Skip to main content
Back to news & events

Calling all innovators: Our call to submit your project ideas for NIC 2021 funding is now open!

Our call to submit your project ideas for NIC 2021 funding is now open! For this call, which opens on 11th November 2020 and closes on 8th December 2020, we are looking for ideas to improve our understanding and capabilities around:

  • Use of data in the energy transition – How can we best use new or existing data to plan and operate our networks more efficiently and effectively, and create value for stakeholders?
  • Electrification of heat – How will this impact our networks, and how can we leverage customer flexibility?
  • Decarbonisation & Net-Zero – How can we best help local authorities to understand and act on the implications of local decarbonisation ambitions?
  • Electrification of transport – How can we facilitate additional network capacity to support EV charging in constrained network areas?

The NIC is an annual funding scheme 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 moves to a low carbon economy. Typically, NIC projects run for three to four years, allowing sufficient time to design, develop, test, and trial new solutions. Budgets for NIC projects range from approx. £3M to £20M. Take a look at our current project – DC Share as an example.

Applications are open to companies, individuals, groups and projects matching the NIC eligibility criteria. We would particularly welcome applications from high-tech small and medium-size enterprises and start-ups, and the opportunity to build on their entrepreneurial and innovation skills to adapt and disseminate new technology in the focus areas detailed above.

By submitting your idea, you will get the chance to work with our team of highly skilled engineers to develop your innovative ideas into a multi-year project that can help you to mature your products, services and solutions and introduce them to the network companies in Great Britain.

How to take part?

If you would like to submit your proposals for project ideas please click here

We recently held a webinar exploring our key innovation themes, and details of the submission and selection process. You can view the presentation slides here and the webinar Q&A here.

Further reading

For more information on how and why we innovate, please see:

To understand what innovation projects, UK network operators are undertaking, visit the ENA’s Smarter Network Portal.

Funding criteria considerations

WPD is excited to hear about your innovation ideas and would like to highlight some considerations for successful project proposals. Successful proposals will be funded through Ofgem’s NIC, and therefore will need to align with Ofgem’s funding criteria set out in the Electricity NIC Governance document. Your proposals should demonstrate the potential to have a direct impact on the planning or operation of the network and involve the development or demonstration of at least one of the following:

  • A specific piece of new (i.e. unproven in GB) equipment (including control and/or communications systems and/or software);
  • A specific novel arrangement or application of existing electricity transmission and/or distribution equipment (including control and communications systems software);
  • A specific novel operational practice directly related to the operation of the electricity Transmission System/Distribution System; or
  • A specific novel commercial arrangement.

Successful proposals will also:

  • Have the potential to save customers money, compared to the way things are done now;
  • Not duplicate other innovation projects in the UK. Innovation demonstrated outside the UK can be replicated in projects if it is a UK first; and
  • Generate learning that can be transferred to other locations around the UK.

If you are unsure whether your proposal meets these criteria, please reach out to us at We are happy to provide additional guidance or clarification.

Tagged under
  • Innovation