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Federal Grant to Support Grid Innovation at Northern Alberta Institute

May 1, 2019
Center for Grid Innovation aims to transform the electric industry in western Canada and beyond.

The Canadian government has granted CDN$1,889,500 (about US$1,408,783) to Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT)'s new Center for Grid Innovation (CGI). The new facility will promote innovation and growth in Alberta's clean technology sector.

The funds will enable the CGI, which will be located at NAIT's Productivity and Innovation Center (PIC), to help companies explore innovative power generation technologies and move them to market by providing a 'plug and play' microgrid to develop, test and demonstrate new grid technology and renewable energy prototypes. The CGI will also help companies develop new grid technologies that may result in a bi-directional grid, where consumers can also be producers by harnessing energy alternatives such as solar, wind, batteries, and combined heat and power.

The CGI aims to address challenges such as managing the remote control of assets; forecasting the generating capacity of new technologies; assuring grid protection; managing bi-directional energy flows and connections; certification and testing of new technologies; and resilience against cyber attacks.

Announcing the grant, Randy Boissonnault, member of parliament for Edmonton Centre and special advisor to the Prime Minister on LGBTQ2 issues, said: "The CGI will help companies develop important technologies that could transform the electricity industry in western Canada and beyond. By supporting initiatives like this, the Government of Canada is ensuring that Canadian businesses are competitive in the global low-carbon economy."

Elaborating on the government's future plans, Navdeep Bains, minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and minister responsible for Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD), said: "Our government is laying the foundation for Canadians to become more competitive and succeed in the global economy. Today's investment in NAIT's CGI builds on our competitive advantages and will result in small businesses testing new grid technologies and bringing them to market, boosting economic growth and creating good, middle-class jobs for Canadians."

The facility will also help foster partnerships between businesses, utilities providers and vendors. "The CGI will allow NAIT's industry partners to develop new technologies that will strengthen the utilities sector. I want to express our appreciation to the Government of Canada for their contribution to this centre," explained Dr. Glenn Feltham, president and CEO, NAIT.

Canada's Innovation and Skills Plan aims to build an economy in which Canadians have access to high-quality jobs and Canadian businesses are well-placed to participate in a rapidly evolving and competitive global marketplace.

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