In order to maintain, utilise and develop distribution networks and transmission grids to future needs, research and development (R&D) projects play an important role.

NVE wants to stimulate increased participation in R&D activities to support a more efficient operation and utilisation of the electricity network. To achieve this, NVE has designed a scheme where distribution companies receive full financial coverage for up to 0,3% of their regulatory asset base for R&D projects that meet certain criteria.

Only projects that are relevant for the distribution or transmission of electricity may participate in the scheme. Furthermore, such projects must be found worthy of support by a relevant institution that provides grants to R&D projects. The Norwegian Research Council approves most projects that are part of the scheme. However, NVE also accepts projects that have been reviewed by others. NVE requires that results from the projects are publicised.

Finally, participants must follow general accounting principles. As of June 2016, NVE has approved 54 projects in the scheme.