Energy Innovation Community

Fostering a smart grid ecosystem

MaRS has partnered with Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) to support the growth and diversity of Canada’s smart energy community — systems, services and technologies that are both sustainable and cost-effective. We aim to raise awareness, provide support, and connect like-minded organizations pushing the cutting edge of smart grid innovation. It’s our goal to enable Canadians and prepare the country for its future electrical grid needs.

Canada is currently modernizing its infrastructure, integrating smart grid technology to tackle the challenges of climate change and rapid urbanization. It’s an opportunity to reduce emissions and improve energy production, consumption and efficiency. Canada has an aging infrastructure that runs at high capacity and is vulnerable to increasingly common extreme weather events. A shift in energy production and distribution is anticipated due to a desire for low-carbon approaches and changes in consumption (growth in electric vehicles, for example). The potential benefits of smart grids include: facilitating microgrids, citizen-owned generation, greater energy storage management, autonomous demand response, maintaining cyber security, increased grid visibility and more.

NRCan recently announced a $100-million investment to fund more smart grid systems. The objectives of this investment are to better utilize existing electricity assets, foster innovation and clean jobs, and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Smart electrical grids make better use of existing generation, transmission and distribution assets, increasing energy efficiency and ensuring safer and more secure delivery of electricity. Smart grids also help mitigate the negative effects of GHGs by boosting the hosting capacity of renewable energy, increasing resiliency and improving efficiency and conservation. In order to meet Canada’s target to reduce GHG emissions by 80 per cent by 2050, a focus on grid modernization is critical.

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