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Ontario's Grid Innovation Fund Seeks to Improve Energy Use

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Julian Jackson is a writer whose interests encompass business and technology, cryptocurrencies, energy and the environment, as well as photography and film. His portfolio is here:...

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Since 2005 the Canadian Grid Innovation Fund has provided financial support for more than 200 innovative energy projects across the province of Ontario. The fund looks for specific projects which will help customers manage their energy consumption better or reduce costs. In its annual funding round (ongoing at the moment) it identifies promising new technologies, practices, and services, where it partners with local organizations to deliver innovation at end-user level.

The fund, run by Ontario's Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO), invests in projects through two types of open awards. First, the fund periodically issues targeted calls for projects addressing a specific challenge or opportunity identified by the IESO. Second, at least once a year, the Fund accepts applications through open calls to capture the most promising ideas from the market.

Recent projects have included:

A DER network to power greenhouses. Using University of Windsor, Ontario’s extensive greenhouse grower network the $130,000 project is to determine the best solution for onsite capacity building applicable to a network of greenhouses. The University is pioneering various projects to enhance agriculture by using off-grid energy and DERs together.

Essex Powerlines created a DER and EV visibility tool. This project aims to apply a detection algorithm that automatically identifies EV charger loads and enables clear visibility to EVs and DERs. The algorithm leverages the company's existing software called SmartMAP, a geospatial load analysis tool that combines data from smart meters, wholesale meter points, and other sensors spread across its distribution system. This analysis will allow for better understanding of the impact DERs have on distribution system assets, lead to reduced costs for ratepayers, and assist in promoting customer trends in electrification.

The fund has supported a great many local projects to enhance environmental energy use across various sectors. Its latest funding round is progressing at the moment, with a Targeted Call for Proposals. Contact them at  gridinnovationfund@ieso.ca

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