Canada and U.K. Announce Finalists for the Power Forward Challenge

News release

June 20, 2019                                       London, U.K.                             Natural Resources Canada

With increasing demands and new energy sources powering our electricity systems, we need to transform how we make and use energy. This includes modernizing our traditional power grids to be more digitally networked, flexible and resilient. Canada is committed to supporting clean energy technologies that will bring cleaner, renewable energy onto a modernized electricity grid.

Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, the Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, and the U.K.’s Minister of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the Honourable Chris Skidmore, today announced the seven finalist teams of the Canada–U.K. Power Forward Challenge. A total of $9 million (£6 million) is available for finalists in each country. Each finalist team is made up of Canadian and U.K. partners and is eligible to receive up to $3 million (£1.8 million) to start building its smart energy systems solution.

In March 2021, a $1-million grand prize will be awarded to the team with the highest-performing solution.

The finalist teams developing projects in Canada are:

  • London Hydro with Electron, ENMAX, the University of Western Ontario, Navigant and Gowling WLG
  • Lakeland Holding Inc. with Opus One Solutions, Kiwi Power, ATCO, Ryerson University, Georgian College and CHEC Group
  • Equilibrium Engineering with StorTera, Dalhousie University and Berwick Municipal Electric Commission

The finalist teams developing projects in the U.K. are:

  • Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks with Opus One Solutions, Hydro Ottawa, Open Grid Systems, the University of Cambridge and Energy Policy Research Group
  • UNIT9 Ltd. with Simptek Canada Inc., Electronic Products and Technology, Avison Young, UCL Energy Institute, Carbon Smart and the University of Sheffield
  • Qbots Energy with ICONICS, Lanner Electronics, Energy Systems
    Catapult, Bruntwood Ltd., Manchester Metropolitan University, Hildebrand and Penso Power
  • Scene Connect Ltd. with Enbala, Locogen Limited and Mentone Energy Consulting Limited

The finalist teams were announced on June 20, 2019, during the Rushlight Summer Showcase in London, one of the Rushlight series of events that promote the development and deployment of clean technologies and bring together key U.K. and international stakeholders, including solution developers, investors and governments.

Launched in October 2018, Power Forward challenged Canadian and U.K. innovators to join forces and accelerate breakthrough innovations that harness different energy resources for modernized power grids. The seven finalist teams were selected from a group of 44 project proposals received in a highly competitive process. They all pitched their solutions to a panel of expert judges representing grid operators, corporates, investors and governments at two pitch events held in Glasgow in May 2019 and in Ottawa in early June 2019.

Power Foward is one of six cleantech challenges that are part of the Impact Canada Initiative. Challenges were designed to attract a diverse range of problem solvers to generate breakthrough cleantech solutions to some of Canada’s biggest unsolved challenges. NRCan is investing $75 million over four years in the challenges: Women in Cleantech ChallengePower Forward ChallengeCrush It! ChallengeThe Sky’s the Limit ChallengeIndigenous Off-diesel Initiative and the upcoming battery challenge.


“Canada and the United Kingdom are investing in better electricity systems. This work will build cleaner, safer, better-connected grids that will also create well-paying jobs for middle-class Canadians. I want to congratulate the Challenge finalists who are growing the economy and creating a cleaner energy future for us all.” 

Amarjeet Sohi
Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources 

“Innovations like electric vehicles, smart devices and batteries are changing the way we think about our energy grid. The U.K. and Canada are jump-starting our clean energy future by developing global technologies to make the electricity grid smarter and faster. These four projects will help to revolutionise the way we access clean, flexible and reliable energy, channelling the benefits of clean growth as part of our modern Industrial Strategy.”

Chris Skidmore
U.K.’s Minister of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy 

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Vanessa Adams
Press Secretary
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