New NAIT research facility will help industry develop alternative energy solutions

Distributed Energy Management Initiative Announcement

Published on September 06, 2018

EDMONTON – NAIT researchers will help Alberta innovators develop and test low-carbon energy solutions with a new microgrid research facility, funded by a $2 million grant from the Government of Alberta.

The funding was announced Thursday by Economic Development and Trade Minister Deron Bilous at NAIT’s new Productivity and Innovation Centre.

The Distributed Energy Management Initiative, a partnership between NAIT, ATCO, Siemens and the Future Energy Systems research program at the University of Alberta, will provide a “plug-and-play” microgrid where energy companies can test and validate their technologies under realistic field conditions.

The facility will help them discover innovative technologies to generate, manage and store energy and reduce or eliminate greenhouse gas emissions. For example, a battery storage company whose products have been used in warm climates might work with DEMI researchers to test its product in cold temperatures.

The microgrid lab will be housed in the Productivity and Innovation Centre, NAIT’s new, 17,650 square-metre centre providing solutions for industry, including advanced manufacturing labs, acceleration spaces for business and applied research facilities.


Dr. Glenn Feltham, President and CEO, NAIT
“This funding will help NAIT and its partners to develop new electrical energy solutions, including the adoption of renewable energy into the grid. This initiative is important to Alberta’s and Canada’s sustainability – both economic and environmental. Consistent with other applied research centres at NAIT, we will work industry and business partners to solve real problems facing our province and country.”

Deron Bilous, Minister of Economic Development and Trade, Government of Alberta
“Alberta innovators and entrepreneurs are making our province proud – attracting international attention and investment. When they asked for support to test and commercialize their new products and processes, we worked together with our post-secondary institutions and industry leaders to make that happen. The Distributed Energy Management Initiative will help small businesses grow and create new jobs, at the same time as protecting our environment.”

Faisal Kazi, President and CEO, Siemens Canada
“Siemens Canada welcomes the opportunity to participate in the build of this state of the art distributed energy test lab together with partners like ATCO and NAIT. This lab will serve as a platform to address small and medium enterprises’ innovations and technologies geared to support Alberta’s energy transition plans towards increased efficiency, resilience and sustainability.”

Francois Blouin, Director – Innovation, ATCO
“This facility will provide us with an excellent opportunity to combine research, innovation and commercialization as new distributed energy solutions are pioneered for our customers here in Alberta and around the world. It also highlights our commitment to working collaboratively to deliver products and services that enable our customers to play a part in shaping Alberta’s clean energy future.”

Dr. M. Anne Naeth, Director, University of Alberta – Future Energy Systems
“In Alberta we’re fortunate to have some of the world’s best energy researchers. Through partnerships like this we’re making sure they have access to world-class facilities that will speed innovation and help shape the future of our global energy system.”