procurement, and construction tendering related costs
  • consultancy or contract work required for the project
  • conducting testing required for approvals
  • planning and regulatory approval costs.

You can submit multiple applications. Each application must be for a different project. An application must not be for multiple projects.

2.4 What will not be funded

Projects that:

  • do not meet the program objectives and eligibility criteria of the Fund
  • take place outside of or do not service Victoria
  • are being undertaken to comply with regulations or a regulatory notice or order
  • do not meet regulatory or planning requirements
  • have received funding or support for the same activities from other government sources
  • do not clearly demonstrate a need for government support
  • do not demonstrate good value for money
  • are completed or have commenced prior to signing a funding agreement with SV
  • do not recover and reprocess organic waste to generate bioenergy (for example, landfill gas capture)
  • require a cap licence in the Victorian waste to energy framework (permitted materials)
  • have not investigated higher outcomes through the Waste Hierarchy
  • use banned and hazardous waste materials, including contaminated soil
  • use native forestry timber as a feedstock.

Costs that are ineligible for funding include:

  • lease or purchase of land
  • land acquisition or land surveying
  • routine or cyclical maintenance works
  • upgrades or works to building infrastructure to meet regulatory compliance
  • pre-construction (site preparation) such as site clearing, earthworks or site accessibility works
  • repair of facilities damaged by vandalism, fire, or other natural disasters where damage should be covered by insurance
  • operating costs (for example, staff costs such as salaries, electricity, water, and other utilities, maintenance, software and office costs)
  • costs to establish and connect utilities to the site (for example, electricity, water, and sewerage)
  • marketing, advertising, and promotional costs
  • purchase of vehicles (for example, front-end loaders, forklifts, electric vehicles)
  • travel, accommodation, conferences, and other educational activities
  • project management costs
  • contingency costs
  • capital purchases and infrastructure costs.

3. Assessment process

3.1 Assessment criteria

The assessment panel will assess the application based on merit according to the criteria below. Preference will be given to applications that demonstrate higher value for money.


Weighting: 40%

Demonstrate how your project will meet the objectives of the Fund and outline the:

  • problem the project seeks to address and who is impacted by it
  • current intervention measures
  • amount of bioenergy generated
  • amount of greenhouse gas abated
  • number of jobs created
  • organic material/s targeted
  • other solutions (of the Waste Hierarchy) that have been explored before this approach was chosen as the preferred option.


Weighting: 30%

Demonstrate the abilities of the Applicant to deliver the project including:

  • capacity (time and staff resources) – who will be delivering the project
  • capability (skills, knowledge and experience) – whether the project team has experience delivering similar renewable energy projects and/or an understanding of regulatory and planning approvals and pathways.


Weighting: 20%

Demonstrate how the project will be successfully delivered, including:

  • listing the key milestones and stating how they will be delivered on time, within budget and within scope
  • potential risks of the project and how they will be managed
  • stakeholder engagement strategy
  • the financial viability of the project, outlining proposed funding contributions
  • project approvals.


Weighting: 10%

Describe why the project is needed, including:

  • why this project has not been developed before
  • why it needs Victorian Government support
  • the barriers the project will overcome
  • the long-term social, environmental, and economic benefits of the project.

3.2 Diversity consideration

SV may overlay rankings to achieve an overall mix of projects that represent:

  • a geographical spread across Victorian regions
  • a spread across industries and types of applicants
  • a mix of project types (e.g., applications targeting different phases of a bioenergy project lifecycle from design to commissioning).

3.3 Due diligence checks

A risk-based approach will be used to assess the Applicant’s social, economic, safety and environmental risks in relation to the project. This assessment will include the Applicant’s Related Entities and may include Project Partners and/or Project Participants (see Section 9: Program definitions).

