Innovation in the energy sector is crucial to achieving the UK's net-zero carbon emissions target by 2050. However, it requires significant investment in research and development, testing, and commercialisation. The EIC works closely with the energy industry and innovators to identify funding opportunities that can support the development of new and innovative solutions.
One of the key objectives of The EIC Partnership Innovator Action Plan Delivery Roadmap for 2023 is for the EIC provide Innovators with more access to funding opportunities to support their development. This article aims to provide an overview of the wider funding available to develop innovation in the sector.
The Network Innovation Allowance (NIA) is one of the most accessible funds for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). This fund was introduced by Ofgem as part of the RIIO-1 price controls in 2013. The NIA provides limited funding to the energy networks to finance smaller technical, commercial, or operational projects directly related to the licensee's network that can deliver financial benefits to the licensee and its customers. SMEs can access this fund through one or more energy networks.
The Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF) is introduced as part of RIIO2 price controls to support the national transition to net zero. This fund will support large-scale transformational research and development projects and will be available to gas distribution, gas transmission, electricity transmission and the electricity system operator in the first instance. The exact details of how this fund will be facilitated are still under discussion with Ofgem. Access to this fund will also be made available to electricity distribution in 2023.
Business as usual (BAU) activities are part of the energy networks' price control set by Ofgem. The energy networks will have to find more efficient ways to improve their performance in areas such as asset management, environment, and customer service. Innovation in these areas will be funded directly by the networks or through other applicable sources of funding, such as Innovate UK grants.
UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) is a government body that offers funding opportunities to support innovation in the UK. It provides grants, loans, and other forms of financial support to innovators across a range of sectors, including the energy sector. UKRI's funding opportunities are designed to support early-stage research and development, as well as more advanced projects that require commercialisation.
The Innovator Support Page provides a range of resources and information on alternative funding opportunities that innovators can explore to support their projects. This page regularly updated with information and links to grants, loans and investments that can help Innovators overcome financial barriers.
With the support of the above funding opportunities and resources, innovators and energy companies can work together to develop new and innovative solutions that will help us achieve a brighter and more sustainable future. The EIC's commitment to identifying and promoting these funding opportunities is a critical step in this process, and we look forward to seeing the exciting developments that will come as a result of these collaborations.
If you still have questions surrounding funding opportunities, do not hesitate to contact our team of experts or visit our FAQ page.