As part of the RIIO: T1 and GD1 price controls we have introduced the Network Innovation Competitions (NICs) and the Network Innovation Allowance (NIA).
The NICs are annual competitions for electricity and gas. Network companies compete for funding for research, development and demonstration of new technologies, operating and commercial arrangements. Funding will be provided for the best innovation projects which help all network operators understand what they need to do to provide environmental benefits and security of supply at value for money as Great Britain (GB) moves to a low carbon economy.
The NIA is a smaller allowance each RIIO network licensee receives to fund smaller scale innovative projects which have the potential to deliver benefits to network customers. Further information can be found in the NIA Governance Document.
The Initial Screening Process (ISP) is the first stage of this year’s competitions and the deadline for submissions was Friday 19 April 2013. We received eight submissions for the Electricity NIC and seven submissions for the Gas NIC.We have evaluated these submissions against the specific requirements and eligibility criteria. All projects have passed the ISP. We have published all submissions below. Some of the submissions have been updated following clarifications requested by us.
The submissions are:
Bio SNG Demonstration Project (submitted by National Grid Gas Distribution)
This project will construct a demonstration plant that will investigate the techno-economic feasibility of the thermal gasification of waste to produce a pipeline quality renewable gas.
Clean Energy Balance (CEB) - Hydrogen Injection for Carbon Displacement (submitted by Wales & West Utilities Limited)
This project will test storage and injection technologies which will allow the hydrogen generated by an electrolyser (developed under the Low Carbon Networks Fund) to be injected into the natural gas network and transported beyond electricity network constraints. This project forms part of a wider project that is also requesting funding from the LCN Fund.
Hydrogen Blending (submitted by Scotland Gas Networks & Southern Gas Networks)
This project will investigate real network-wide regulatory and physical impacts of injecting hydrogen into the network.
Low Carbon Gas Pre-heating (submitted by Northern Gas Networks Ltd)
This project will test new and emerging pre-heating technologies and associated operating systems.
Opening up the Gas Market (submitted by Scotland Gas Networks & Southern Gas Networks)
This project will demonstrate whether gas that meets EASEE Gas specification but sits outside the characteristics of gas specified within UK Gas Safety (Management) Regulations, can be distributed safely and efficiently.
Robotics (submitted by Scotland Gas Networks & Southern Gas Networks)
This project develops new robotic technologies that operate inside live gas network, in order to repair leaking joints, manage risk of pipe fracture in larger diameter pipes and repair and replace pipeline assets.
Variable Envelope Compressors: Trial Optimisation and Review - VECTOR (submitted by National Grid Gas plc)
This project will develop and demonstrate the technology and process for retrofitting new turbo engine technology to make the envelope on existing compressors larger.
Development, Testing, and Manufacture of a Universal, Subsea, 132kV Cable Joint (submitted by TC Ormonde OFTO Ltd)
This project will develop and test a new cable jointing system that can be used to connect different types of transmission voltage subsea cables.
Mechanism for Enhanced Transmission Capacity - MEdiCi (submitted by National Grid Electricity Transmission plc)
This project will develop and demonstrate new smarter asset models and commercial mechanisms to improve useable thermal capability limits.
Mobile Extra High Voltage Substation Bays - MSB (submitted by National Grid Electricity Transmission plc)
This project will develop and demonstrate a rapidly deployable and removable mobile substation bay on 400kV transmission network.
Modification of a Telecommunications Repair Vessel for Power Cable Repairs (submitted by TC Ormonde OFTO Ltd)
This project will modify a telecom-cable repair vessel so that it can be used to repair transmission voltage subsea power cables.
Multi-Terminal Test Environment (MTTE) for HVDC Systems (submitted by Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission plc)
This project will establish a facility to demonstrate and test multi-terminal and multi-vendor High Voltage Direct Current transmission solutions.
New Tower Suite (with Insulated Cross-Arms & Low-Sag Conductors) (submitted by Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission plc)
This project will develop smaller transmission towers (for 275kV) using insulated cross-arms and low-sag conductors.
Trial/Demonstration of an Innovative Seabed Scour Protection Method (submitted by TC Ormonde OFTO Ltd)
This project will test the installation of a new type of submarine cable protection system based on connecting mats made from used car tyres.
Visualisation of Real Time System Dynamics using Enhanced Monitoring - VISOR (submitted by Scottish Power Transmission Ltd
This project will use enhanced monitoring techniques to provide a number of benefits associated with the secure integration of new technologies onto the transmission network and also provide visibility of system voltage and stability limits.
Following ISP, licensees will be able to merge similar projects but will not be allowed to substantially alter the high level solutions or the method they wish to use. Further information can be found in the governance documents for the Electricity NIC and the Gas NIC.
The LCN Fund and NIC competitions will run in parallel this year. Further information can be found on the LCN Fund webpage. We received eight ISP submissions for the LCN Fund and all passed the ISP stage. These are available on the LCN Fund Second Tier webpage. The deadline for Full Submissions is 9 August 2013.
We developed the governance arrangements in consultation with a multi-stakeholder working group: the Innovation Working Group (IWG). Details, presentations and meeting notes from these meetings can be found by using the link on the left of this page.
We will continue to hold meetings of the IWG to discuss running the competitions in 2013 and the arrangements for when electricity distribution companies join the Electricity NIC in 2015.
For further information and to attend the IWG meetings please contact email@example.com.
Published below are the relevant Network Innovation Competition documents.