Are you an Energy Pathfinder?


We want to find the best energy projects from across Oxfordshire and from every size of organisation, from social enterprise to multi-national.


Oxfordshire has established itself as the home of carbon reducing energy innovation and now a new competition, backed by leading academic, local authority and business organisations, has been launched to find the county’s current leading projects.


The competition, known as Energy Pathfinders: 2050 (EP:50), follows the publication of the county’s Energy Strategy last year and reflects the importance being placed on innovation by UK government, especially in the run-up to COP26 in November. The Energy Strategy revealed that the sector makes a significant contribution to Oxfordshire’s economy, generating £1.15bn a year, or 7% of the county’s economic output.  


EP:50 will shine a light on a wide range of vibrant and dynamic projects in the built environment and communities, transport and infrastructure, and energy efficiency and demand reduction. The judges will also make a further award to a project which demonstrates exemplary standards of diversity and inclusion and embodies key aspects of the Energy Strategy.

Throughout 2021, we are seeking pioneering projects which we can help champion on a local, national and international stage. Your project, if selected, will become part of an Energy Pathfinder showcase for clean technology, helping you to connect with potential investors, influencers and customers.

Areas of innovation

There’s plenty of scope! For example, if your organisation is working on innovations in:

  • new developments in the built environment
  • retrofitting of existing premises
  • grid capacity
  • low carbon generation
  • demand reduction
  • growing the low carbon economy
  • sustainable transport

…we want to hear from you.

The Energy Pathfinder awards have three categories which will be rolled out and judged in stages during 2021:

Category 1: Built Environment & Communities

Category 2: Transport & Infrastructure

Category 3: Energy Efficiency & Demand Reduction

Entries for Category 3 must be received by 19 September 2021. 

Judging criteria

Energy Pathfinders is open to projects and organisations of all sizes, from small to large businesses and including start-ups and community-based initiatives. As well as energy and carbon savings, the judges seek projects which place high value on diversity, inclusion and that have a wider social value.

Projects will be considered in the context of their impact, scope for scale-up, and economic importance to Oxfordshire, against the three guiding principles of the Oxfordshire Energy Strategy:


  1. Securing a smart, modern, clean energy infrastructure through increased electricity grid capacity, supporting planned housing, industrial and commercial growth and changing energy requirements.
  2. Reducing countywide emissions by 50% by 2030 (compared with 2008 levels) and setting a pathway to achieve zero carbon growth by 2050. Realising the economic benefits of a low-carbon transition by supporting:
  • ambitious and innovative clean generation projects across the county.
  • projects that reduce energy demand and increase energy efficiency for domestic, industrial, commercial buildings and transport.
  1. Enhancing energy networking and partnership working to focus on the low carbon energy challenges, galvanising pioneers in clean growth to support the scaling-up of future solutions and accelerate delivery towards a net zero-carbon county.

The judges

The judging panel includes experts from the University of Oxford, Oxford Brookes University, and Oxfordshire County Council as well as independent sustainability specialists:

How to enter

To enter, you will need to complete the online form here . As well as needing basic contact information, we are asking you to provide:

  • An outline description of your project and its aims.
  • Details of the energy and carbon savings of your project, giving accurate figures where possible.
  • A summary of why your project is innovative.
  • An explanation around the extent to which your project is likely to contribute to the Oxfordshire economy and the scope for future scale-up.
  • Details of how you champion diversity and inclusion and deliver wider social value.

Please note that the closing date for Category 3 is 19 September 2021.

Benefits for Winners

As well as an Energy Pathfinders trophy for your office, you will receive a logo and marketing toolkit to help you publicise your achievement. The full benefits for Energy Pathfinders include:

  • Physical presence and networking opportunities at annual showcase event (subject to pandemic restrictions, etc)
  • Online coverage and profiling by OxLEP and Oxfordshire Greentech
  • A social media campaign with the hashtag #EP50
  • Mention in news releases and feature articles for regional and trade press
  • Opportunity to position project as part of Oxfordshire’s Green Recovery with OxLEP and Oxfordshire Greentech providing links to investors through networking and features in investment prospectuses (where possible)
  • Profile of projects in OxLEP and Oxfordshire Greentech’s work with central government (BEIS, DIT, DEFRA) and other organisations, including the Oxford to Cambridge Arc, with a focus around COP26, plus any further profiling opportunities in partner organisation’s publications
  • The successful companies will be provided with a winner’s toolkit, including a logo for marketing purposes and a trophy for their office.


Who’s behind Energy Pathfinders?


Energy Pathfinders is a joint initiative between Oxfordshire Greentech (OG) and the Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (OxLEP).

Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (OxLEP) champions Oxfordshire’s economic potential. Together with partners, it has secured £600 million of central government and European funds and supported the creation of over 50,000 new jobs. OxLEP’s Oxfordshire Energy Strategy aims to put the county at the forefront of energy innovation to foster clean growth.

Oxfordshire Greentech is a business network that encourages innovation and collaboration, and promotes Oxfordshire as a centre for low-carbon solutions. It is a member-led organisation run by sustainability charity Bioregional with support from Cambridge Cleantech.

Criteria/terms and conditions

We welcome entries from rural, urban and growth locations, from diverse communities, and from organisations demonstrating wider social value.

Projects – or at least part of any wider scheme – must be carried out in Oxfordshire.

Entries will be considered from completed, part-completed or funded projects starting by 24 March 2021. If completed, the projects must have been completed by 1 January 2020 or later.

Entries may come from commercial or not-for-profit organisations. There is no limit as to the organisation’s size or the project’s budget.

The Energy Strategy reflects the importance of networking and collaboration. Please provide evidence of how working with others has either supported the development of your project or where you have shared your own best practice

 The judges’ decision will be final and no correspondence will be entered into.

The year’s top projects will be highlighted to government via our contacts at the Department for International Trade and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, to potential international investors and customers, and to local schools who will be invited to explore the innovations.

“The year’s top projects will be highlighted to government via our contacts at the Department for International Trade and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, to potential international investors and customers, and to local schools who will be invited to explore the innovations”.

Ahmed Goga

Director of Strategy and Programmes, OxLEP

For more information, contact Hannah Scott

Communications and Members Manager