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GrowthPlanner: Monitoring the Impact of Planning on Electricity Networks

Connected Places Catapult is seeking partners to form a consortium to bid into a project for the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund. The title of this funding competition is ‘Key Technology Components for Local Energy Systems

The ‘Key Technology Components for Local Energy Systems’ funding competition seeks projects that

Summary of opportunity

Of the competition themes, Connected Places Catapult is most interested in applications for monitoring electricity and/or gas network hardware and software.

Connected Places Catapult have previously developed a user experience prototype of a spatial data platform that uses infrastructure data (from water and electricity utility companies) to visualise current network capacity spatially and combines it with planning data to forecast how this will reduce over time. This cloud hosted application was designed for the support planning teams and utility companies to make strategic decisions on capacity, connectivity and constraints of proposed site development over time. We would like to explore ways of taking this to market. You can find more information here: GrowthPlanner.

The competition funding criteria requires that applications are led by a “business of any size”.  As CPC is classified as a ‘Research and Technology Organisation’ we are seeking a (single) business partner to work with to collaboratively develop a market-ready version of GrowthPlanner.

Funding competition criteria that should be noted by potential collaborators includes:

  • Application Submission Deadline – Wednesday 9 October 2019 12:00pm
  • Your project’s total eligible costs must be between £100,000 and £500,000
  • Innovate UK recompense a proportion of eligible costs (meaning collaborator will need match funding available) –
    • up to 70% if you are a micro or small business
    • up to 60% if you are a medium-sized business
    • up to 50% if you are a large business
  • Connected Places Catapult are limited to 30% of the overall project costs. Our current assumptions are that we will focus our activities on project management, validation of the GrowthPlanner Rating methodology and local planning authority engagement.

Bid concept

Connected Places Catapult is looking for a business lead who will be able to develop a commercial application of GrowthPlanner for deployment in the market.

Ideally the partner will, in collaboration with Connected Places Catapult:

  • Test, validate and refine the ‘rating methodology’ (this is the IP that takes electricity network data, turns it into a spatial expression of capacity and uses planning data to model it forward).
  • Test, validate and refine the software architecture of GrowthPlanner
  • Test, validate and refine the user interface of GrowthPlanner, including developing a new ‘back end’ system for the input (ideally automated) of electricity network capacity and planning data.
  • Explore synergies with other existing or emerging tools, such as the Energy Systems Catapult ‘Energy Pathways Network’ tool.
  • Engage with relevant agencies (such as the Centre for Protection for National Infrastructure) to ensure all cyber security elements are considered and resolved.
  • Develop market analysis and a business model for exploitation of a market version of the GrowthPlanner product.
  • Engage with energy network staekeholders (electricity system operators and distribution system operators) to refine the software architecture and define the business model.
  • Engage with Local Planning Authorities to validate the rating methodology and business model.

Collaborator capabilities

We are seeking a collaborator with the following experience and capabilities –

  • Utility network engineering – understanding of electricity substation capacity and relationship with development.
  • Agile Software development – creation of digital products that respond to user needs, including back and front end development, and associated data science.
  • Software marketing and commercialisation – taking software products to market, including sales, management and maintenance.

Intellectual property

Connected Places Catapult owns the IP relating to GrowthPlanner and will enter into a collaborative research agreement with our preferred collaborator that sets out the terms under which it is to be exploited.  We have a preference for a more open source approach which might create the greatest possible impact, but are aware that commercial considerations will apply.

Registering your interest

Connected Places Catapult are currently seeking to partner with organisations that are interested in the bid concept, have the capabilities outlined above and are interested in joining a consortium with the Connected Places Catapult.

Connected Places Catapult are undertaking a formal process of selection for interested organisations. All organisations interested in joining the consortia are requested to register their interest by emailing Nathan Whittaker at with the following:

  • Two examples of recent, previous work which demonstrates the organisation’s capability in providing the services required within this project. Including explanation of the work carried out and the outcome and achievements of the project (Maximum ½ page per example)
  • An explanation of your understanding of and contribution to the bid concept (Maximum ½ page)

Submission of the above information will be considered an expression of your organisation’s interest to join the consortia. All registrations of interest must be submitted by email by September 16th, 2019. The submissions will be reviewed by Connected Places Catapult based on experience, capability and suitability and you will receive a response on the outcome of your submission by no later than September 18th 2019.

Any queries about the bid concept should be addressed to