Energy Innovation Program: National Energy Systems Modelling Call
Hello and welcome to the Expression of Interest Information Session for the National Energy Systems Modelling Call under the Energy Innovation Program. This session is presented by Natural Resources Canada’s Office of Energy Research and Development. Today’s session will provide an overview of the applicants guide and application process for this funding opportunity. Before we begin, we would like to acknowledge that the Natural Resources Canada head office in Ottawa is located on the unceded ancestral territory of the Algonquin Anishinaabe Nation.
While we meet today on a virtual platform, from coast to coast to coast, we acknowledge the ancestral and unceded territory of all the Inuit, Metis, and First Nations people that call this nation home. In recognition that many of the attendees of today’s session are also tuning in from unceded territories across the country, we encourage thoughtful reflection of the harms and mistakes of the past and to consider how we can, in our own way, move forward in a spirit of reconciliation and collaboration. Before we get started, I would like to take care of a couple of housekeeping items. Throughout the presentation feel free to ask questions via the Q&A button on your zoom control panel – please note that project specific questions will not be answered during this presentation. Also note that questions will be visible to everyone participating in the call, however you may submit them anonymously via zoom. All questions will be answered at the end of the presentation.
If you experience any technical difficulties throughout the presentation, please email the program mailbox onscreen. We will be monitoring it throughout the session. On the agenda today is a: Brief overview of the program and funding opportunity, An Overview of the Applicant’s Guide, A Description of how to apply, And we will wrap up with a live Q&A session. Program and Call Overview. Announced in budget 2019, the Energy Innovation Program is the Office of Energy Research and Development’s flagship funding program. To support the Energy Innovation Program’s objectives, this call supports national energy systems modelling projects in Canada.
Energy systems modelling is a critical element of informed Canadian energy and climate action. It provides a quantitative framework to explore the potential role and impacts of different energy technologies on Canada’s energy future. Models provide important opportunities to ‘experiment’ with how new technologies could accelerate the transition to net zero, as well as impacts on the larger energy system. The accelerating pace of innovation makes it more important than ever to incorporate a full range of energy technologies into energy systems models. If you haven’t already, please review the Applicants’ Guide.
Over the next few slides, we will focus on the critical parts of the guide but will encourage all of you to review the guide in its entirety for all details. On screen, you can see the main sections of the Applicants’ Guide. Before we begin, we would like to note that although all sections are important, please pay special attention to sections 3 through 7 as they outline eligibility criteria, available funding and support, process timelines, and specific definitions.
This call for projects intends to provide support for energy modellers as they address these challenges and develop new insights on individual and combinations of energy technologies that could produce lowest-cost pathways to net zero. It is designed to provide RD&D support to energy modellers focused on technology in Canada. Further, this call seeks to encourage transparency in modelling projects (e.g., model code, input
and output data) to expand opportunities to compare results and better understand the impacts of different assumptions and methodologies. The objective of this call is to support public discussion and action on clean energy and climate change by 1) improving societal understanding of the energy system, 2) enhancing decision making by providing opportunities for the exploration of various possible outcomes and futures, 3) representing new technologies to reflect the latest trends and developments in energy technology, and finally, 4) increasing model and data transparency along with improved evidence base. The purpose of this call is to explore research questions related to technological change and innovation.
In general, whether a project will be considered in-scope by the Technical Review Committee will be based on the nature/quality of the research questions in reference to this goal, not the specifics of model/dataset development or approach. Therefore, it is expected that adjustments to models will involve the restructuring and reparameterization of both existing and emerging technologies. This means research questions may be related to both low TRL and/or high TRL technologies, technologies with limited or significant deployment inside Canada, or increasing the granularity/structure of technologies already included in an existing model. In all cases, the anchor for eligibility is / are the research question(s), NOT the technologies parametrized or modelling approaches being used. Eligible recipients are detailed in the Applicant’s Guide.
We have highlighted eligible groups from the Applicant’s Guide on screen. Onscreen is a list of the eligible projects: Eligible projects are projects that: Open to projects which conduct quantitative modelling (e.g., simulation and optimization studies) of Canada’s energy system at a national level, showing trajectories to net zero and how these are/could be affected by technological innovation.
Projects may focus on specific aspects of the energy system (e.g., buildings, electricity, industrial subsector) but must produce national, economy-wide GHG and energy results to demonstrate consistency with net zero. All projects must: Provide energy supply and demand projections to 2070, as well as GHGs. Share all output data via a professionally developed visualisation platform. Onscreen is a list of project definitions.
In the EOI, please indicate which category your proposal falls under. Over the next few slides, we will go over each project definition in detail and provide concrete examples of eligible activities and ineligible activities under each category. Please take note of the visual graphic that is on screen.