Applicants (and their Related Entities and, if applicable, their Project Partners and/or Project Participants) must:

  • have had no Environmental, Safety or Workplace Breaches in the last five years or, if there was a breach, Sustainability Victoria may assess that the Applicant’s breach poses a satisfactory level of risk;
  • have not been the subject of an enforceable undertaking or successful litigation by the Fair Work Ombudsman for a breach of the Fair Work Act 2009 or a fair work instrument within the last five years;
  • demonstrate financial capability to undertake the project;
  • have adequate insurance as outlined in the funding agreement such as:
    • Professional indemnity $5M minimum (if required)
    • WorkCover
  • have not failed to satisfactorily progress or complete previous projects funded by Sustainability Victoria within funding program timelines and without sufficient reason; and
  • manage any conflicts of interest adequately.

Assessment of satisfactory level of risk will include but not be limited to Sustainability Victoria’s consideration of:

  • the seriousness of any finding/s;
  • whether the finding/s has been resolved to the satisfaction of the relevant enforcement agency, or the Applicant can demonstrate it is working effectively to resolve the finding;
  • the efforts made by the Applicant including implementation of management systems, to ensure no further finding/s occur; and
  • whether, since the finding, the Applicant has had a satisfactory level of compliance with relevant Environmental and Safety Laws and Workplace Laws.

Sustainability Victoria may conduct due diligence checks on the Project Partners and/or Project Participants involved in the delivery of the project. The Applicant must ensure that any Project Partners and/or Project Participants agree to cooperate with this requirement and will provide information at Sustainability Victoria’s request.

Sustainability Victoria reserves the right not to award funding to Applicants where the due diligence risk (including that of Project Partners and Project Participants) is unsatisfactory or not able to be managed.

4. Funding conditions

Successful applicants approved for funding must do the following.

4.1 Before starting the project

  • Participate in an inception meeting to discuss their project and the funding agreement.
  • Agree to realistic evidence-based and performance-based milestone payments.
  • Provide Sustainability Victoria with insurance certificates of currency.
  • Sign Sustainability Victoria’s funding agreement within 30 days of approval.
  • Provide a project plan.
  • If funding of more than $250,000 is awarded, plan for capital works signage.
  • If the project is in regional Victoria, and is given funding of at least $1 million, meet Local Jobs First requirements.

4.2 During and after the project

  • Deliver the project as outlined in the application and comply with the funding agreement.
  • Contribute to regular project progress updates or meetings.
  • Notify Sustainability Victoria immediately about any delay or change to the project.
  • Provide update reports to Sustainability Victoria at agreed milestones with evidence of expenditure, progress and performance.
  • Provide adequate monitoring and evaluation of the project according to the funding agreement.
  • Collect and release data to Sustainability Victoria. Sustainability Victoria may share or report on the data.
  • Contribute to the project’s promotional activities (for example, provide Sustainability Victoria with support by reviewing and approving written stories or videos).
  • Participate in and contribute to Sustainability Victoria activities to distribute the findings to broader stakeholders (for example, government and industry).
  • Acknowledge that Sustainability Victoria has contributed funding in all communications related to the project.

5. Timeline

Dates may change.

Applications open: Friday 1 July 2022

Applications close: Friday 26 August 2022

Information session: Tuesday 12 July 2022

Notification of outcome: Expected January or February 2023. We will provide applicants with updates as often as possible and when necessary.

Funding agreements established: April 2023

Projects commenced by: May 2023

Project completed by: 31 March 2025

6. How to apply

Before applying, we recommend you attend an information session.

The grant program involves a competitive, merit-based application process.

Your application

  • Allow adequate time to plan, research, gather supporting documentation and draft your application.
  • You must use SmartyGrants, unless you have written permission from Sustainability Victoria.
  • You can submit multiple applications, but each application must be for a different project.
  • An application must not be for multiple projects.

Tips for using SmartyGrants

  • Click ‘Save progress’ every 10 to 15 minutes. This prevents your data from being lost if something happens when you’re filling in the form. You will be automatically logged out of the system after 60 minutes of inactivity (where you did not click ‘Save progress’ or navigate between pages). Once logged out, you will lose any changes that were not saved.
  • Wait for your file to be uploaded. Wait for your document to be successfully attached before going to another page. If not, the file upload will be cancelled. The maximum size per file is 25MB.
  • Once you’ve submitted your application, you cannot make any changes. Check your application carefully.
  • You will receive a confirmation email. When your application has been submitted successfully, you will get an automatic receipt from SmartyGrants.
  • For any technical issues, please contact SmartyGrants on +61 3 9320 6888 during business hours.

