Microgrids for Smart Growth


Studio YSiemens Canada, Ontario Smart Grid Forum, IESO, Carleton Sustainable Energy Research Centre

The Challenge

As global energy systems shift towards decentralization, microgrids have potential to offer benefits to utilities, communities, and industrial customers alike – including resiliency during extreme weather events, integration of renewable energy, grid support and ancillary services, and asset optimization. However, important questions remain around cost-effectiveness, regulatory implications, and technology risk.

The Advanced Energy Centre is catalyzing new conversations amongst community leaders, policy makers, utilities, and innovators focused on understanding cost-effective pathways for clean energy microgrid financing and development. Leveraging Canadian experiences with clean energy microgrids, the Centre aims to highlight practical and cost-effective alternatives to distribution feeder upgrades to communities and utilities.


In November 2015, the Advanced Energy Centre, Carleton Sustainable Energy Research Centre (CSERC), the IESO, and NewEnergy Community convened a workshop focused on examining frameworks for advancing technology, business value, and public policy for clean energy microgrids. The event featured industry and utility leaders, multidisci­plinary researchers, and community representatives coming together to discuss factors affecting deployment of smart microgrids into Ontario’s energy system and beyond. The aim of these workshops sessions was for participants to strategize on the future academic research needed to advance the business case and commercial deployment of these technologies. This report summaries the collective discussions convened between participants through the seminar and workshops, and profiles future research questions resulting from these conversations.

Future of Microgrids and Smart Energy Networks

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In June 2015, the Advanced Energy Centre, the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO), and the Ontario Smart Grid Forum hosted [Micro]grids Today, a summit focused on profiling domestic and international experiences with microgrids and facilitating collaborative thinking around barriers and opportunities.
Through a series of interactive sessions, participants discussed current issues and barriers facing microgrids in Ontario, and brainstorming opportunities to advance commercial development.

[Micro]grids Today: Themes & Outcomes Report

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Co-Creating Solutions & Prototyping

In collaboration with MaRS Studio Y, the Advanced Energy Centre has conducted community consultations with residents of Pelee Island, and has been exploring ideas for improving resiliency and creating new electrical capacity, while creating economic development opportunities for this rural community. Please read more in the report below.

Local Perspectives on Energy: Pelee Island

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Local Perspectives on Energy: Pelee Island from MaRS Discovery District on Vimeo.