On April 27, the Government of Ontario announced the launch of a $50 million Smart Grid Fund. The new fund will provide financial support to Ontario-based projects that are testing, demonstrating and commercializing the next generation of smart grid solutions and building market competitiveness in the province.
Funding will be offered to two categories of projects:
1) Capacity Building Projects
Funding will help eligible organizations to acquire and operationalize assets for developing and producing smart grid solutions, enhancing Ontario's capacity to manufacture smart grid products. These assets will support product engineering, prototyping, development, demonstration, testing and commercialization, but not early-stage research; and
2) Demonstration Projects
Working with electricity utilities (Local Distribution Companies, transmitter(s), or grid operator(s)), demonstration projects will advance the development and design of pilotscale prototypes, facilitate identification of risks, opportunities and costs associated with integrating the technology with the existing Ontario electricity system, as well as identification of risks, opportunities and costs associated with adapting to the smart grid as it develops and be scalable to align with Ontario policy goals.
The Smart Grid Fund will be run as a discretionary, non-entitlement program pursuant to which funding will be awarded on a competitive basis. The program has a two-step application process. First, applicants must submit an overview of their project, including certain prescribed details. If the Ministry of Energy believes the project has promise, applicants will be invited to submit a detailed business case. Business cases will undergo three levels of review: (1) a policy review by Government staff; (2) a financial review by external experts; and, (3) a technical review by external experts. Business cases will be evaluated for their technical merit and ability to advance the smart grid in the near term, their ability to create economic development opportunities including jobs in Ontario, and their relevance to Ontario's policy goals and objectives. The lead applicant's organization will also be assessed for financial and managerial competency.