Natural Resources Canada

Power Forward Challenge

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Equilibrium Engineering has been selected as the winner of the Power Forward Challenge!

The $1-million prize for the Power Forward Challenge – aimed at accelerating smart grid technology and in collaboration with the UK government – was awarded to Equilibrium Engineering for their Alba Nova project, developed in partnership with Scotland-based StorTera. Using an innovative artificial intelligence platform to predict solar and wind energy generation and demand of customers for the day ahead, the project in the Town of Berwick, Nova Scotia, introduced a unique smart grid solution that integrates intelligent energy storage, energy efficiency, renewable energy generation and demand-side response. This replicable solution will store renewable energy to be used when it cannot be produced, providing value to the utility grid and customers, while driving down greenhouse gas emissions.


Project DEMOCRASI provides distribution network and system operators visibility to distribution connected assets. And allows assets to participate, both in bulk and local flexibility markets.

An open data standard - Green Button - allows us to share consumption data for DERs [distributed energy resources]. To know where we can go from a carbon point of view. For example, we aligned EV charging to wind or solar. And EV owners say that's great, I'm totally green.

We know that we need to generate renewable energy and store it when it's not being produced. Our system through battery storage does that. A.I. functionality is the key here.

We combine groups of customer sites together and optimally match them with localized renewable generators. Making use of battery storage and demand flexibility, we minimize energy buying at carbon intensive periods.

ZUoS builds a model of the local energy system. By understanding DER assets installed across the community, we can better match variable renewable generation with demand profiles.

We're enabling flexible services to connect to our network on a much larger scale than we've ever been able to do before.

The real estate industry needs to go through a massive change. Smart buildings, distributed generation, is something that is going to happen. And basically, we are giving the built environment the tools to plan the roadmap on investment and execute on that.

Canadian Finalists

Seven (7) finalist teams were selected from a group of 44 project proposals received in the main proposal intake of the Challenge in March 2019. Along with seven (7) other Semi-Finalist teams, 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.

A total of $9 million / £6 million was available for finalists in each country. Each finalist team is made up of Canadian and U.K. partners and received up to $3 million / £1.8 million to build its smart energy systems solution.

On February 24th, NRCan hosted a virtual finalist showcasing and panelist event for the Power Forward and Charging the Future Challenges. The seven Power Forward finalists were able to show off their impressive developments achieved through the duration of the Challenge to potential stakeholders and investors. The panelist discussion, focused on accelerating clean electrification in Canada, was hosted by Bruce Lourie (President, Ivey Foundation) and featured panelists Neetika Sathe (VP GRE&T Centre, Alectra), Susan Rohac (VP Clean Tech Practice, BDC), Giles Counsell (Managing Consultant, Siemens Canada) and Sandra Odendahl (VP and Global Head of Sustainability, Scotiabank).

You can watch the panel discussion here (available in English only).

Here are the finalist teams developing projects in Canada:

London Hydro
with Electron, ENMAX, University of Western Ontario, Navigant, Gowling WLG

Project L2L (London Ontario to London UK)


Lakeland Holding Inc.
with Opus One Solutions, Kiwi Power, Ryerson University, Georgian College, CHEC Group


Project DEMOCRASI: Dispatchable Energy Market Optimized Constraint Real-time Aggregated System Interface


Equilibrium Engineering
with StorTera, Dalhousie University, Berwick Municipal Electric Commission


Project Alba Nova: A Smart Grid Pilot Using Advanced Battery Storage

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

Scottish & Southern Electricity Networks
with Opus One Solutions, Hydro Ottawa, Open Grid Systems, University of Cambridge Energy Policy Research Group

Project Merlin



UNIT9 Ltd.
with Integrated Environmental Solutions, Boost Energy Ventures, Utilismart, Energy Systems Catapult, Skanska, University College London Energy Institute, Sheffield University


Project Energy Open Piazza


Qbots Ltd.
with ICONICS Canada, Lanner (LEI) Canada Ltd., Energy Systems Catapult, Bruntwood Energy Services Ltd., Manchester Metropolitan University, Hildebrand Technology Ltd., Penso Power Ltd., Dunsky Energy Consulting


Project Energy-IQ


Scene Connect Ltd.
with Enbala, Locogen Ltd., Mentone Energy Consulting Ltd.


Project Cloud ZUoS

SME Financial Support Recipients

Top 10 Canadian small and medium-sized enterprises

In January 2019, Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) and the UK Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) awarded financial support to a select group of small and medium-sized enterprises who had submitted preliminary proposals outlining plans to develop innovative, consortium-based smart grid solutions that bring together Canadian and UK innovators. The Canadian recipients of this support ranked as the top 10 among 70 applicants, in what was a highly competitive process.

Here are the ten (10) Canadian recipients who each received a $CAN100,000 grant to further develop their consortium team and project proposal in order to compete in the Challenge:

Sustainable Oceans Applied Research Ltd. (NS)

Demonstration of disruptive end-to-end coastal community clean power system


EV charging DC microgrid powered by a transactive energy platform

Rainforest Automation (BC)

Virtual Power Plant using residential “smart home” technology

Enbala Canada Inc (BC)

Virtual Power Plant and advanced hydrolyzer storage

SWTCH E-Car Inc (ON)

EV charging, distributed energy resources aggregation and transactive energy

ReWatt Power (AB)

Incentive-driven integrated EV management

WizGrid Inc (QC)

Full-scale validation of Power Management System on a microgrid

Equilibrium Engineering (NS)

AI-based renewable energy storage platform

Utilismart Corporation (ON)

Advanced distributions management system

Quanta Technology (ON)

Mobile energy storage system and community energy systems


See the UK successful recipients selected by BEIS here.

Challenge details

Who can apply?

Canadian and UK:

  • Small and medium sized businesses
  • Other for-profit and not-for-profit organizations
  • Indigenous organizations and groups
  • Post secondary/academic institutions

Key dates

  • Call for proposals: October 16, 2018
  • Deadline to apply for SME financial support: December 17, 2018
  • Deadline to submit proposals: March 15, 2019
  • Finalists announced: June 20, 2019
  • Deadline for demonstration projects and final submissions: October 1, 2021
  • Panelist and Showcase Event: February 24, 2022
  • Final grand prize winner announced: March 30, 2022


  • A total of $1 million/£600,000 in each country will be given to eligible teams in need of financial support who have the most promising project vision.
  • The six top teams will win $3 million/£1.8 million each to start building their proposed pilot project.
  • $1 million will be given to the team with the best pilot demonstration.