If your project intends to undertake modelling development, it must include dataset development and a modelling exercise (i.e., a demonstration) of the new model and/or dataset. All dataset development projects must include a modelling demonstration. Finally, if your project only intends to undertake modelling exercises / demonstrations, they are stand-alone projects and does not require modelling or dataset development. Let’s first start off with the Modelling Development Activities. More details on the funding and support will be provided later in this presentation.
In terms of Eligible activities for modelling development, they are as follows: Development of New Energy System Model or modelling system of existing models using simulation and/or optimization approaches, Major structural revision to existing model to increase granularity within one or more sectors, Integration of two or more existing models with or without the development of new model, Addition of major new capabilities to existing models, such as adding partial or general equilibrium econometric modelling features to existing energy system models. Ineligible activities include: Minor structural revisions (such as adding new capabilities without a complete structural revision of a sector). Development of new models which do not produce National energy and GHG results, regardless of whether they are part of a modelling system which achieve this. As a reminder, Model Development must include dataset development and a modelling exercise. Of note, associated modelling exercises may include the activities listed as “ineligible.” These activities can be part of a project, but are not sufficient, on their own, for the project to be considered model development.
In terms of eligible activities for dataset development, they are as follows: Development of complete datasets designed to enable the use of a new and existing models, Complete translation of existing datasets for existing models to be used in another model. This can be another existing model or a model under development as part of the project. Ineligible activities include: Revisions to datasets which are already used and/or formatted for the model to be used as part of the modelling exercise, Revision or recalibrations of existing model datasets, Partial translation of existing datasets into a format that can be used within another existing model.
As a reminder, dataset developments must include a modelling exercise. Key note: Associated modelling exercises may include the activities listed as “ineligible”. These activities can be part of a project, but are not sufficient, on their own, for the project to be considered dataset development.
In terms of in-scope activities for modelling exercises, we have provided several examples of research questions, and they are as follows: Broadly scoped net-zero pathway assessments based on either optimization or simulation approaches with (a) research question(s) related to technological roles and/or progress . (Example of a research question: How will different technology cost assumption combinations influence the most likely or optimal pathways to net zero?). Assessment of optimal or simulated technology pathways for sector decarbonization within a net-zero economy. (Within the context of an economy that achieves net-zero by 2050, what is the optimal mix of building decarbonization technologies?). Assessment of the impact of specific new energy supply or end-use technologies on one or more sectors within a net-zero economy (How could small modular reactors affect optimized electricity system pathways?).
Sensitivity analysis of existing energy supply or end-use technology parameters on net zero pathways. (If electrolysers fall in costs by X%, how would this affect the optimal or most likely net-zero pathway? The cost of the transition?). The Energy Innovation Program (EIP) advances clean energy technologies that will help Canada meet its climate change targets – this in mind, eligible research questions will be limited to those aligned with this mandate. To align with this mandate, research question(s) related to policy options or the broad macro-economic impact of climate policies (versus technology) are NOT ELIGIBLE for funding through the Energy Innovation Program. e.g. How effective are carbon taxes in achieving net-zero?
How will different regulatory options influence emissions? How will GDP be impacted? Are we on track to meet our targets? Overall, the modelling ecosystem is large, complex, and diverse, and this program is just one small part of the government’s overall approach. Note that for simulation models, policies (or lack thereof) must necessarily be used - analysis on policy can still be conducted, but this must be in service of (a) technology related research questions. For example: how will different carbon tax levels influence the adoption of different technological options for decarbonization? As you may have heard by now, the Energy Innovation Program funded 3 Contribution agreements by Navius, Pembina, and Trottier. If they were to apply to today’s call, these projects would qualify under the following categories: Navius’ Canada’s Energy Dashboard would fall under the category of Modelling Development, given that the project integrated its energy-economy model with the electricity system model. Pembina’s Energy Policy Simulator project would also fall under this category given the major revisions undertaken to enable the use an upgraded version of the model.
A Keynote: Model Development must include dataset development and a modelling exercise. Under dataset development, hypothetically, the original Pembina Energy Policy Simulator would have qualified under this category, as Pembina developed a Canadian dataset for an existing model developed by Energy Innovation LLC and modelled pathways to emission reductions. Keynote: Dataset Development must include a modelling exercise.
Finally, under modelling exercises, Trottier’s pathways Dashboard would have qualified under this category, as it uses an existing model and dataset to explore technological pathways to net zero with minor structural or parametric revisions. In terms of funding, on screen is a table that clearly outlines the level of funding associated with various eligibility conditions. The call is open to requests for a minimum of $100,000 over a period of up to 3 years and a maximum contribution of $1 million.
