IESO Grid Innovation Fund – Up to $500k for Indoor Agriculture Projects

Grid Innovation Fund: Up to $500k for Indoor Agriculture

Indoor farming is taking off in Ontario, Canada as a whole – in businesses, remote communities, cities with harsh climates, even in homes. It’s not just a greenhouse model; these plants are often grown without soil and in climate-controlled environments. While indoor agriculture reduces the amount of water and energy that goes into agriculture production, there are still many opportunities to also decrease electricity, to further aid and progress this innovative process of farming.

To help with these costs, the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) has issued an Indoor Agricultural Call through its Grid Innovation Fund. This program was developed to support significant electricity bill savings for Ontario ratepayers – either by enabling greater competition in Ontario’s electricity markets, or by helping customers better manage their energy consumption. This call is focused on reducing electricity demand from indoor agriculture during local and bulk system peak periods.

Applicants may receive up to 50-75% of costs or a maximum of $250,000-$500,000, depending on the Project Category.

There is currently an open call for applications, with a deadline of February 14, 2020.

About the Grid Innovation Fund: Indoor Agriculture Call

With more than 1,300 MW of greenhouse load seeking to connect in Ontario by 2025, the province’s electrical infrastructure is being challenged to meet significant increases in demand. The Grid Innovation Fund is seeking novel projects that will reduce overall energy consumption from indoor agriculture.

Through the program, successful applicants may receive up to 75% of eligible costs, to a maximum of $500k in funding for energy efficiency.

Special consideration will be made for projects located in areas with identified or anticipated electricity infrastructure challenges related to indoor agriculture expansion.

Eligible Applicants

Eligible applicants for the Grid Innovation Fund are:

  • Non-Profit or For-Profit: consulting firms, hydro and technology companies, industry associations, broader public sector.

Projects must be carried out within the following regions:

  • Lambton-Sarnia
  • Windsor-Essex
  • Niagara
  • Burlington Nanticoke
  • Chatham-Kent

Eligible Projects

Projects must be completed within 3 years. There are six eligible project categories under the Grid Innovation Fund – Indoor Agriculture Call:

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  1. Energy efficiency
  2. Conservation behaviour
  3. Demand response

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  1. Load reduction
  2. Load displacement
  3. System integration


Projects are to:

  • Demonstrate the efficacy of demand-side options to address local transmission and distribution infrastructure capacity need(s);
  • Accelerate the adoption of cost-effective demand-side solutions by greenhouse growers;
  • Explore unknowns in the operationalization of demand-side options and the impact on greenhouse productivity; and
  • Focus on one of the following categories: program, tool, training, community of practice, strategic research, emerging technology demonstration ( TRL 7), strategic opportunities.

Eligible Costs

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  • Equipment;
  • Salaries;
  • Training;
  • Permits/license fees;

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  • 3rd party professional/engineering services;
  • Marketing/communications/workshops; and
  • Monitoring/verification/evaluation of the project’s impacts including data collection, processing, analysis, and management.


Ineligible Projects

  • R&D;
  • Demonstration of transmission; and
  • Distribution and electricity generation technologies (except for Load Displacement Objective Category).

Apply for Funding via the Grid Innovation Fund

The Indoor Agriculture Call under the Grid Innovation Fund has a deadline of November February 14, 2020. If you match the eligible criteria and have a project in mind, please contact Mentor Works – we can answer any questions you have about the program and discuss next steps in preparing your application.

Funding Funding Now, Contact Mentor Works

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