• Network Innovation Allowance (NIA)

  •  NIA web icon
    The Network Innovation Allowance (NIA) is an Ofgem incentive for funding smaller innovation Projects that can deliver benefits to customers.

    In conjunction with the Network Innovation Competition (NIC), the NIA forms part of the replacement for the former Innovation Funding Incentive (IFI) that ran under the previous price control. The focus of innovation under the NIA has expanded to incorporate commercial, technical and operational research and development projects to complement the previous IFI focus on asset management.

    The NIA is a set annual allowance that allows National Grid, and other Network Licensees a funding opportunity of 0.7% of revenue to be spent on innovation projects, 90% of which can be recovered through the incentive mechanism.

    The NIA provides funding for two purposes, to fund projects that meet the criteria detailed below, and to fund the preparation of submissions to the NIC.

    • Eligibility Criteria


      Set 1

      Projects must have a direct impact on the Gas Network and include one of the following:

      •  A specific new piece of equipment
      • A specific novel arrangement or application of existing equipment
      • A specific novel operational practice directly related to the operation of the Licensee's Network
      • A specific novel commercial arrangement


      Set 2

      Projects must also ensure that they offer:

      • Potential to develop new learning
      • Potential to deliver net financial benefits to the customer
      • Without leading to unnecessary duplication
    • Shared Learning 

      Under NIA all project learning must be shared with the UK Network Licensees and other interested parties. As a minimum the following routes to sharing learning are prescribed:

      Project Progress Information
      Annual project progress report published on the publicly available learning portal.

      Annual Conference
      To highlight and share key learning, attended by Network Licensees, Project Partners and other interested parties.

      Annual Report
      Summarises progress of NIA activity, strategy, and significant areas of learning.

       Treatment of Foreground IPR 
      Owned by National Grid to ensure dissemination of knowledge and to protect customers.

    • Key drivers


      Research & Development
      Encouraging operational, technological and commercial innovation in order to provide long term benefit to customers, and to establish a culture of innovation.

      Collaboration & Dissemination
      Working with external partners to solve problems and share new learning.

      Customers & Strategy
      Focusing on new solutions to problems that deliver financial value to customers.

    • Further information


      Ofgem
      To find out more about the Network Innovation Allowance from a regulatory perspective please view the gas and electricity NIA governance documents on Ofgem's website.

      Energy Networks Association (ENA)
      To find out more about current live Network Innovation Allowance projects please visit the ENA Smarter Networks Portal.

      Becoming a National Grid Innovation Partner
      An NIA and NIC Position Paper, outlining the contractual requirements for projects funded by NIA & NIC has been made available on our website for your reference.  

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