An image of a National Grid employee in protective gear working surrounded by machinery

Our Innovation in RIIO-1

RIIO-1 was the price control period that ran from 2013 to 2021.

During this time, we aimed to continuously improve our business through both technical and commercial innovation, to create value for consumers and our other stakeholders. This helped us provide a safe, efficient and reliable network that continues to meet customer requirements and safeguard the environment.

Our Innovation Themes

We aligned our innovation project portfolio to six key themes:

Safety and emergency – seeking out solutions that keep people safe in everything we do
Under this theme we focused on developing new ways to assess the condition of our buried pipework and manage the risks associated with aging assets. Alongside this we looked into innovative solutions to reduce the risk of damage by third parties working on or near our pipelines.

Environment, sustainability and low carbon – reducing our impact on the world around us
Under this theme we focused on identifying and monitoring potential emissions from our network and assets and explored ways that we can significantly reduce the direct emissions that come from our operations.

Strategic – delivering value for our stakeholders by providing a safe and efficient service Under this theme we focused on building strong partnerships with suppliers and research institutions to make sure we’re at the forefront of academic research. We also developed our understanding of the flow characteristics of the gas transmission network and looked at how we can build and utilise mathematical models to effectively manage the network.

Customer and commercial – understanding the needs and priorities of our customers to provide exceptional service
Under this theme we explored how future gas quality could affect industrial and commercial energy users and looked at developing new methods in areas such as network constraint modelling, so we can continue to meet customer demands. Alongside this, we looked at innovative ways to minimise disruption and inconvenience within the communities close to our sites.

Reliability, operability and maintenance – using innovation to keep our network safe, secure and reliable for the future
Under this theme we looked into the least intrusive and most efficient ways to inspect, assess and repair our assets and explored how new materials could transform the way we operate. Alongside this, we looked at ways that newly emerging technologies could provide us with more accurate information to help us manage our network more efficiently in future.


Security – innovating to improve security and minimise threats to our network
Under this theme we made progress using open-source software to protect the systems at our compressor stations and focused on security at our above-ground installations (AGIs), through the development of intruder detection systems.

Our RIIO-1 projects

Gas :
Gas worker walking

Mobile Condensate Tanks

In Gas Transmission Innovation, we carried out a project looking at the use of Mobile Condensate Tanks to more efficiently capture any liquid condensate that may be found in our network. Find out about the project and what the work entailed.

Gas :

3D Laser Scanner

In Gas Transmission Innovation, we looked at the ways 3D laser scanning technology could be used to help improve our pipeline inspections. Find out more about the benefits of using this technology.

Gas :

Business Information Modelling (BIM)

In Gas Transmission Innovation, we explored the use of Business Information Modelling (BIM) to help us improve the way we manage our assets throughout their lifetime. Find out more about the work carried out as part of this project.

Gas :

Composite Pipe Supports

On the National Transmission System (NTS), pipework found at terminals, compressor stations and above ground installations (AGIs) sit in pipe supports traditionally made from steel. In Gas Transmission Innovation, we looked at constructing these supports from other materials, to improve the efficiency of our maintenance activities.

Gas :

Epoxy Grout Investigation

Previously across the National Transmission System (NTS), we used a three-part epoxy grout for pipe repairs. In Gas Transmission Innovation, we launched an Epoxy Grout Investigation project, to explore the possibility of using a higher specification of epoxy grout on our network.

Gas :
FutureGrid gas pipes

Hot Tap Buried Sample Probe

Sample probes are used across our network to collect gas from pressurised pipes. They are typically used as part of the process to analyse the calorific value of a gas sample. In Gas Transmission Innovation, we launched a project to trial an alternative probe design to eliminate the need for working at height or within the confined spaces of the sample pit.

Gas :
Finger touching digital frequency

i40 Remote Connectivity

In Gas Transmission Innovation, we investigated the ways to enable remote connectivity to our assets without increasing the cyber security risk through the i40 remote connectivity project.

Gas :

Open Source SCADA

A supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system is a data-centric system that provides high level control and is installed on every compressor station and terminal. In Gas Transmission Innovation, we developed and trialled our own Open Source software for the SCADA control system. Find out more about the project and the benefits it brings.

Gas :
Gas field workers

Polyethylene (PE) Slab Protection

Third party interference refers to the potential for damage on our network caused by third parties working on or near our pipelines. In Gas Transmission Innovation, we explored the use of Polyethylene (PE) slabs to protect pipelines with lower depth of cover, as an alternative to the traditional concrete slabs used across the network. 

Gas :

Secure AGI

Cyber crime is an unfortunate, expensive and seemingly inevitable part of modern business and home life. In Gas Transmission Innovation, we took steps to protect our customers, our business, and our critical national infrastructure by trialling our own early warning system as part of our Secure AGI project.

Gas :

Selective Catalytic Reduction

The introduction of more stringent environmental legislation, via the Industrial Emissions Directive (IED) meant our gas turbine driven compressors didn’t meet the required standards. In Gas Transmission Innovation, we began a project looking at whether a Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) system could be used to help us meet our emissions obligations.

Gas :

Valve Pits Insulation

Across our network, any pipework located in a covered valve pit is insulated to minimise the noise from our transmission activities. The material used to insulate the pit made maintenance inspections more difficult, so in Gas Transmission Innovation, we launched the Valve Pits Insulation project to find an alternative method of insulating the pipework.