Canada, UK team up on smart energy system challenge

Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi and the U.K.'s Minister of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Chris Skidmore, announced the seven finalist teams June 20 of the Canada-U.K. Power Forward Challenge. A total of C$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 Gowlings 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 ICONIC Electric and Controls, 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 Forward 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 Challenge, Power Forward Challenge, Crush It! Challenge, The Sky's the Limit Challenge, Indigenous Off-diesel Initiative and the upcoming battery challenge.

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