Britain's energy mix is changing and the way our gas networks operate needs to change too. Ofgem provide essential backing to innovative projects which aim to help make the energy networks smarter, accelerate the development of a low carbon energy sector as well as deliver financial benefits to consumers. The projects help develop crucial knowledge and expertise which is being shared across the industry.
ENA Gas Innovation Governance Group
The gas distribution and transmission network companies work together through the Gas Innovation Governance Group (GIGG) to explore what technological, operational and commercial projects are most suitable for the future needs of the gas networks. The representatives from each of the five networks meet each month to consider challenges that require innovative solutions, share learning and develop robust processes for collaboration.
The GIGG produces a quarterly newsletter to highlight their activities and to provide details of recently initiated NIA Projects. The most recent issue can be found here.
Gas Network Innovation Strategy
In March 2018, the GB gas transmission and distribution networks published their first joint Gas Network Innovation Strategy. This was coordinated by ENA/GIGG. You can find the strategy documents and more details here.
Gas Network Innovation Allowance
In addition to the NIC, as part of the RIIO GD1 price control Ofgem have introduced the Network Innovation Allowance (NIA). The NIA is a set allowance RIIO network licensees receive as part of their price control allowance.
The NIA provides limited funding to RIIO network licensees to use for two purposes:
- To fund smaller technical, commercial, or operational projects directly related to the licensees network that have the potential to deliver financial benefits to the licensee and its customers; and/or
- To fund the preparation of submissions to the Network Innovation Competition (NIC), which meet the criteria, set out in the NIC Governance Document.
To access detailed information on the Gas NIA, please see Gas Network Innovation Allowance on Ofgem’s Website
To access details on the Gas NIA Projects registered, please see ENA’s Smarter Networks Portal
Gas Network Innovation Problem Statements
Please click here for 'problem statements' applicable across the gas transmission and distribution networks in the UK. These were last published in 2017, and have now been incorporated in the Gas Network Innovation Strategy.
Tender: Assessing the Joint Decarbonisation Pathway
ENA has recently tendered for a project on “Assessing the Joint Decarbonisation Pathway”.
The Tender Pack is made up of the following documents:
Submissions are now closed and we are reviewing responses.
If you have any questions, please email these to [email protected].
Updates and answers to questions
- 21 November - Invitation to Tender updated to clarify submission deadlines
- Is the “independent academic analysis” to review the high level pathway or to provide an independent review of our more detailed work? How do you define independent in this regard?
- Independent academic review is required for work on the impact of the individual steps, and other analysis of each stage, but not necessarily for the pathways as a whole. The academic(s) should be independent of the vendor and the gas networks, and have relevant expertise.
- Has ENA considered procuring the academic review separately from the main piece of work?
- Part of the project is managing the academic review, so we expect this to be part of the bid.
- Regarding timelines, when are you expecting the project to be completed by?
- We consider this to be around a five month project, but would like the bidder to suggest timelines. This should include items which the bidder expects to be able to deliver at earlier stages during the project.
- You mention delivery to milestones, however I don’t see specific note of delivery timing in the tender.
- Milestones will be agreed at the commencement of the project. It would be useful for vendors to propose milestones, including potential areas or analysis which could be delivered at these stages.
- Can you please say more about the specific intended use of the report? We understand the context for RIIO-2 and the wider future of gas implications, however it would be good to know about your objectives and intent.
- The report and analysis underpin a range of work around the future of the gas network. It should contribute to increased understanding of the potential for decarbonised gas to contribute to interim carbon budgets as well as longer term targets, and support policy and regulatory decisions. It should set out a clear plan for the further work the networks need to undertake to develop the steps in the pathways.
- "The awarded vendor will have and will maintain a quality management system independently certificated to BS EN ISO 9001 or demonstrated as equivalent;" we have a quality management process, but not an ISO 9001 certification - how can we demonstrate our compliance here?
- You’ll just need to provide detailed overview of whatever governance protocol you use for quality management.
- We assume that the networks will be carrying out a lot of planning on the low-carbon transition for the RIIO 2 period to feed into their business plans. Will any of their materials be available to inform this piece of work?
- The networks expect to work closely with the winning bidder, and it would be helpful if bids specified the information they expect to request from network operators. This will then be discussed.
- On Stakeholder Engagement: is it your expectation that we engage with gas networks’ stakeholders on an ongoing basis with our emerging findings? To what extent should we incorporate any challenge from, for e.g., Consumer Engagement Groups?
- As set out in the tender we expect stakeholder engagement in general to be a major part of the project. We do not expect an explicit challenge from Consumer Engagement Groups on this project, but clearly the successful bidder will need to be mindful of any emerging issues from government, the regulator and other stakeholders throughout the project.
- In analysing the scale of carbon reductions at each stage of the pathway, are you expecting us to develop a series of scenarios to capture potential uncertainties in deployment of particular technologies?
- We expect the project to use existing scenarios as far as possible.
- The favourable outcome is decarbonisation of the gas network - is ENA looking to articulate other outcomes e.g. better quality, lower leaking and safer pipework, lower fuel bills, greater consumer choice in heat and power appliances?
- Yes, wider benefits should be articulated alongside decarbonisation.
- What are the parameters for deliverability – financial, political, supply chain, skills…. or should these be developed as part of the project?
- Parameters for deliverability should be developed; the outcomes from this project should be designed to help policy makers.
- On the issue of decision points along the pathway, what does ENA consider these to be, for example or in general?
- Given the complexity of the policy and regulatory environment there are a range of possible decision points. Some are fairly foreseeable (e.g. price controls) and others are uncertain (e.g. policy decisions on heat decarbonisation).
- Do all key enabling steps need to be mapped out i.e. policy support, regulatory development, physical interventions or is there an existing framework
- Enabling steps should be clearly set out in the project, effectively providing a decision support tool for policy makers.
- Will all supporting evidence/studies cited in the flowchart be provided?
- We can provide our basis for evidence or steps in the pathways flowchart on request.
- Re volume of renewable gas in the network gas – how granular will the roll-out of the pathway be in terms of new H2 / biogas production facilities coming on line? At present we only know current/historic data and a 100% target in 2050.
- While this is for the project to define, we expect that there will be granular information about near term steps on the pathways, and more divergence in the future.
- Re key changes to networks and operation – again the parameters required would be good to know: physical, procedural, primary, and secondary.
- The proposal should set out the parameters, but we would expect those mentioned alongside regulatory changes.
- Re carbon emission reductions – will this be benchmarked against ENA members own data or UK aggregated data (National Atmospheric Emissions Inventory)?
- Emissions reduction should be benchmarked against UK data.
- We are planning to respond in Powerpoint to make our proposal easy to disseminate as compared to a long document. Given the alternative format, would we be able to exceed the 10 page limit?
- It’s fine to use more than 10 slides, we just ask that you keep roughly the same content/word count as what you’d have in a 10 page Word document.