Preference will be given to shorter projects and will be part of the evaluation. Please also note the various conditions regarding input and output data being provided publicly. This call seeks to encourage transparency in modelling projects to expand opportunities to compare results and better understand the impacts of various assumptions / methodologies. To facilitate this, the MIT License is an example of an open-source software license that proponents should utilize for modelling R&D projects. For the approximate timeline for each phase, please reference the timeline table of the modelling web page.
We will go over the details of the application process later in the presentation. As this call is a reoccurring intake process, there will be other opportunities for you to reapply in the event that your expression of interest is not selected. As a result, please refer to the Modelling web page for the latest information on timelines for the current intake. For now, the most important date and time is the Expression of Interest due date, which is provided via the application portal and shown in the Timeline table of the Modelling web page.
Looking ahead, if your project has successfully passed due diligence and subsequently signed a Contribution Agreement, you will be expected to report on the following performance outcomes. These include: increased collaboration, increased investment in energy research, development and demonstrations, increased scientific and technical knowledge, and increased uptake, adoption, use of clean energy technologies, solutions and knowledge resulting from funded projects. These metrics are key to measuring and articulating the reach of the modelling tools and studies that are funded under this call. All federal programs are designed to achieve certain objectives.
For projects selected for funding and to ensure that they are supporting those objectives, we do require some reporting on outcomes and activities. To ensure everyone is aware of the various reporting requirements for our projects, on screen is a comprehensive list of reports that we expect to be submitted by our proponents in a timely manner. These include: regular financial and status reports as determined by the CA, annual performance report, final project completion report, a public (non-proprietary) report, copies of non-propriety reports, and post completion outcomes report for a period of 3 years following the project end date. In keeping with OERD’s IDEA plan, projects will also be asked to voluntarily report whether their organizations have diversity plans and/or signed on to public equity and diversity initiatives such as Equal by 30. Questions on iDEA plan, organizational breakdown across diversity characteristics, and public commitment to IDEA.
These metrics may be used to track progress on increasing workforce diversity and to inform future program and policy development. Please note that IDEA metrics are voluntary and will not be formally evaluated as part of your submission. In terms of the evaluation criteria for the EOI, there will be 4 main sections with a restricted word and character count.
We encourage each applicant to keep their EOIs succinct. For additional details on the EOI questions, please reference the annex of this presentation. One additional note: Please choose the funding category that best represents your project and also note that only one Expression of Interest Application can be submitted per project.
Applicants can submit more than one application, provided that each application is for a distinct project. As a preview, the questions to be addressed under project scope are the following: What technologies or group of technologies will you be assessing? What modelling approach will your project use, and how will its design be leveraged to answer (a) research question(s) related to innovation and net-zero? Why is your project unique from past modelling work and important to understanding the role of innovation in meeting net-zero objectives? What are anticipated gaps in your analysis that may have to be addressed via other models or modelling projects? We acknowledge that these questions may be quite difficult to address comprehensively in the given space in the EOI form. If it offers any assurance, the EOI is only expected to notionally address these questions.
At the Full Project Proposal stage, there will be additional opportunities to expand on responses to these questions. Now we turn to the Application Process. As mentioned earlier, onscreen is a diagram that outlines the entire application process, which begins with the Expression of Interest and ends with the signing of a Contribution Agreement. This is a competitive process. Projects will be evaluated according to the scoring outlined in the annex, and projects that best fit our criteria will be selected to submit Full Projects Proposals. The Full Project Proposal will ask for much more detailed information about the project and will be reviewed and evaluated again by the Technical Review Committee.
Another important step in the process is the beginning of Due Diligence. This marks the conditional selection of your project, but not a commitment of funding on NRCan’s behalf, that only occurs once a contribution agreement has been signed by NRCan and the proponent after successful completion of due diligence. The applicants’ guide provides you with specific details about the funding opportunity you are applying for and provides further details on more general terms and conditions that applies to all calls under the Energy Innovation Program umbrella. Please pay special attention to sections 3, 4 & 5 of the Applicant’s Guide to ensure you have selected the correct category that best characterizes your proposal (Modelling Development, Dataset Development, and Modelling exercises or modelling demonstrations).
This is crucial to your application, because a mischaracterization of your project will result in your project being scoped out of the call and your application being rejected. Please refer back to these presentation slides for concrete examples of eligible versus ineligible activities. Before submitting your expression of interest, and for people who may have already submitted an expression of interest, ensure that you have reviewed it carefully and that all mandatory sections are complete. Please also disregard the Applicant’s Guide submission time and please refer to the submission time on the portal, webpage, or this presentation. Thank you all so much for attending this session, we will begin the live Q&A now.