Network innovation

Britain's energy mix is changing and the way our gas and electricity networks operate needs to change too. We provide essential backing to innovative projects which aim to help make the energy networks smarter, accelerate the development of a low carbon energy sector as well as deliver financial benefits to consumers. The projects help develop crucial knowledge and expertise which is being shared across the industry.

Innovation Stimulus

As part of the RIIO-T1 and RIIO-GD1 price controls we introduced a Network Innovation Stimulus. The Stimulus includes two annual Network Innovation Competitions (NICs) one for electricity transmission companies and one for gas network companies.

Through the NICs these companies compete for funding for the research, development and demonstration of new technologies, operating and commercial arrangements. Funding is provided for those innovation projects which meet our evaluation criteria – which are available on our website.  We are supported in our review and assessment of the projects by three independent expert panels.

The Low Carbon Networks (LCN) Fund

As part of the electricity distribution price control arrangements (1 April 2010 to 31 March 2015), we established the Low Carbon Networks (LCN) Fund. The LCN Fund allows up to £500m of funding to support projects sponsored by the distribution network operators (DNOs).  The projects trial new technology, operating and commercial arrangements.

The objective of the NICs and the LCN Fund is to help network companies understand what they need to do to provide security of supply at value for money as Great Britain moves to a low carbon economy.

Innovation competitions

To access detailed information on the Electricity NIC, alongside the Gas NIC and LCN Fund, please see:

Electricity Network Innovation Competition
Gas Network Innovation Competition
Low Carbon Networks Fund


Publications and updates

  • Published: 31st Mar 2017
  • Guidance
  • 1 Associated documents
Document that sets out how we would like RIIO network licensees to proceed with regards to the Network Innovation Competition Successful Delivery Reward.

  • Published: 21st Dec 2016
  • Closed: 6th Feb 2017
  • Consultations & responses
  • 9 Associated documents
This consultation document is seeking stakeholders’ views on proposed legal text that would give effect to the policy proposals currently being consulted on.

  • Published: 1st Dec 2016
  • Closed: 6th Feb 2017
  • Consultations & responses
  • 31 Associated documents
This consultation document is seeking stakeholders’ views on changes we are proposing to the Network Innovation Allowance and the Networks Innovation Competitions.

  • Published: 4th Apr 2016
  • Decisions
  • 1 Associated documents
Update on our review of the Low Carbon Networks Fund and the governance arrangements of the Network Innovation Competitions and Network Innovation Allowance.

  • Published: 9th Feb 2016
  • Agendas, minutes and presentations
  • 4 Associated documents
From 2.30pm until 5pm today, join our CEO and guest speakers from Innovate UK and the Financial Conduct Authority in a panel discussion on innovation in a transforming energy system.

  • Published: 17th Dec 2015
  • Closed: 5th Feb 2016
  • Consultations & responses
  • 28 Associated documents
We want your views on the governance of some of our innovation funding schemes for energy network companies and the funding that should be available in the electricity Network Innovation Competition for the remainder of the RIIO-ED1 price control.

  • Published: 30th Sep 2015
  • Decisions
  • 3 Associated documents
We have decided to award SP Transmission Plc (SPT) funding for the project under the Innovation Rollout Mechanism (IRM), and this document sets out our reasons why.

  • Published: 18th Sep 2015
  • Decisions
  • 2 Associated documents
Letter approving network licensees’ Network Innovation Allowance Project Benefits Guide.

  • Published: 19th Jun 2015
  • Closed: 17th Jul 2015
  • Consultations & responses
  • 4 Associated documents
This letter seeks views on SP Transmission’s application to make use of the Innovation Rollout Mechanism.

  • Published: 26th Jan 2015
  • Decisions
  • 1 Associated documents
This letter explains the Authority’s decision regarding changes to the Network Innovation Competition and Network Innovation Allowance Governance Documents.