15 April 2024

Accelerating CAPEX delivery: constructing the future grid

Elia Group Open Innovation Challenge 2024

Who is Elia Group?

Elia Group owns two transmission system operators (TSOs): Elia Transmission Belgium (ETB) and 50Hertz in the north and east of Germany. Together, ETB and 50Hertz own and operate their high-voltage grids, ensuring that the production and consumption of electricity are balanced around the clock, and supplying 30 million end users with electricity. We at Elia Group therefore act in the interest of society by providing it with a robust power grid and driving the energy transition: we are working on establishing a reliable, sustainable and affordable energy system. 

What does CAPEX delivery mean?

We are preparing our on- and offshore grid infrastructure so that large volumes of renewable energy sources can be integrated into the system and so that we can support the electrification of society. This requires a large amount of capital expenditure,  or CAPEX: capital that we spend on building, maintaining and improving our assets. 

Our grid construction projects are large, complex, and take many years to complete. Our Open Innovation Challenge (OIC) 2024 is therefore focused on finding innovative ways to accelerate the delivery of our projects. If you have innovative solutions to help us do this, we want to hear from you!

OIC 2024 

This year’s OIC is focused on four priority areas that fit into the broader theme of grid construction. However, you are still welcome to apply if you have an idea that will accelerate the delivery of our projects, but it doesn’t fit into one of these four categories. 

This year’s four priority areas are: 

  • Planning and design 

    Consistent and transparent planning and monitoring processes are crucial for our large-scale construction projects to succeed, since they span hundreds of kilometres and involve numerous partners. A solid and reliable planning foundation is essential to ensure project success. Documents play a vital role in the success of our projects, since they contain critical information necessary for the construction of our grids and lines and their reliability. Among others, we are therefore keen to hear from people who have ideas for 

    • Defining which projects need to be launched, and which can be avoided
    • Public Acceptance.
    • Processing complex technical requirements.
    • Matching the work package structure to the asset structure and cost breakdown structure flexibly and dynamically.
    • Resource demand and technical project forecasting.
  • Project management 

    Elia Group’s project and IT teams already work with industry-standard tools used for managing large, complex projects. We are particularly interested in tools that would help us with the following:

    • Collaboration and coordination tools which allow everyone working on a project to communicate efficiently with each other, and also ways of linking different specialist tools together.
    • Tools which help to standardise all aspects of a project, including components, methods, permitting procedures, etc. 
    • Platforms that can serve as a single source of truth and that consolidate all the relevant information for managing projects and ensure that nothing is missed out. Solutions for project data flows are included in this. 
    • Document management systems (DMS), automating quality and correctness checking, automated documentation distribution to stakeholders.
    • Dashboarding and data handling.
  • Procurement and supply chains 

    Since transmission capacity is being expanded across the globe, the tightly stretched manufacturing capacity of our suppliers is making it challenging to deliver our projects on time and within budget. We’re keen to find new suppliers to work with and source new materials that could support our grid expansion or maintain our assets. Note that these products and suppliers must adhere to strict and complex requirements for high-voltage equipment. Additionally, any innovative solution that could support a more efficient procurement process or manage risks in purchasing would also help the delivery of the CAPEX. Examples of solutions include, but are not limited to: 

    • Procurement market intelligence. 
    • Purchase order automation. 
    • Supplier management. 
    • Intelligent contracting support. 
    • Track and trace of materials, logistic planning: tracking bulk material orders which can later be allocated to different orders/projects, and are ordered many years in advance.
  • Onsite and offsite execution 

    Onsite and offsite execution includes standardising the methods we adopt, the components we use, and the pre-design and assembly techniques we follow. Each of these are essential for the efficient execution of our projects. 
    We are particularly interested in solving challenges associated with the following specific areas: 

    • Logistics: delivering oversized loads, such as cables, to construction sites. 
    • Geographic information systems (GIS), remote execution monitoring/quality control, onsite workforce management, and steering. 
    • Earthwork - specifically work that employs drilling technology.

Want to find out more?

Contact Ambivation, our scouting partner for this challenge, by sending an email to

Key facts

Who can participate?

Startups as well as established companies with innovative solutions


Registration deadline

31st May 2024


What do I need to apply?

  • Answer a few short questions.
  • Prepare a 3-slide PowerPoint introducing your company, team and how your solution will create value for Elia Group.
  • Optionally, include a 3-minute video introduction.

Challenge Process

  • Round 1: 15 April to 31 May
    Applicants work on and submit their solutions for consideration.
  • Round 2: June to October
    10-15 teams work with Elia Group experts to refine their proposals.
  • Round 3: 6 November (final event in Berlin)
    3-5 finalists take part in the OIC live pitching to Elia Group executives.


€50,000 for a Proof of Concept


Enter the competition

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