7. Assistance available

7.1 Grant enquiries

Please contact the grants team as a first point of contact.

Phone: +61 3 8656 6757 Monday to Friday, 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.

Email: grants.enquiries@sustainability.vic.gov.au

When contacting our Grants team please put ‘Waste to Energy Fund: Bioenergy’ in the subject line.

7.2 Investment facilitation

We recommend Applicants to engage with Sustainability Victoria’s investment support services before submitting their application to ensure their project is investment ready and set up for success. Sustainability Victoria offers an investment facilitation service for projects that increase Victoria’s resource recovery sector.

Read about our assistance with investing Victoria’s resource recovery industry.

Or email invest@sustainability.vic.gov.au for more information.

Investment facilitation support services is separate and removed from the panel evaluation scoring process.

Use of this service does not guarantee any level of success with any application.

7.3 Information sessions

One information session was held for this stream.

Sessions are online. A recording will be available after the session.

Read the information bulletin

Answers to questions we receive at our information sessions and via phone and email are published on our Information bulletin.

We only publish answers to questions that are not already covered in these grant guidelines.

8. Why the Victorian Government is providing this funding

The Fund is released as part of the Victorian Government’s circular economy plan Recycling Victoria: a new economy and represents the critical role that bioenergy facilities will play in the generation of renewable energy and the management of waste resources. Funding is essential to attract early adopters and increase investment in this space, to expand the capacity of the market.

In July 2016 Sustainability Victoria introduced the $2.33 million Waste to Energy (W2E) Infrastructure Fund to increase government intervention and collaboration to support food waste recovery and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In 2019, this approach was adapted and the Bioenergy Infrastructure Fund was announced. This fund broadened the scope of eligible projects to include support for feasibility studies and business case development.

In February 2020, the Victorian Government announced a $10 million waste to energy support package as part of Recycling Victoria: a new economy. A key commitment of this action plan is to halve the volume of organic waste going to landfill by 2030. Anaerobic digestion is considered a priority for investment in supporting waste to energy infrastructure development.

The Fund aims to support the development of innovative bioenergy projects and business models to enable the implementation of best-practice infrastructure that builds capability and capacity in Victoria’s bioenergy sector.

9. Definitions


The applicant who applies for the funding and is responsible for all details in the submission of an application and the contractual obligations under the funding agreement with Sustainability Victoria if successful for grant funding. Applicants must be legally constituted organisations and be operating with a current ABN that has been active for a minimum of 1 year by the application closing date.


A commercial enterprise seeking to generate profit through its activities, including Social Enterprises.


A Charity is an organisation that is not-for-profit and has only charitable purposes that are for the public benefit. A Charity must not be an individual, political party or government entity, and must be registered on the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission Charity Register.


The Applicant’s required financial (cash) contribution to the total project income.

Collaborative Partnership

A relationship established between a Lead Applicant and Project Partner/s for the purposes of meeting common project objectives and outcomes. Collaborative Partnerships need to be demonstrated by a formal agreement between the partners that outlines the governance, financial and intellectual property arrangements and roles and responsibilities of each party. A formal agreement must either be in place or be finalised before commencement of the project.

Community Group

Any organisation engaged in charitable or other community-based activity operating under Australian law and not established for the purpose of making a profit. This definition can include not-for-profit entities pursuing a range of ‘for-profit’ commercial activities. It can also include organisations engaged in advocacy or other activities that may not be primarily charitable in nature. Unincorporated entities are ineligible to apply.

Direct Jobs

Actual new full-time positions created by your business. This can include training or upskilling of employees who would otherwise be made redundant through the implementation of your project.

Environmental, Safety or Workplace Breach

An environmental or safety breach is any past or current prosecution, reportable incident, investigation, notice, penalty, warning, regulatory intervention or enforcement action from the Environment Protection Authority (EPA), Victorian WorkCover Authority (WorkSafe) or Fair Work or failure to comply with any environmental, safety and workplace laws.

