Impact Canada Cleantech Challenge – Canada-UK Power Forward Challenge
With the continued addition of new distributed energy resources (DERs) such as electric vehicles, renewables, batteries, and smart devices, the demands placed on our electricity grids are becoming increasingly complex, and innovation is key to develop, maintain, and maximize the potential of clean, flexible, and reliable electricity grids and energy systems.
That is why the Power Forward Challenge brought together consortia of Canadian and UK companies to develop innovative smart grid technology solutions that can help aggregate and manage large groups of DERs, support their integration to the grid, and enable the provision of clean, flexible, and reliable electricity for 2030 and beyond.
The Power Forward Challenge was a prize competition jointly launched by Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) and the UK Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) under the Canada-UK Partnership on Clean Growth and Climate Change and Mission Innovation. In addition to accelerating the development and adoption of smart grid technology solutions in Canada and the UK, the Challenge also gave Canadian and UK companies the chance to gain international exposure and explore new business and partnership opportunities through consortium building.
The Challenge provided innovators with financial opportunities at different stages of the competition, including seed funding to build capacity and allow SME participation, project funding to help selected finalists deliver a pilot-scale demonstration of their high-impact solution in either Canada or the UK, and a grand prize to further support the winner and their promising solution.
- Launch – October 2018
- SME Financial Support – In January 2019, NRCan and UK BEIS awarded seed funding to a select group of promising small and medium-sized enterprises to help develop their consortium team and proposal for the Challenge. 10 Canadian SMEs selected from 70 submissions each received $100k.
- Finalists Selection and Funding – In June 2019, 7 finalist teams (3 Canada-led; 4 UK-led) were selected among 14 semi-finalists who all pitched their solution to a panel of expert judges. 44 project proposals had originally been received. Each finalist team received up to $3.15M to develop a pilot-scale demonstration of their solution in either Canada or the UK over 26 months.
- In March 2022, Equilibrium Engineering was awarded the $1M Grand Prize at the Globe Conference in Vancouver for their Alba Nova project. It was selected among the 7 finalists by a new panel of expert judges, which considered the design, delivery, and outcomes of projects as well as the scale-up potential and commercialization plans for the demonstrated solutions.
- MaRS Discovery District
Finalists & Projects
Equilibrium Engineering (Canada) – Challenge Winner
with StorTera, Dalhousie University, and Berwick Electric Commission
Project Alba Nova (funded by NRCan) – Intelligent energy storage systems that can increase the market uptake of renewable energy, turn customer sites from cost centers into revenue generating assets, and provide value to the utility grid operator. Learn more about the Project Alba Nova.
London Hydro (Canada)
with Electron, ENMAX, University of Western Ontario, Guidehouse, Gowling WLG
Project London 2 London (funded by NRCan) – An open data platform and an energy trading marketplace to incentivize customers with distributed energy resources (e.g., EVs, solar) to participate in grid management. Learn more about the Project London 2 London.
Q Energy (UK)
with ICONICS Canada, Energy Systems Catapult, Bruntwood, Manchester Metropolitan University, Hildebrand, Penso Power, Dunsky Energy Consulting
Project Energy-IQ (funded by UK BEIS) – Smart energy services for small non-domestic buildings (e.g., peak power reduction) that leverage load flexibility, renewables, and battery storage. Learn more about the Project Energy-IQ.
Scene Connect (UK)
with Enbala, Locogen, Mentone Energy Consultancy
Project Cloud ZUoS (funded by UK BEIS) – An energy services platform for households and businesses to better match demand with renewable generation in local communities and provide optimal grid and electricity costs. Learn more about the Project Cloud ZUoS.
Scottish & Southern Electricity Networks (UK)
with Opus One Solutions, Hydro Ottawa, Open Grid Systems, University of Cambridge EPRG
Project Merlin (funded by UK BEIS) – Software tools conducting both system optimization and cost-benefit analyses to help system planners make decisions for grid reinforcement and flexibility. Learn more about the Project Merlin.
with Integrated Environmental Solutions, Boost Energy Ventures, Utilismart, Energy Systems Catapult, Skanska, UCL Energy Institute, Sheffield University
Project Energy Open Piazza (funded by UK BEIS) – Digital platform for real-estate operators to analyse building energy consumption and help them deploy clean, efficient solutions for their built environment. Learn more about the Project Energy Open Piazza.
- Power Forward Challenge
- Video: Power Forward Challenge
- Canada Announces Grand Prize Winners of Impact Canada Challenges
Since 2017, Natural Resources Canada has invested $75 million in six clean technology challenges under the Impact Canada Initiative: Power Forward, The Sky’s the Limit, Charging the Future, Indigenous Off-diesel Initiative, Women in Cleantech and Crush It!.
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