Healthy Planet Using Green Energy to FunctionIn a bid to create a culture of conservation across the province, the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) offers business grants in Ontario research and conservation projects that aim to effectively reduce and manage demand for electricity. The IESO Conservation Fund thus provides financial support to businesses that take on new and innovative electricity conservation initiatives that will help Ontario’s residents and businesses to reduce their demand for electricity.

Ontario Government Funding Overview

The IESO Conservation Fund supports innovative electricity conservation projects that:

  • In order to verify the energy savings potential and cost-effectiveness of novel demand-side technologies and processes
  • Offer the opportunity of significant energy savings in Ontario if the project is scaled-up
  • Build marketplace capacity for conservation actions
  • The testing of new or unique conservation program elements

Grant Funding for Business Applicant Eligibility

Incorporated for-profit and not-for-profit entities are eligible.

Government Funding for Business Project Eligibility

The key points about projects funded under this program are:

  • The IESO Conservation Fund only considers providing Ontario government funding to applications for projects to develop or pilot innovative conservation programs, practices and technologies.
  • As the fund is focused on transforming the market and stimulating large-scale change, proposed projects must be designed to deliver specific outcomes.

Projects Ineligible for IESO Funding for Small Business

Applications relating to the research, development and demonstration of transmission, distribution, and electricity generation technologies (e.g. solar photovoltaic, wind, waterpower, and bioenergy) are not eligible for government funding for business through the Conservation Fund.

Small Business Grants for Conservation Support

As per the information in the table below, the IESO has established maximum allotments for government small business grants by dollar amount and percentage of project cost.

While other non-IESO sources of funding can be used as leverage and are encouraged, duplicate funding of IESO-supported tasks is not permitted.

The maximum Conservation Fund support for a project varies according to project type as outlined below.

Project Category Maximum IESO support for project/Maximum % of project costs
Program $500,000 / 75%
Tool $500,000 / 75%
Training Program $250,000 / 75%
Community of Practice $250,000 / 75%
Strategic Research $100,000 / 100%
Emerging Technology Demonstration $500,000 / 75%
Emerging Technology Development $250,000 / 75%
Strategic Opportunities Stream $1,000,000 / 50%

Government Funding Ontario Eligible Expenses:

Costs eligible for project support from the Conservation Fund are those directly related to the design, development, demonstration, installation, implementation, testing, measurement and performance verification of the project. The following table explains which expenses are eligible and ineligible for coverage under IESO small business grants Ontario .

Eligible Expenses Ineligible Expenses
✔ Project-specific materials, equipment, products and services✔ Salaries and benefits of employees directly involved in the design, selection, purchase and installation of the project (to a maximum of $800/day)✔ Professional, engineering, scientific, technical, management and contracting services, including training

✔ Permits and licence fees

✔ Funding for marketing, communications and workshops directly related to project activities

✔ Costs associated with the monitoring, verification and evaluation of the project’s impacts, including data collection, processing, analysis and management

✔ Equipment and products, including diagnostic and testing tools and instruments and associated software

✔ Costs associated with providing approved incentives to project participants

✖ Budget deficits✖ Activities completed or costs incurred before the funding is approved or after the project is completed✖ Costs over $50,000 for any single consultant or contractor that has not been selected through a competitive process

✖ Costs associated with the purchase of real estate

✖ Any overhead costs generated by the lead applicant or third parties, such as operating costs related to general maintenance and repair

✖ Hospitality, incidental or food expenses for the project team

✖ Hospitality or travel costs not in compliance with the Government of Ontario’s Travel, Meals and Hospitality Expenses Directive

✖ Any costs not directly related to the achievement of the project’s objectives as defined in the contribution agreement between the IESO and the applicant

About the Conservation Fund Application Process

  1. Upon confirming project eligibility, the first step to being considered by the Conservation Fund is submission of a project overview using our application form.
  2. The overview is screened by a business and technical review committee and, if approved, applicants are invited to submit a full proposal. Proposals are accepted by invitation only.
  3. As a condition of funding support, we may require you to make changes to your project scope or design.

Assessment for Small Business Funding Grants

Applications for this government grants for small business are assessed on the following criteria:

Strategic Fit Does the project address a market gap and fit the Conservation Fund and IESO’s strategic objectives and priorities?
Potential Impact on Program Design or Measures Will the project provide lessons or innovations in measures or program design?
Market Capability Building Impact Is the project building the skills and knowledge required by the market to accelerate the design, delivery, marketing and implementation of electricity conservation initiatives?
Market, program or technical advance Is the program concept, measure, approach or tool novel and does it advance the “state of the art” in Ontario?
Project Team Does the project team have the qualifications and experience required to execute the project? Is there evidence of strong and appropriate partnerships?
Local Distribution Company (LDC) Involvement If appropriate for the project concept, is an LDC partner involved in the project?
Project funding Has the project secured the funding required to complete the project? Does the funding satisfy IESO leverage requirements?
Project purpose and outcomes Are the project’s specific outcomes, performance targets and success factors clearly articulated?
Project Design Is the project’s design reasonable and likely to meet the stated objectives?

More Information on the IESO Conservation Fund Small Business Funding Grants

Additional information can be found by selecting from any of the following options:

Get Started     Program Overview

Canadian Government Funding Expert Support for Corporations

If your business is incorporated with a minimum of 15 employees please contact a Canadian government funding expert for more information regarding a number of applicable small business loans Ontario and Canadian small business grants waiting to be discovered.   You can also connect with us at one of the Free Canadian Government Funding Workshops that we hold regularly during the week.  And, please take a few minutes to sign up for our Small Business Grants and Loans Weekly E-newsletter so that we don’t ever fall out of touch.

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Written by

Ryan has a BA in economics, an MSc in management, and several published works including two books. As Marketing Analyst at Mentor Works, Ryan enjoys communicating with business owners & executives about government grants and funding available to help overcome obstacles to growth.

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