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Network firms launch first ever ‘Call for Ideas’ as £90 million Innovation Competition gets underway

Image: Getty.

Image: Getty.

Energy network companies have today launched the maiden Network Innovation Competition (NIC) ‘call for ideas’, making up to £70 million specifically available for innovative electricity network projects.

The call for ideas is being managed by the Energy Networks Association (ENA) and is seeking input from Britain’s leading energy innovators and cutting edge technology firms.

Successful companies will compete for separate pots of funding for gas and electricity network projects, however they must be able to demonstrate a clear cost benefit to the public, operation of networks, environmental benefits and demonstrate ‘genuine innovation’.

A total of £90 million is to be available under the NIC, split between electricity network projects (£70 million) and gas network projects (£20 million).

They must too fit with priority areas or possible cross-sector areas, such as whole system planning, network resilience, communications and network flexibility, as set out in the Electricity Network Innovation Strategies which was published earlier this year.

The NIC is to be managed by industry regulator Ofgem, and will pit network companies and their partners against each other for funding of the development and demonstration of new network technologies.

David Smith, chief executive at the Energy Networks Association, said the call was an “exciting chance” for innovators to deliver projects that can “make a real difference”.

“Network innovation is vital to keeping energy bills down for the public, whilst 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,” he said.

The call for ideas has opened this morning and will remain open until 5pm on 26 October 2018.

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