Posted: 17 December 2014
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A year of innovation
A year of innovation

National Grid invested almost £15m in innovation projects in the past financial year. An Annual Summary has been released which reveals the company’s commitment to a brighter tomorrow.

An artist’s impression of the T-pylon test line at National Grid’s Training Academy at Eakring, Nottinghamshire. This is just one example of a project that will benefit from investment.

National Grid invested £14.86m in innovation projects and NIC bids across the three regulated business areas in 2014.

It’s been a pivotal year for innovation at National Grid, with its combined regulated businesses investing £14.86m across a broad and exciting portfolio of game-changing projects.

From T-pylons to robots that reduce the need for disruptive road excavations, the business has been busy embedding innovation in everything it does.

The full story of the year in innovation is told in the Network Innovation Allowance (NIA) Annual Summary, where each regulated area of the business – Electricity Transmission, Gas Transmission and Gas Distribution – summarises its strategy and progress.

The 2013/14 Annual Summary was the first of its kind since National Grid’s funding mechanism changed. It moved from the Innovation Funding Incentive (IFI) to the NIA – as mentioned above – and the Network Innovation Competition (NIC). In a year of change, a new RIIO-T1 8-Year Price Control was also introduced, which offers network companies real incentives for driving innovation.

With this funding and regulatory backdrop, National Grid is committed to sharing its learnings with customers. The Annual Summary is one way it does that and its findings shine a positive light on the business’s dedication to innovation. Among the findings were:

  • National Grid managed a combined innovation portfolio of nearly 200 projects.
  • NG invested £14.86m in innovation projects and NIC bids across the three regulated business areas.
  • NG collaborated with 144 partners and suppliers.

Among the year’s big successes in Electricity Transmission were:

  • Developing the ability to remove and recycle decommissioned oil filled cables from the ground efficiently; and
  • Working with research partners to improve the way we predict the output of wind turbines as part of our ongoing drive to reduce the cost to consumers of balancing electricity supply and demand.

Meanwhile, Gas Transmission worked with numerous partners in areas such as investigating alternative materials and green and renewable energy solutions, while Gas Distribution secured £2m of NIC funding for a three-year BioSNG Demonstration Plant which aims to increase the UK’s potential supply of renewable gas.

Building strong relationships with partners internally and externally allows National Grid to act quickly in the development of fresh ideas and to run its portfolio efficiently and effectively. The business is determined to continue to work with external partners, identify new research areas and harness internal capabilities to create efficient and sustainable solutions that deliver world-class safety and reliability.

To find out more:

It’s easy to find out more about the ground-breaking projects under way at National Grid. To see how it showcased many of its pioneering projects at the Low Carbon Network and Innovation Conference, go to

You can also find the latest news on the website and new blog

All the Annual Summaries are available at

Gas innovation in full flow