Electricity Network Innovation Competition (NIC)

The Electricity Network Innovation Competition (NIC) was an annual opportunity for electricity network companies to compete for funding for the development and demonstration of new technologies, operating and commercial arrangements.

We allowed for up to £70 million of funding per year for innovative projects which help all network operators understand how to provide environmental benefits, reduce costs, and maintain security of supply as Great Britain (GB) moves to a low carbon economy.

We awarded funding to the following companies:

  • Western Power Distribution (WPD)
  • Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN)
  • UK Power Networks (UKPN)
  • Electricity North West (ENWL)
  • National Grid Electricity Transmission (NGET)

We will close the Electricity NIC to new proposals with the ending of the RIIO-ED1 price control in March 2023. The RIIO-ED2 price control, which applies from April 2023, includes a new mechanism called the Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF).

The 2022 Competition

The Initial Screening Process for the 2022 NIC has now concluded.

The following projects have passed the ISP and will proceed to the Full Submission stage.

The Full Submission deadline is Monday 1 August 2022.

Net Zero Island (Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks) - This project seeks to use whole system principles to find a more sustainable, economic and efficient means of providing island resilience.

CommuniPower (UK Power Networks) - The project will realise the potential benefits of combining community-led planning with new network operation processes, integrate consumer and community-owned assets, and leverage new capabilities using new granular Distribution Network Operator (DNO) data streams.

Community DSO (Northern PowerGrid) - The Project aims to trial Smart Local Energy Systems (SLES) with localised management of lower voltage levels, organised in interconnected ‘cells’.

You can see all publications relating to the Electricity NIC and its qualifying projects in the list below.

Publications and updates