Canada and U.K. Launch $20-Million Transatlantic Challenge to Develop the Smart Energy Systems of the Future

News release

October 16, 2018 - Ottawa, Ontario - Natural Resources Canada

Our government is committed to supporting clean energy technologies that will encourage energy efficiency, bring cleaner renewable energy onto a smarter electricity grid, create good middle-class jobs and promote sustainable economic growth and competitiveness.

With increasing demands and new energy sources powering our electricity grids, we need to transform how we make and use energy by modernizing our traditional power grids to be more digitally networked, flexible and resilient.

Today, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, the Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Anita Vandenbeld, Member of Parliament for Ottawa West–Nepean, and Susan Jane le Jeune d’Allegeershecque, U.K. High Commissioner to Canada, launched a 30-month transatlantic competition challenging Canadian and British innovators to create new technology solutions to transform our traditional power grids into smart energy systems with investments of C$20 million.

The Power Forward Challenge responds to the ever-growing need for smart energy systems that can integrate renewable energy and support increasing demands on our electricity grids — driving electric vehicles, relying on smart devices, using energy storage systems — while helping mitigate the effects of unexpected outages caused by weather events or otherwise.

Natural Resources Canada and the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) in the United Kingdom are each putting forward C$10 million for the Challenge.

The Power Forward Challenge will award six teams up to $3 million to demonstrate solutions that can best integrate diverse energy resources into the existing grid in the most flexible, reliable and secure way. The team with the highest-performing technology will be awarded an additional $1 million. Each team must include both Canadian and British innovators.

This initiative will help to link clean technology companies in Canada and the U.K., create new economic opportunities for innovators in both countries and support competitiveness for smart grid technologies to 2030 and beyond.

The Power Forward Challenge is the third of five clean technology challenges under Natural Resources Canada’s Cleantech Impact program, part of Impact Canada. It is part of our government’s commitment to deliver meaningful results for Canadians through measurable economic, environmental and social outcomes. Cleantech Impact will invest $75 million over four years in the five challenges.

Visit the Power Forward Challenge website for more details.


“Technology is affording us an unprecedented opportunity to create a smarter, more resilient energy system. Canada is investing in smart grid technology and working with industry — in Canada and in the United Kingdom — to build cleaner, safer, better-connected electricity systems that will also create well-paying jobs for middle-class Canadians.”

Amarjeet Sohi
Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources

“The UK has led the world in cutting emissions whilst growing our economy — with clean growth driving incredible innovation and creating hundreds of thousands of high-quality jobs. I’m delighted to see how many more initiatives such as the Power Forward Challenge are seizing this multi-billion pound opportunity to energize their communities to tackle the very serious threat of climate change.”

Claire Perry
Minister of State at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, United Kingdom

“The Canada–UK Power Forward Challenge is bold and collaborative. As a partner in this initiative, Hydro Ottawa has the electricity grid expertise and background in renewable generation to help evaluate and accelerate smart grid technology solutions that work in real world environments. Our customers are counting on us to make Ottawa a more connected city, and our goal is to help deliver that for them.”

Bryce Conrad
President and Chief Executive Officer, Hydro Ottawa

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Natural Resources Canada
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Vanessa Adams
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Natural Resources

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