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: 21st Apr 2016
  • Reports and plans
  • 1 Associated documents
Screening submission for 'Inspire' from Scottish Power Distribution.

  • Published: 1st Mar 2016
  • Closed: 29th Mar 2016
  • Consultations and responses
  • 10 Associated documents
In this open letter consultation, we propose licence changes to add a new category ‘Returned Project Revenues’ to the Network Innovation Competition’s Funding Return Mechanism.

  • Published: 8th Feb 2016
  • Guidance
  • 0 Associated documents
The submission deadline for this year’s Initial Screening Process will be 13 April 2016.

  • Published: 12th Jan 2016
  • Open letters and correspondence
  • 1 Associated documents
Electricity Network Innovation Competition funding direction setting out the amounts for the System Operator to include in its allowed revenues for 2016/17 and the amounts it will transfer to the companies implementing successful projects.

  • Published: 1st Dec 2015
  • Factsheets
  • 1 Associated documents
This brochure describes the projects we have funded through this year's electricity and gas Network Innovation Competitions.

  • Published: 30th Nov 2015
  • Decisions
  • 2 Associated documents
Our decision on which projects we will fund under the 2015 Electricity Network Innovation Competition.

  • Published: 28th Jul 2015
  • Decisions
  • 3 Associated documents
This letter advises stakeholders that version 2.1 of the NIC Governance Documents have come into force. It also describes the main changes we have made since we consulted on the documents.

  • Published: 25th Jun 2015
  • Consultations and responses
  • 8 Associated documents
This notice explains our proposed changes to the Network Innovation Competition (NIC) Governance Document.

  • Published: 17th Jun 2015
  • Guidance
  • 4 Associated documents
These are the proforma, spreadsheet and guidance that the Network Licensees should use when completing their Full Submissions for the 2015 Electricity Network Innovation Competition (NIC).

  • Published: 29th May 2015
  • Open letters and correspondence
  • 1 Associated documents
This letter updates stakeholders on our intent to amend the Network Innovation Competition Governance Documents.