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.

Through the 2019 process, we awarded two electricity NIC projects: WPD's DC Share and SSEN's Resilience as a Service. You can read more about the projects in the 2019 Funding Decisions, available below. 

The 2020 Competition

The Initial Screening Process for the 2020 NIC has now concluded.

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

The Full Submission deadline is 5pm on 31 July.

Constellation (UK Power Networks)

The project aims to develop an interoperable local intelligence platform in substations to perform network optimisation, control and protection functions in software, in order to improve network resilience and resolve constraints.

Flexr (Northern Powergrid)

The project proposes a system to translate data from the electricity distribution network operators’ (DNO) systems into common language through a data sharing service to enable the development of flexibility market services and its integration to DNO business practice.

Proteus (National Grid Electricity Transmission)

Project aims to develop and demonstrate a transmission-connected 50MVA virtual synchronous machine (VSM) STATCOM controller in partnership with a supplier, building on recent research and development and bridging the current technology gaps.

QUEST (Electricity North West)

The project aims develop and demonstrate a holistic voltage control methodology to co-ordinate and optimise the operation of network innovations such as active network management and voltage optimisation solutions.

Re-Heat (Scottish Power Distribution)

The project aims to demonstrate the use of electric heating systems to smooth peak demand by interfacing networks constraint requirements to in-home control systems. The project also intends to trial commercial arrangements and develop decision-making tools.

RICA (National Grid Electricity Transmission)

The project aims to develop and demonstrate a lower cost reinforcement solution by retrofitting insulated cross-arms to overhead lines, allowing an increase in voltage rating on existing towers. 

The following submissions to the ISP will not be invited to proceed to the Full Submission stage.

CommuniFlex (UK Power Networks)

The Project aims to demonstrate a coordinated approach to the electrification of heat, including accessible finance, community focused system design and the operation of smart network services.

ENABLE (Western Power Distribution)

The Project aims to develop and trial a transparent data provision platform for network customers and operators, and to develop a standardised DSO system.

Peer-to-Community (Western Power Distribution)

The project aims to trial the deployment and operation of a peer-to-peer platform to host community energy trading, building from an incumbent trading platform.

Plymouth Heat Scheme (Western Power Distribution)

The project proposes to operate a range of electric heat solutions in a systematic way to reduce impact on networks. This will include understanding the behaviour of several electric heating solutions and building archetype combinations in an urban setting.

Publications and updates

  • Published: 20th Mar 2013
  • Other
  • 1 Associated documents
This is the proforma used by licensees wishing to make bids to the Electricity Network Innovation Competition.

  • Published: 11th Feb 2013
  • Other
  • 1 Associated documents
This document is the electricity Network Innovation Competition Governance Document. It contains all the regulation, governance and administration of the electricity NIC.

  • Published: 10th Jan 2013
  • Consultations and responses
  • 28 Associated documents
This letter summarises the responses we received to our October consultation on the Network Innovation Competition and Network Innovation Allowance governance documents.

  • Published: 10th Oct 2012
  • Closed: 21st Nov 2012
  • Consultations and responses
  • 9 Associated documents
We have developed draft versions of the NIC and NIA governance documents which we are informally consulting on.

  • Published: 13th Aug 2012
  • Decisions
  • 2 Associated documents
This letter contains our decision on funding the cost of preparing submissions for the Network Innovation Competition, as well as on the detailed governance of the Network Innovation Allowance.

  • Published: 29th May 2012
  • Closed: 27th Jun 2012
  • Consultations and responses
  • 12 Associated documents
This letter consults further on funding the cost of preparing submissions for the Network Innovation Competition.

  • Published: 21st Mar 2012
  • Decisions
  • 1 Associated documents
This document explains our decisions on two consultations on the high level policy aspects of the Network Innovation competition.

  • Published: 4th Jan 2012
  • Closed: 1st Feb 2012
  • Consultations and responses
  • 11 Associated documents
Asking for views on: breadth of network licensee participation in the competition and funding allowance for RIIO network licensees bid submission costs.

  • Published: 2nd Sep 2011
  • Closed: 17th Oct 2011
  • Consultations and responses
  • 11 Associated documents
This document sets out our decision on non-network company access to the Network Innovation Competition (NIC), as part of the RIIO price controls.

  • Published: 21st Jan 2011
  • Closed: 4th Mar 2011
  • Consultations and responses
  • 1 Associated documents
This letter seeks views on arrangements we should put in place to give third parties (non-network companies) access to funding aimed at stimulating innovation on Great Britain’s energy networks.