Natural Resources Canada

FAQ

What are the main goals of the Power Forward Challenge?

The Power Forward Challenge seeks to generate technology solutions that can aggregate and manage increasingly large and complex groups of distributed energy resources (e.g., renewables, storage, electric vehicles, micro-grids) to support grid flexibility, stability and reliability. As a bilateral initiative between Canada and the UK, the Challenge seeks to accelerate innovation and create new cleantech market opportunities by bringing together innovators from both countries for a larger impact.

Why should I apply to the Power Forward Challenge?

The Challenge is a unique platform and opportunity to showcase and advance your disruptive ideas, and compare them against the competition. The Challenge provides you with opportunities for financial support at different phases (SME Participation, Pilot-scale Demonstration) as well as a Grand Prize at the end. It is also a unique opportunity to gain international exposure and explore new partnership opportunities through consortium building.

The Power Forward Challenge is a Canada-UK Challenge, who do I apply to and where does my project need to take place?

Projects can take place in either Canada or the UK. Based on this selection, different conditions may apply, see the Challenge Applicant’s Guide for additional details. Regardless of where projects take place, all applications will be evaluated and ranked by both Canada and the UK. All teams should submit their applications through the Impact Canada website: https://impact.canada.ca.

How do I apply?

To apply to the Challenge please visit the Challenge website at https://impact.canada.ca and click on the Submit Your Proposal Now link, where you can access the application process.

If I apply to the Challenge, how will the information I submit be used?

Your privacy is immensely important to us, and we respect the need for confidentiality. Please refer to the Privacy section of the Challenge Applicant’s Guide for additional details. For selection and evaluation purposes, all of the information and documents submitted will viewed by:

  • Our Technical Evaluation Committees consisting of experts from the UK and Canadian Governments, as well as Challenge support staff; and
  • External experts (under strict non-discloser agreement and vetted for conflicts of interest).

Teams have the option of allowing their information to be shared with other Canadian and UK government organizations and not-for-profit organizations for the purpose of identifying supplementary or other sources of funding and support for their projects. By signing and submitting the Consent for Information Sharing form with their applications, teams can allow Natural Resources Canada and the UK Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to share information on their projects with select government and not-for-profit collaborators.

What is the purpose of the Support for SME Participation funding?

The purpose of the Support for SME Participation funding is to help support the capacity of innovative Canadian and UK SMEs with promising project ideas to allocate enough resources and time to develop consortium teams and submit a high-quality project proposal to the Power Forward Challenge.

A limited number of grants of $100,000 each will be awarded to selected SME applicants in Canada. For UK SMEs, a limited number of selected applicants will receive up to £60,000 in financial support.

Do I need to apply to the Support for SME Participation funding to be eligible to compete in the Challenge?

No, submitting applications for SME Participation is an optional component of the Challenge. The March deadline for submission of full proposals for Pilot Scale Demonstration projects will be open to all SME and non-SME led projects.

In the context of a Canada-UK Challenge, am I going to be subject to different conditions if my project is taking place in Canada or the UK?

Teams will have to decide whether their proposed project will be developed in Canada or in the UK. Based on this decision, there will be some instances in which different conditions apply.

  • UK-based projects selected for Phase 2 will be funded by the UK Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy under the terms of the General Block Exemption Regulation governing State Aid (Commission Regulation (EU) No. 651/2014), which came into force on 1st July 2014 – specifically Article 25 (Aid for research and development projects).
  • Canada-based projects selected for Phase 2 will be funded by Natural Resources Canada under the terms and conditions of the Impact Canada Initiative. Agreements will be negotiated between the recipients and Natural Resources Canada.

Please refer to the Challenge Applicant’s Guide for additional details.

If am receiving financing under the Support for SME Participation, do I have the obligation to submit a full proposal?

Yes, accepting the financial support for SMEs is a commitment to submit a full proposal to the Challenge.

What are the evaluation criteria for the Challenge?

The Applicants’ Guide identifies the evaluation criteria that will be used to assess submissions at each phase of the Challenge.

Teams will be selected based on their ability to provide proposals that clearly demonstrate the capabilities of their project to integrate increasingly large and complex groups of distributed energy resources onto the grid, looking ahead to 2030 and beyond. Teams will have to effectively outline the projected positive impact of their projects on the environment, the grid, and the cost to end users, while demonstrating a clear business case and a vision of how they will leverage the Challenge to support additional activities beyond 2021.

