History of the Smart Grid Program

Smart Grid Program grants are being offered under a new funding program, with up to $5M per and up to $20M available per demonstration or per deployment projects.

The Government of Canada is promoting investment in green infrastructure to reduce the amount of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in Canada, create jobs, and build a green, clean growth economy. In its 2017 Budget, the government included funding for Smart Grids as part of its plan to modernize energy infrastructure.

Key components of the grant

The Smart Grid Demonstration and Deployment Program is designed to speed up the development of Smart Grids in Canada by supporting next generation smart grid storage and clean electricity technology demonstration and deployment projects.

A demonstration project may be set up on a trial basis to prove that an innovative technology or concept works, using prototypes that can be demonstrated in a simulated or operational environment. It should have a Technology Readiness Level (readiness for commercialization) of 5 to 8.

A deployment project is set up on a wide scale and may be permanent. These projects use actual technology that has been qualified through testing, or already proven by having been successfully used in an operational setting. It should have a Technology Readiness Level of 8 to 9.

This will be a four-year program, starting in 2018/2019.

Purpose of the Smart Grid Program

Smart Grid Program projects are expected to:

  • reduce GHG emissions;
  • bring economic and social benefits (jobs, electricity conservation);
  • improve asset utilization and increase efficiency;
  • increase system reliability and resiliency;
  • increase system flexibility and renewable energy penetration; and
  • maintain or enhance cyber-security.

How much funding is available

A total of $100 million in grants is available under the Smart Grid Program. They are allocated as follows:

Program Funding Allocation Component Activity Maximum Funding Per Project % of total eligible project costs
$35 M Smart Grid Demonstration Demonstration Projects $5 M 50%
$65 M Smart Grid Deployment Deployment Projects $20 M 25%


Some of the costs eligible for financial assistance are salaries, professional services, equipment, and reasonable travel costs, all directly related to the project. Overhead must be limited to 15 per cent of total project costs.

Hybrid projects that combine demonstration and deployment purposes will have funding caps applied to the components of the project budget identified for each purpose.

Types of eligible projects

Potential projects can include, but are not limited to, work in the areas of grid monitoring and automation, data management and communication, demand management, Electric Vehicle grid integration, microgrids, energy storage, and Distributed Energy Resource Management (DERM).

Can your company apply for Smart Grid Program grants?

Electricity and gas utilities, electricity system operators, transmissions owners and operators (including Provincial Crown Corporations, agencies, co-operatives, Indigenous and municipally-owned) and local distribution companies can all apply for grants. Both for-profit and non-profit organizations may receive grant money.

The deadline to apply is 23:59 PM EST on Sunday, March 4, 2018.

Final thoughts

This would be an excellent grant for eligible companies to apply for. Funding has been set at $100 M over the next four years. Companies have a great opportunity to develop technology they can own and use for commercial purposes in Canada and around the world. The Smart Grid Program also offers companies a way to strengthen their reputations as socially responsible corporations, as work carried out under this grant will make the world a cleaner and better place.

Ownership of any Intellectual Property (IP) developed using grant money belongs to the grant recipient, unless the project was carried out with support from federal government laboratories (in which case IP ownership will be negotiated on a case-by-case basis) as per standard government policies.

Could your business benefit from funding via the Smart Grid Program? Contact ConnexFund to find out if your project is a suitable candidate for the program.

ConnexFund specializes in grants and funding for innovative companies and start-ups with a focus on technology and manufacturing. Many Canadian businesses are aware that there is some free money available for them. But not so many know where to find it, how to access it and how to prepare a grant application that is successful. And this is exactly what ConnexFund does! Call us at 416-320-8034.