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  • Stephen Lecce, MPP

Ontario Launches Grid Innovation Fund

Updated: Apr 12

TORONTO – The Ontario government is building the grid of the future by launching a new round of the Grid Innovation Fund which will invest $9.5 million to support projects that will make the province's electricity system more efficient. This year’s funding will be focused on transportation and heating and cooling, two sectors that are driving significant electricity demand increases.

“As the electrification of transportation, industry and heating changes the way Ontario’s electricity system operates, we’re leveraging new technologies to make our grid more efficient,” said Todd Smith, Minister of Energy. “This new investment of $9.5 million will support the next generation of innovative projects to help lower costs for consumers and support Ontario’s reliable, affordable and clean grid.”

As electric vehicles (EVs) and electric heating increase demand on Ontario’s electricity system, successful projects would enable these new technologies to contribute to grid flexibility, reliability and affordability by focusing on two streams:

  • Electric Vehicle projects would demonstrate how EVs could support electricity supply by injecting electricity back into the grid at times of high demand and how EV owners could benefit from aligning charging with periods when demand is low on the grid.

  • Space and water heating and cooling projects would demonstrate how thermal storage and new technologies can help manage demand from heating and cooling on the grid and lower emissions.

“As the energy transformation continues in Ontario, many aspects of daily life are increasingly being powered by electricity,” said Lesley Gallinger, President and CEO of the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO). “The number of electric vehicles and heat pumps are growing across the province, which presents an opportunity to tap into these technologies and allow Ontarians to help contribute to the reliability, affordability, and sustainability of our grid.”

The Grid Innovation Fund is just one part of Powering Ontario’s Growth, the government’s pragmatic plan which outlines the actions the province is taking to meet electricity demand and power the province’s growing economy, including:

  • Nuclear Energy – Advancing reliable, affordable and clean nuclear power through pre-development work at Bruce Power, four small modular reactors at Darlington, and the refurbishment of the Pickering Nuclear Generation Station.

  • Competitive Procurements – Acquiring 4,000 megawatts of storage and natural gas generation and launching more competitive procurements for non-emitting electricity resources including wind, solar, hydroelectric, batteries and biogas.

  • New Transmission Infrastructure – Designating and prioritizing transmissions lines in Southwestern and Northeastern Ontario that will power job creators including EV and EV battery manufacturing and clean steel production.

  • Keeping Costs Down – Reducing demand through the expansion of Ontario’s energy efficiency programs.

The Grid Innovation Fund will be administered by the IESO, which is opening applications for funding in May 2024.

Quick Facts

  • Ontario’s electricity system is one of the cleanest in the world, powered by a diverse supply mix including nuclear, hydro, biomass, renewables and natural gas.

  • Electricity demand in Ontario is forecasted to increase by two per cent per year over the next 20 years.

  • To allow for more innovative projects the Ontario Energy Board, and its Innovation Sandbox, will be made available to provide guidance to project proponents.

  • As of December 2023, there are more than 150,000 EVs registered in Ontario, including both battery-electric vehicles (BEV) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV). By 2030, there are expected to be more than one million EVs on the road in Ontario.

  • Over 400,000 households in Ontario use electric heat pumps for heating and cooling.

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