The RICA (Retro-Insulated Cross-Arms) network innovation competition research project aims to develop an innovative method for uprating overhead lines, allowing the voltage on 275kV overhead lines to be increased to 400kV.

This potentially paves the way for uprating 400kV lines to 550kV in the future.

Latest news

National Grid RICA

£9.2m Electricity research project to save 39,000 tonnes of C02 gets go-ahead

National Grid Electricity Transmission (NGET) has been successful in securing £8.12m of funding from Ofgem’s Network Innovation Competition (NIC) to research the uprating of overhead lines, with the remainder being funded by National Grid.

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RICA aligns with electricity consumer priorities outlined in our RIIO-2 business plan:

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A sustainable energy system

  • Enabling low-carbon generation and reducing losses

  • Improved visual amenity and lower customer impact 

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Energy as and when it's needed

  • Increased capacity at key transmission boundaries

  • Improved grid resilience and operability

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An affordable energy bill

  • Lower constraint costs with capacity delivered earlier

  • Reduced consenting costs compared to new build


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Project overview

The voltage uprate from 275kV to 400kV could provide an additional 45% power transfer capacity alone while also reducing transmission losses. support significant reductions in UK CO2 emissions – 96,000 tonnes.

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Objectives and deliverables

The main aim of the project to provide a pathway for the GB’s first full-scale implementation of RICA technology.