WPD to open NIC funding to third parties in 2017

Western Power Distribution (WPD) has announced its intention to receive proposals from third parties in order to shape its 2017 application for Network Innovation Competition (NIC) funding.

WPD to open NIC funding to third parties in 2017

The distribution network operator has called for third parties to submit initial proposals for innovation projects which do not duplicate exiting NIC or Network Innovation Allowance schemes.

Proposals should be put forward by hopeful partners by 16 January 2017. Eight successful applicants will be required to attend a face to face interview with WPD on 30 January.

Following these interviews, WPD will select one partner with which to develop a full NIC funding bid for Ofgem.

WPD’s move to improve access and influence for third parties in the application of NIC funding comes just after an Ofgem review of its previous innovation funding regime – the Low Carbon Networks and Innovation Fund.

This review, conducted independently by consultancies Poyry and Ricardo Energy and Environment, suggested that improving third party access to funds could increase the scope and ambition of energy system innovation.

Ofgem is now exploring different ways in which third party access could be increased on a broad scale.

The LCNF review also found that the potential benefits for consumers arising from funded innovation scheme could be as high as £8 billion if successes are universally adopted by network operators. However, the consultants went on to raise concerns about the sustainability of innovation culture in energy networks and suggested that innovation funding should be reduced to encourage greater value for money for consumers.


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