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Our commitment to innovation allows us to run, build, and maintain our network more efficiently and effectively, delivering benefits to consumers and shareholders alike. 

Why innovation is so important

Decarbonisation, decentralisation and digitalisation are transforming our energy landscape. Against this backdrop of unprecedented change in our industry, innovation has never been so important.

Innovating new technologies, processes and solutions for our transmission network are crucial to meeting the future needs of our stakeholders and making possible the energy systems of tomorrow.

Industry leaders in innovation

Through our passion for innovation and determination to deliver for our stakeholders, National Grid Electricity Transmission is leading the way in fostering new technologies and applying them to the network.

We’re driving open innovation across the industry, by developing initiatives that create the right environment to foster that innovation. An environment that encourages curiosity, is open-minded, unafraid of failure, and agile enough to match the pace of our changing energy landscape.

Working together to deliver the future 

Our work is driven by stakeholder feedback, future technological developments and business objectives. We’re constantly seeking new people and organisations who are willing to learn about our industry and help us develop our network for the future.

Our innovation focuses on four main areas of our business:
  • managing assets: developing ways to manage new and ageing assets more effectively to extend their operational lives
  • service delivery: developing stakeholder and customer focused capabilities through exploiting existing assets and developing new service-based business propositions
  • efficient build: developing techniques, ways of working or procurement strategies to build new assets faster and at lower capital and whole life costs
  • corporate responsibility: doing the right thing, including social responsibility, safety and sustainability, in all new developments.
Innovation funding mechanisms

As part of the RIIO-T1 price control, there are two funding mechanisms that facilitate innovation across the electricity industry: the Network Innovation Allowance (NIA) and the Network Innovation Competition (NIC). 

We also work together with the rest of the network licensees to deliver the future integrated energy system. We’ve jointly put together our thoughts in the Electricity Network Innovation Strategy which you can download below.

Download Electricity Network Innovation Strategy

Recording studio

Talking Transmission – our innovation podcasts

Our podcasts are a great way to find out more about our innovation ambitions and the technical details behind our proposed solutions.

Episode one featured David Wright, the Director of Electricity Transmission, talking about the role of our network and future energy landscapes.

The current series of podcasts continues to explore how National Grid’s Electricity Transmission business is innovating and bringing in new technologies to support a strong network for the future.

Listen on Spotify

Listen on iTunes

Competitions – your idea could help safeguard the future

We’re constantly looking for brilliant innovators to help us solve the challenges facing the electricity transmission network in England and Wales.

Your idea could help safeguard the world around us for future generations.

We hold two main funding competitions throughout the year, including the Network Innovation Competition (NIC), and the Masters of Innovation Challenge.

Find out more

Stakeholder engagement

Find out how to book dates for face-to-face meetings with our innovation team where you can share your ideas and opinions with us.

Find out more


Find out about our funding competitions including the Network Innovation Competition (NIC) and our Masters of Innovation Challenge.

Find out more

Testing services

Discover the range of testing services we will be offering customers through our Deeside Centre for Innovation (DCI) facility.

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Here you can view a number of our research projects which include cable oil regeneration, overhead lines and SF6 management and alternative gases.

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Testing services – the Deeside Centre for Innovation

Using funding from Ofgem’s annual Electricity Network Innovation Competition (NIC), National Grid is converting an existing 400kV substation into a high voltage innovation centre to help create the future.

The Deeside Centre for Innovation is the first facility in Europe where assets associated with electricity networks can be investigated, tried and tested, prior to being rolled out on live transmission and distribution systems.

To find out more about our range of innovation testing services for customers, please click on the link below.

Find out more