IESO Grid Innovation Fund

Independent Electricity System Operator

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Anticipated deadline: Apr 30, 2021

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

Fields of work: Energy Efficiency & Conservation

Applicant type: Government Entity, Nonprofit, For-Profit Business

Funding uses: Project / Program, Research

Location of project: Canada

Location of residency: Canada

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Grid Innovation Fund

The Grid Innovation Fund supports innovation with the potential to achieve significant electricity bill savings for Ontario ratepayers – either by enabling greater competition in Ontario’s electricity markets or by helping customers better manage their energy consumption.

Grid Innovation Overview

The Grid Innovation Fund advances innovative opportunities to achieve electricity bill savings for Ontario ratepayers by funding projects that either enable customers to better manage their energy consumption or that reduce the costs associated with maintaining reliable operation of the province’s grid. The Fund makes investments in specific projects – not companies – with clear objectives. It supports projects that validate the performance and business case of promising new technologies, practices, and services. The Fund also supports projects that identify and mitigate market barriers, or otherwise accelerate the adoption of competitive cost-effective energy solutions.

Since 2005, the Grid Innovation Fund (and its predecessor funds the Technology Development Fund and Conservation Fund) has provided financial support for more than 200 innovative energy projects across the province.

The Grid Innovation Fund invests in projects through two types of calls. First, the Fund periodically issues targeted calls for projects addressing a specific challenge or opportunity identified by the IESO. Second, at least once a year, the Fund accepts applications through open calls to capture the most promising ideas from the market. 

The Grid Innovation Fund invests in projects no more than three years in length, and funds up to a specified percentage of project costs, depending on project type. 

Call for Proposals 2019: Indoor Agricultural Call

With more than 1,300 MW of greenhouse load seeking to connect in Ontario by 2025, the province’s electrical infrastructure is being challenged to meet significant increases in the demand for power. Through its Grid Innovation Fund, the IESO is issuing a call for novel projects focused on reducing electricity demand from indoor agriculture during local and bulk system peak periods. The IESO will accept proposals from November 18, 2019 – February 14, 2020 and award up to $2.5 million for approved projects. Special consideration will be made for projects located in areas with identified or anticipated electricity infrastructure challenges related to indoor agriculture expansion.

At a high level, this target call aims to:

  • Accelerate the adoption of cost-effective demand-side solutions by greenhouse growers
  • Demonstrate the efficacy of demand-side options to address local transmission and distribution infrastructure capacity need(s)
  • Explore unknowns in the operationalization of demand-side options and the impact on greenhouse productivity

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


  • Both non-profit and for-profit incorporated entities can apply for funding, including:
    • Local hydro companies
    • Technology companies
    • Consulting firms
    • Industry associations
    • Educational institutions
    • Public sector organizations
  • Eligible expenses:
    • 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


  • Projects relating to the research, development and demonstration of transmission, distribution, and electricity generation (e.g. solar, wind, waterpower, and fossil fuels) are not eligible for funding, with the exception of waste energy recovery projects.
  • The Conservation Fund does not provide funding to individuals, including incorporated individuals and sole proprietorships.
  • 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

This page was last reviewed August 06, 2020 and last updated August 04, 2020