IESO Conservation Fund

Independent Electricity System Operator

Grant amount: Up to C $1,000,000

Deadline: Rolling

Applicant type: Government Entity Nonprofit For-Profit Business College / University

Funding uses: Education / Outreach, Research

Location of project: Canada

Location of residency: Canada

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The Conservation Fund welcomes applications from a wide range of non-profit and for-profit incorporated entities, including local distribution companies (LDCs), technology companies, consulting firms, industry associations, educational institutions, and public sector organizations.

The Conservation Fund only considers applications for projects to develop or pilot innovative conservation programs, practices and technologies.

The fund is focused on transforming the market and stimulating large-scale change, so proposed projects must be designed to deliver specific outcomes.

The Conservation Fund supports innovative electricity conservation projects that:

  • Build marketplace capacity for conservation actions;
  • Test new or unique conservation program elements;
  • Verify the energy savings potential and cost-effectiveness of novel demand-side technologies and processes;
  • Can be scaled-up to achieve significant energy savings in Ontario

Project Categories

Categories of eligible projects are below. Conservation Fund will consider providing support up to a specified maximum percentage of project costs, as indicated. 

Program (maximum $500,000 / 75%)

Project outcome: Testing of a new conservation program or specific program element, resulting in the creation of a new conservation program, a new program element or the revision of an existing conservation program. The project must test the concept in a real-world environment and involve suitable partners. To determine both project impact and eligibility as a conservation initiative, projects must have an evaluation, measurement and verification component.

Tool  (maximum $500,000 / 75%)

Project outcome: Development and assessment of a new energy management tool or approach (e.g., policy, benchmarking solution, mapping technology) to establish feasibility and broader potential.

Training Program (maximum $250,000 / 75%)

Project outcome: Pilot of a targeted training program designed to close a skills gap, with the potential to become a new capability-building initiative. 

Community of Practice (maximum $250,000 / 75%)

Project outcome: Formation of a self-sustaining network designed to facilitate sharing of information and best practices to target groups.

Strategic Research (maximum $100,000 / 100%)

Project outcome: Research study investigating a project or program concept. The outcome of the study must be a business case for implementing the initiative as a pilot project.

Emerging Technology Demonstration  (maximum $500,000 / 75%)

Project outcome: Demonstration, measurement and verification of emerging technologies and processes. The project must test a near-commercial technology in a real-world environment. Projects must have an evaluation, measurement and verification component to determine cost effectiveness, electricity savings potential and eligibility under conservation initiatives.

Emerging Technology Development (maximum $250,000 / 75%)

Project outcome: Development of an emerging technology/process to validate its technical potential and to advance its state of commercial readiness, leading to pre-commercial demonstration

Strategic Opportunities Stream (maximum $1,000,000 / 50%)

Project outcome: Large-scale piloting of strategically important program approaches that cannot be piloted at a smaller scale. Pilot results must have the strong potential to directly influence conservation programming.

Pilot impact must be verified through rigorous project evaluation, measurement and verification. Submissions for this stream are accepted infrequently and only upon consultation with the IESO. The vast majority of projects will fit into the other streams described above.

Conservation Action Categories

In addition to delivering a specific outcome, projects must also directly address one of the following categories of conservation action:

Energy Efficiency: Energy efficiency occurs when customers reduce their electricity consumption but retain a similar level of end-use service. Energy efficiency is the gain realized from using more energy-efficient equipment, processes and buildings.

Demand Response: Demand response occurs when customers reduce their electricity demand at certain times, such as during peak use hours (peak clipping), or shift some of their demand to off-peak hours (peak shifting).

Conservation Behaviour: Conservation behaviour occurs when customers reduce their electricity consumption by scaling back an activity that is powered by electricity.

Load Reduction: Load reduction occurs when instead of using common electric equipment, customers elect to switch away from using electricity to use another fuel source such as geothermal or solar heating or cooling. For example, instead of using an electric hot water heater, a solar hot water heater could be used.

Load displacement: Load displacement is when electricity is generated by an onsite, behind-the-meter project driven by a primary energy source of process waste heat, waste power, waste by-product, or waste gas. Such applications must have a net efficiency benefit to the user and must not be fueled by diesel, coal or any other fuel disallowed by the IESO. Additionally, any project or technology (e.g. solar photovoltaic, wind, waterpower, bioenergy) eligible under the IESO Feed-in Tariff or the IESO Micro Feed-in Tariff program is not considered load displacement.

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.


  • A wide range of non-profit and for-profit incorporated entities, including local distribution companies (LDCs), technology companies, consulting firms, industry associations, educational institutions, and public sector organizations are eligible. 
  • Applicant cash and in-kind contributions must provide a minimum level of guaranteed leverage of IESO funds and in-kind contributions must be auditable.
  • Eligible Expenses: Costs eligible for project support from the Conservation Fund are those directly related to the design, development, demonstration, installation, implementation, testing, measurement and performance verification of the project. The following summarizes eligible expenses for the fund:
    • Project-specific materials, equipment, products and services
    • Salaries and benefits of employees directly involved in the design, selection, purchase and installation of the project (to a maximum of $800/day)
    • Professional, engineering, scientific, technical, management and contracting services, including training
    • Permits and licence fees
    • Funding for marketing, communications and workshops directly related to project activities
    • Costs associated with the monitoring, verification and evaluation of the project’s impacts, including data collection, processing, analysis and management
    • Equipment and products, including diagnostic and testing tools and instruments and associated software
    • Costs associated with providing approved incentives to project participants 


  • Funding is not provided to individuals.
  • Applications relating to the research, development and demonstration of transmission, distribution, and electricity generation technologies (e.g. solar photovoltaic, wind, waterpower, and bioenergy) are not eligible for Conservation Fund support
  • Ineligible Expenses: 
    • Budget deficits
    • Activities completed or costs incurred before the funding is approved or after the project is completed
    • Costs over $50,000 for any single consultant or contractor that has not been selected through a competitive process
    • Costs associated with the purchase of real estate
    • Any overhead costs generated by the lead applicant or third parties, such as operating costs related to general maintenance and repair
    • Hospitality, incidental or food expenses for the project team
    • Hospitality or travel costs not in compliance with the Government of Ontario’s Travel, Meals and Hospitality Expenses Directive
    • Any costs not directly related to the achievement of the project’s objectives as defined in the contribution agreement between the IESO and the applicant