Are applicants selected on a rolling basis, or, will project selections only begin once the application deadline has closed?

Applications received under Phase 1 will only be evaluated after the application deadline has closed. Applications will not be reviewed prior to this deadline.

Project evaluation for the final Prize will only start after all the finalist projects are officially closed.

Do I need to be part of a consortium to apply?

Yes, the Power Forward Challenge is a Canada-UK Challenge and focuses the development of consortium solutions to address a range of issues associated with the integration of distributed energy resources with existing grid infrastructure. To be eligible, a project must have a minimum of two partners and must meet a minimum bilateral partnership threshold of 20% of government-funded activity being executed by a company from the Challenge Partner country (UK partner for Canada-based projects and a Canadian partner for UK-based projects).

You will need to identify your project partners or members of your consortium as part of your application. Your consortium should strengthen the capacity of your project solution. This will be assessed as part of the evaluation criteria.

What do I need to know if I want to lead a project in the Partner country?

Lead proponents must be legal entities duly incorporated and validly existing in the country that they propose to execute the project. Lead entities may include:

  • Small and medium-sized enterprises (as defined by the EU for UK projects and by Canada for Canadian projects) for a project lead;
  • Other for-profit and not-for-profit organizations such as companies, utilities, industry associations and research associations;
  • Indigenous organizations and groups; and
  • Canadian/UK post-secondary/academic institutions.

What do I need to know if I want to participate in a project in the Partner country?

If a company wants to participate in a project being delivered in the Challenge Partner country without establishing a presence there, they may be part of a consortium team. Each consortium team can include foreign partners, as long as the sum of their activities are linked to no more than 49% of the publicly-funded components of the proposed project.

I am a foreign company (not from the UK or Canada), can I apply to the Power Forward Challenge?

Non-Canadian or non-UK individuals and entities may be part of a partnership or consortium submitting a proposal as long as the project lead is duly incorporated or registered in Canada and the UK. Each consortium team can include foreign partners, as long as the sum of their activities are linked to no more than 49% of the publicly-funded components of the proposed project.

What can I win at the end of the Power Forward Challenge?

The team that demonstrates the best-in-class solution to aggregate and manage large and complex groups of distributed energy resources to support grid flexibility, stability and reliability will receive a $1 million prize. This decision will be made based on how solutions perform against the evaluation criteria outlined in the Challenge Applicants Guide.

Prior to the selection of the winner, a group of finalist projects in Canada and the UK will be selected. Canadian projects will be eligible to receive up to $3 million each and UK projects will be eligible to receive up to £1.8 million. The selection of recipients of these funds will also be made based on the evaluation criteria outlined in the Challenge Applicants Guide.

If I am selected as one of the finalists under the Power Forward Challenge, what are the conditions to receive up to $3 million/£1.8 million in funding?

For finalists with Canada-based projects:

If you are selected as one of the Canadian finalists, we guarantee the availability of up to $3 million per project. Funding amounts will be based on the work plan provided as part of the proposal and the completion of identified milestones. A contribution agreement will be negotiated between each of the finalists with projects based in Canada and Natural Resources Canada.

For finalists with UK-based projects:

If you are selected as one of the UK finalists, we guarantee the availability of up to £1.8 million per project. Funding amounts will be based on the work plan provided as part of the proposal and the completion of identified milestones. Only eligible expenses will be subject to reimbursement. A grant agreement will be negotiated between each of the finalists with projects based in the UK and the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy under the terms of the General Block Exemption Regulation governing State Aid (Commission Regulation (EU) No. 651/2014), which came into force on 1st July 2014 – specifically Article 25 (Aid for research and development projects).

Please refer to the Challenge Applicant’s Guide for additional details.

If I am a finalist, how many months will I have to execute my project?

All the finalists will be announced at the same time and will have approximately 16 months to execute their project.

Can applicants with projects currently receiving funding from other government sources apply for the Challenge?

Yes, funding from multiple government sources is allowed as long as you are not seeking to cover the same project costs with multiple government-funding sources. In other words, total government sources of funding for a single project may not exceed total project costs of 100%. For this reason, applicants are required to disclose in their application any additional funds received.

If I have other questions, who can I contact?

For additional questions, please send an email addressed to both smart.innovation@beis.gov.uk and nrcan.cleantechimpact-impacttechpropres.rncan@canada.ca with the subject line: Power Up Challenge.