Over £55.5mn of NIC funding goes unspent

Only two electricity projects have been awarded Network Innovation Competition (NIC) funding from Ofgem.

On 2 December, Current+ reported that Western Power Distribution’s (WPD) DC Share and Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks’ (SSEN) Resilience as a Service (RaaS) projects were successful, receiving around £14.4mn in funding. However, with a further two projects – from WPD and UK Power Networks – rejected, £55.5mn of the £70mn of funding on offer will remain unspent this year.

WPD’s DC Share project has been awarded £4.72mn. The project is aiming to develop and trial the use of a DC ring to share load across secondary substations that have been otherwise constrained. This will support the powering of rapid charge points for electric vehicles (EVs) in locations that are more convenient for users. Ofgem deemed that the project had the potential to offer a low-cost solution for rapid charger deployment, adjudging it to be sufficiently innovative.

SSEN, meanwhile, was awarded £9.7mn for its RaaS project, an alternative to more polluting standby diesel generators in the remote parts of its SHEPD distribution network. It will now collaborate with Costain and E.ON on a four-year trial. Stewart Reid, Head of Future Networks at SSEN, explained that the project would allow SSEN to “accelerate and de-risk” the use of services that provide resilience. This will include enabling infrastructure, data exchanges and commercial arrangements, leading to a reduction in uncertainty for both customers and industry.

The projects that were rejected were done so based on concerns from Ofgem of the robustness of their methodologies and implementation, as well as uncertainty relating to the practical use cases for the technology being brought forward and doubts over the “enduring benefit” to networks.