Environmental and Safety Laws

Environmental and safety laws are the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004, Environment Protection Act 2017 or any other legislation, regulation, order, statute, by-law, ordinance or any other legislative or regulatory measure, code, standard or requirement relating to the protection and safety of persons or property or which regulate the environment including laws relating to land use planning, pollution of air or water, soil or groundwater contamination, chemicals, waste, the use, handling, storage or transport of dangerous goods or substances, greenhouse gas emissions, carbon trading, or any other aspect of protection of the environment.

Full-Time Equivalent Employees (FTE)

The hours worked by one employee on a full-time basis.

Calculating FTE

The calculation is used to convert the hours worked by several part-time employees into the hours worked by full-time employees. For example, you have three employees working the following - 40, 40 and 20 hours per week, giving you 100 hours per week in total.

Assuming full-time hours are 40 hours per week, your full-time equivalent calculation is 100 hours divided by 40 hours which equals 2.5 FTE.

In-kind Contribution

An in-kind contribution is a contribution of a good or a service other than cash.

In-kind contributions should include the cost for activities that are directly related to delivering your project. Examples include:

  • staff time to manage project implementation (project management and installation costs that utilise existing internal resources);
  • time spent on project activities by volunteers; and
  • donated goods or services related to the project.

The following activities cannot be considered as in-kind contributions:

  • operating expenses that are not directly associated with delivering the project; and
  • opportunity costs such as staff ‘downtime’ during the installation of equipment or implementation of activities.

In-kind contributions are not accepted in this Fund.

Lead Applicant

The listed applicant for the purposes of a Collaborative Partnership. The Lead Applicant will be responsible for all details in the submission of an application and the contractual obligations under the funding agreement with Sustainability Victoria if successful for grant funding. The Lead Applicant is also responsible for managing the project outcomes and deliverables of the Collaborative Partnership.

Not-for-Profit (NFP)

A not-for-profit (NFP) organisation is an entity that does not operate for the profit or gain (either direct or indirect) of particular people. Unincorporated entities are ineligible to apply.

Project Participant/s

An organisation engaged by the Applicant to assist in the delivery of the Applicant’s project, including but not limited to major subcontractors, contractors, product suppliers and consultants.

Project Partner/s

An organisation/s in a Collaborative Partnership with a Lead Applicant that have a critical role in the project and a formal commitment to delivering the support required to ensure the project’s success.

Related Entities

Entities which are related to the Applicant, including:

  • Holding companies of the Applicant
  • Subsidiaries of the Applicant
  • Subsidiaries of holding companies of the Applicant
  • Companies with common directors or shareholders as the Applicant
  • Companies that are a beneficiary under a trust of which the Applicant is a trustee
  • Trustees of a trust under which the Applicant is a beneficiary
  • Companies that conduct business at the same address as the Applicant, or the same address as the location of the activity for which the funding is sought

Related Person/s

Related Person means a director, officer, employee, agent, board member or contractor of the Applicant or a Related Entity.

Social Enterprise

A social enterprise is a business that trades to intentionally tackle social problems, improve communities, provide people access to employment and training, or help the environment.

Social enterprises:

  • are driven by a public or community cause, be it social, environmental, cultural or economic
  • derive most of their income from trade, not donations or grants
  • use the majority (at least 50%) of their profits to work towards their social mission.

Waste Hierarchy

The waste hierarchy is a set of priorities for the order of preference for how waste is managed to achieve the best possible economic and environmental outcomes for resource use.

Workplace Laws

Workplace laws are the Fair Work Act 2009, or any other legislation, regulation order, statute, by-law, ordinance or any other legislative or regulatory measure, code, standard or requirement relating to the provision of fair, relevant and enforceable minimum terms and conditions for all persons and to prevent discrimination against employees.

Contact us

Please contact the grants team as a first point of contact.

Phone: +61 3 8656 6757 Monday to Friday, 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.

When contacting our Grants team please put ‘Waste to Energy Fund: Bioenergy’ in the subject line.