Electricity Network Innovation Competition

As part of the RIIO price controls we introduced the Electricity Network Innovation Competition (NIC).

The Electricity NIC is an annual opportunity for electricity network companies to compete for funding for the 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, reduce costs, and maintain security as Great Britain (GB) moves to a low carbon economy. Up to £70m per annum is available through the Electricity NIC.

The 2019 Competition

We received six submissions to this year’s Electricity NIC Initial Screening Process.

The following projects will be allowed to proceed to Full Submission:

Constellation - UK Power Networks

This project intends to design, develop and demonstrate distributed intelligence, or ‘smart’ substations at grid, primary and secondary substations.

DC Share - Western Power Distribution

This project intends to develop a network equalisation solution which provides a means of sharing system capacity across AC secondary substations with different load profiles. The project will employ power electronics to extract power from existing substations at the 415 V level and distribute this to rapid EV charge points via a new high capacity DC cable network.

FreeVE - Western Power Distribution

This project intends to look at homes with various combinations of low carbon technologies in order to better understand how these technologies interact and impact upon customers demand profiles, in preparation for flexibility services.If funded, this project intends to look at homes with various combinations of low carbon technologies in order to better understand how these technologies interact and impact upon customers demand profiles, in preparation for flexibility services.

Resilience as a Service - Scottish Hydro Electric Power Distribution and Northern Powergrid

This project intends to develop and demonstrate the technical, organisational and commercial requirements needed to deliver resilience services, i.e. microgrids and standby generation, in a sustainable way. Islanding is currently delivered mostly by diesel generators for short periods, and the low carbon alternatives which do exist are bespoke and costly, with no clear needs case for service providers to create financially viable solutions.

The following projects were not eligible to proceed to Full Submission:

DESTINY - UK Power Networks

This project intends to create a UK first flexibility lab of up to 1,000 homes (covering a range of housing types with different low-carbon technologies and smart energy services) to reveal what consumers value and buy, and how networks can rely on domestic flexibility to minimise future costs to network customers while facilitating the transition to a low carbon future. The project proposal is in partnership with the Energy Systems Catapult.

H-Awel - National Grid Electricity Transmission

This project intends to design and deploy an electrolyser system to connect to the largest onshore wind farm in England/Wales in order to produce green hydrogen for local energy, transport and heavy industry uses, and to demonstrate the use of hydrogen energy storage for constraint management and other network services.

This year’s Full Submission deadline will be 3pm on Monday 29 July.

Publications and updates

  • Published: 30th Apr 2019
  • Open letters and correspondence
  • 1 Associated documents
Screening submission for the project "Resilience as a Service" from Scottish Hydro Electric Power Distribution and Northern Powergrid.

  • Published: 30th Apr 2019
  • Open letters and correspondence
  • 1 Associated documents
Screening submission for the project "FreeVE" from Western Power Distribution.

  • Published: 30th Apr 2019
  • Open letters and correspondence
  • 1 Associated documents
Screening submission for the project "H-Awel" from National Grid Electricity Transmission.

  • Published: 30th Apr 2019
  • Open letters and correspondence
  • 1 Associated documents
Screening submission for the project "DESTINY" from UK Power Networks

  • Published: 30th Apr 2019
  • Open letters and correspondence
  • 1 Associated documents
Screening submission for the project "DC Share" from Western Power Distribution

  • Published: 30th Apr 2019
  • Open letters and correspondence
  • 1 Associated documents
Screening submission for the project "Constellation" from UK Power Networks.

  • Published: 26th Feb 2019
  • Guidance
  • 1 Associated documents
See version 3.0 of the Initial Screening Process pro forma for Electricity and Gas Network Innovation Competitions.

  • Published: 11th Jan 2019
  • Decisions
  • 1 Associated documents
This direction sets out the amount that National Grid Electricity System Operator (NGESO) can recover from its customers in relation to the NIC.

  • Published: 29th Nov 2018
  • Reports and plans
  • 1 Associated documents
This brochure describes the projects we have funded through this year's Gas and Electricity Network Innovation Competitions.

  • Published: 29th Nov 2018
  • Decisions
  • 3 Associated documents
Our decisions on which projects we will fund under the 2018 Gas and Electricity Network Innovation Competitions.

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