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£90m of investment up for grabs


Up to £90m of investment is up for grabs for Britain’s leading energy innovators this week, as the Energy Networks Association (ENA) launches the first ever call for ideas for the Network Innovation Competition (NIC).

The ENA represents Britain’s gas and electricity network operators and will be running the call this year for companies interested in working with these organisations to develop bids for project funding. Successful applicants will compete for up to £70 million available for electricity network projects and £20 million of funding available for gas network projects.

The annual NIC is run by Ofgem and is designed to support and provide funding to a range of large scale energy innovation projects that develop and demonstrate new technologies that will help run network infrastructure in a smarter, cleaner and more flexible way. 

Proposals will need to fit with the priority areas or one of the possible cross-sector areas, such as whole system planning, set out in the Gas and Electricity Network Innovation Strategies published earlier this year.

Proposals will also need to show clear cost benefits to the public and the running of networks.  Research from the National Infrastructure Commission has identified up to £8bn of savings a year that can be made from energy networks investing in innovative smart power technologies. 

David Smith, Chief Executive of Energy Networks Association, says: “This is an exciting chance for innovators to deliver projects that will make a real difference to the way networks operate in communities up and down the country. 

“Network innovation is vital to keeping energy bills down for the public, while delivering a smarter, cleaner and more flexible energy system that serves the country. We want to hear from the widest range of energy innovators as possible to help deliver that.” 

Recent examples of successful NIC projects include the OpenLV project, which enables open access to local network electricity demand data. Potential applicants can find out more information about existing innovation projects and meet network operators to discuss potential projects at this year’s Low Carbon Network Innovation (LCNI) Conference, the UK’s largest smart grid conference, which takes place in Telford on 16-17 October.

The call for ideas is now open and closes on 26 October at 5pm.

Applications can be made on Energy Networks Association’s Network Innovation Collaboration Portal. 

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