Ofgem Round 4: Call for Ideas

The fund aims to deliver net zero at lowest cost to consumers and support innovative businesses to grow and scale.

Opportunity Details

When

Registration Opens

01/05/2024

Registration Closes

05/06/2024

Award

This opportunity is a Call for Ideas and does not guarantee a proposal will be taken forward. There is no funding available for this Call for Ideas. Any adoption and implementation of a solution from these funding opportunities would be subject to a separate, possibly competitive, procurement exercise.

Organisation

Ofgem

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This Call for Ideas forms part of a programme delivered with the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem) in partnership with Innovate UK. This alignment enhances the programme’s ability to contribute to Government’s net zero objectives, while allowing it to remain dynamic, flexible and joined up with Government, industry and consumers.

Ideas submitted to Innovate UK and shared to the Energy Networks, may advance through to develop a project proposal led by an Energy Network. This proposal may be offered the opportunity to seek funding from the Ofgem Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF), which aims to deliver net zero at the lowest cost to consumers and support innovative businesses to grow and scale.

The Ofgem Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF) programme is investing up to £450 million in network innovation over the next five years. SIF responds to industry obstacles and represents a major investment in the pace of innovation in the sector. SIF is funded by energy consumers as part of the RIIO-2 price control.

The vision of the SIF is to:

  • accelerate the UK’s transition to net zero, at lowest cost to consumer
  • make the UK the best place for energy business to grow and scale

This is a four-stage process for innovation to grow and resolve challenges facing the sector:

  1. Challenge Setting
  2. Ideation
  3. Incubation
  4. Acceleration

The ideation phase focuses on enabling the most ambitious and targeted ideas to reach the networks and be pitched as potential solutions for meeting the innovation challenges.

These ideas must align with the innovation challenges which have been developed with industry and key stakeholders through the challenge setting process. The Challenges for this round are:

  • Challenge 1: Faster network development
  • Challenge 2: Greater heat flexibility
  • Challenge 3: Embedding resilience
  • Challenge 4: Accelerating towards net zero energy networks

This Call for Ideas is to identify potential solutions to these challenges which may develop into projects funded by the Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF) Round 4. Innovators have the opportunity to submit project ideas which are reviewed in a quick, easy and transparent manner.

As part of the review process, you may be invited to pitch your idea to the Energy Networks. Following pitching, the Energy Networks will choose relevant ideas to further development and innovators to potentially partner with on a SIF application.

  • This Call for Ideas is open to sole innovators and to organisations of all types and sizes. This includes UK registered businesses of any size, research organisations, and research and technology organisations.

    To secure future funding from SIF, you will be required to partner with an Energy Network who will lead an application into one of the SIF challenge competitions.

  • Your submitted proposal must:

    • intend to carry out its project work in Great Britain (England, Scotland or Wales)
    • intend to exploit the results from or in Great Britain
    • outline network customer benefits
    • include a unique selling proposition
    • detail the Networks you wish to be involved with
    • highlight which Round 4 challenge and theme your idea addresses

    There is no funding offered at this Call for Ideas phase.

    The future funded opportunities for SIF Round 4 have different phases:

    1. Discovery Phase: projects must last up to three months and have a total requested funding of no more than £150,000, exclusive of VAT.
    2. Alpha Phase: projects must last up to six months and have a total requested funding of no more than £500,000, exclusive of VAT.
    3. Beta Phase: projects must last up to five years and have a total requested funding of no more than £10 million, exclusive of VAT, total costs and funding requests of more than this may be considered on a case by case basis.

    A minimum of 10% compulsory contribution is also expected at each stage.

  • The Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF) aims to deliver net zero at lowest cost to consumers and support innovative businesses to grow and scale.

    This includes decarbonising gas and electric energy distribution, transmission networks and benefit to the consumer. Your SIF project must help shape the future of the gas and electricity networks and succeed commercially where possible.

    SIF funded projects must aim to reduce costs for consumers and carbon emissions, while improving access to revenues and markets. This will also incentivise the creation of new products, processes and services, linking into the themes for each challenge.

    The Challenges for SIF Round 4 are:

    • Challenge 1: Faster network development
    • Challenge 2: Greater heat flexibility
    • Challenge 3: Embedding resilience
    • Challenge 4: Accelerating towards net zero energy networks

    This Call for Ideas is open to proposals for any social, regulatory, market, legal or technical innovation that aligns with the challenges and related themes identified and is within the remit of the Energy Networks. Your proposal can be related to a product, process or service.

  • Within each challenge there are specific themes. Your proposal must meet one of these themes for your selected challenge.

    Challenge 1 themes:

    • novel methods to increase capacity from existing assets or support faster and efficient connection methods including using digital innovations
    • regional balancing approaches to accelerate low carbon technology deployment

    Challenge 2 themes:

    • flexibility solutions to reduce peak demand from heat decarbonisation

    Challenge 3 themes:

    • cross vector approaches to decarbonise rural communities in a resilient manner
    • transition planning for an energy system with reducing natural gas demand

    Challenge 4 themes:

    • innovation to improve efficiency of network operations
  • A Microsoft Teams briefing event will be held on Friday 3 May 2024 at 11am: click here for the joining link. Briefing slides will be available upon request from SIF_Ofgem@iuk.ukri.org.

    Innovate UK Business Connect’s Energy team are also happy to hear from potential applicants.

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