Open call for innovators to work with energy companies in next round of Strategic Innovation Fund projects

Ofgem and Innovate UK have announced four challenge areas for the second round of innovation funding under the Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF). The Strategic Innovation Fund is a five-year programme with up to £450 million available to promote energy network innovation and it is open to companies outside the energy industry.
Chosen in consultation with the energy industry and consumers, the four challenge areas, which focus on transport, heat, data and integration across the whole gas and electricity system, are:
• Supporting a just energy transition – including new ways to identify and support vulnerable customers, and help those who are disadvantaged, fuel poor or off the gas grid to reduce heat and mobility carbon emissions
• Preparing for a net zero power system – including new ways to support low-stability systems, and to use new sources of energy supply and demand to help manage grids
• Improving energy system resilience and robustness – including ways to develop multi-energy systems and make them more resilient, and strengthening energy system robustness so that new infrastructure can be rolled out efficiently
• Accelerating decarbonisation of major energy demands – such as ways to manage and integrate large-scale demands from heat and transport, integrating heat networks for wider energy network management, and improving energy efficiency at all levels in the system.
The fund opens for applications in early September 2022.
The first step is a ‘discovery’ phase, in which innovators working with energy companies can apply for development funding of up to £150,000.
Those projects judged to have the greatest potential will be awarded up to £500,000 to further develop their ideas.
After a second selection process projects will receive funding to carry out large-scale demonstrations.
Matt Hastings, Deputy Director of the Ofgem SIF programme at Innovate UK, said: “We believe we can make the UK the best place in the world to be an energy entrepreneur. The first round of the SIF produced 40 innovation projects across a wide range of themes, showing that the sector is ready to join in this ‘giant leap together’ to decarbonise the energy networks.
“With the next challenge areas now clear we expect that many dynamic new collaborations will form this year, as energy networks get together with other innovators – inside or outside the energy sector – to take part in the SIF.”
Innovators wanting to partner with network companies on projects should attend the public briefing and competition launch webinar on 25 May.

Sign up for the launch webinar on 25 May here

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