Frequently asked questions on Breakthrough Energy Solutions Canada

Frequently asked questions on the Breakthrough Energy Solutions Canada funding call, including those asked during the program webinars. All relevant information to help complete the application can be found in the Applicants’ Guide for Breakthrough Energy Solutions Canada.
Contact the Energy Innovation Program administration at nrcan.energyinnovation-innovationenergetique.rncan@canada.ca if you still have questions or require further clarification on the topics listed below.

Eligibility and Evaluation

What qualifies as a “breakthrough” technology?

Any technology in one of the four focus areas (manufacturing, electricity, transportation, buildings) that has the potential to significantly reduce global greenhouse gas emissions (GHG).  The potential impact of each technology at scale must be significant: at least half a gigaton [½ GT] of greenhouse gases every year, about 1 percent of projected 2050 global emissions.
The technology must be at Technology Readiness Level between 4 and 8. See Appendix B of the Breakthrough Energy Solutions Canada (BESC) Applicant Guide for Technology Readiness Level (TRL) definitions.

Will projects in the lower end of the TRL threshold have a lower chance of being selected?

The funding call is open to all projects within TRL 4 and 8. Many factors will be considered when evaluation a project such as potential impact.

My enterprise is a Canadian subsidiary of an internationally-based company. Can we apply?

Yes, as long as it is registered and carries out operations in Canada. Technological solutions can originate from anywhere globally, however, the project must take place in Canada.

What is the timeframe to complete projects under this call?

Projects must be ready to start by April 1, 2020 and be completed by March 31, 2022.

Application process

Can an applicant submit multiple applications?

Yes. A single applicant can apply for funding for multiple projects/solutions. An applicant cannot submit multiple applications for the same project or technology/solution.

Where can I find the Supplemental Applicants’ Guide?

A link to the supplementary guide is provided upon successful completion of the self-assessment survey available here.

Is completing the self-assessment survey a mandatory requirement?

Yes, it is a mandatory requirement, applications that have not successfully completed the survey will be screened out and will not move forward in the process.

Can I repeat the self-assessment survey if I made an error on my survey response?

Yes, it is possible to repeat the survey, however, we encourage you to be honest in your responses to ensure that your solution/business is eligible under this program.

 Who should I contact if I do not agree with the results of the self-assessment survey and wish to apply anyway?

If you have any questions or concerns about the self-assessment survey and want to get some clarification, please do not hesitate to E-mail us.

Can multiple individuals collaborate on the Letter of interest (LOI), or is INTEGRO access limited to one individual per firm?

Yes, multiple individuals can collaborate on the LOI through INTEGRO. Instructions on how to add a second contributor can be found on the Help page in INTEGRO, or watch the tutorial here.

Do I have to use INTEGRO to submit my application? What is the deadline?

Yes. All applications must be completed and submitted via NRCan’s funding portal Integro prior to the deadline of September 11, 2019 at 12 PM (noon) EST. Special accommodations may be made for applicants in remote areas only if the program is contacted at least 2 weeks in advance of the submission deadline. Late submissions will notbe accepted.

I am having difficulties applying. Who should I contact for help?

If you encounter any issues while applying through INTEGRO or if you have any concerns, please do not hesitate to E-mail us. Additional tutorial videos can be found here.

Miscellaneous

How many projects are being selected?

It is expected that approximately 50 projects/companies will make it to the semi final rounds, with up to 15 projects/companies being selected to be part of the cohort. These numbers are subject to change based on funding availability.

Do we need to have support from industry / is it favourable to have support from industry?

No, industry support is not required but may be considered an asset if it adds value to the overall project/solution. If your project has support from industry partners, a letter of support will need to be included as part of your application, clearly demonstrating their involvement/contribution (cash/in-kind).

Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Targets

Are technologies that have an indirect impact on emissions going to be eligible or are only direct impact technologies eligible?

Yes, technologies that enable emission reductions are considered in scope. It is important hat those projects clearly articulate and quantify the related emission reductions in your application.

Does the full GHG emission reductions of 0.5GT/ year have to be achieved by year two?

No, we understand that a lot of these breakthrough technologies are still in their infancy, that is why we are asking for an analysis of the expected market penetration / adoptions over time to demonstrate they have the potential.

Is the GHG reduction requirement of 0.5GT/year confined to Canada or is the target a global reduction?

The 0.5Gt/year reduction is global.

Can GHG emissions reductions be calculated using a life cycle analysis?

Yes, more information about how GHG emission reductions must be calculated is available in the Supplemental Applicants’ Guide.

What qualifies as a significant reduction to global greenhouse gas emissions?

Any technology that if highly successful and adopted globally, has the potential to reduce GHG emissions by 0.5GT/year globally. Projects that demonstrate a reasonable market penetration requirement will be considered to have met this requirement of the program. Additional details on each focus area can be found in Appendix A of the BES Applicant Guide.

Funding (Limits, stacking)

How much total funding is available in the Breakthrough Energy Solutions call?

The Breakthrough Energy Solutions (BES) call leverages public and private financing. NRCan has already committed up to $20 Million for projects over a 2-year period. Successful companies will then gain exposure to investment partners like Breakthrough Energy Ventures (BEV) to be considered for additional private investment.

What is the maximum NRCan funding per project? Is there a minimum?

The maximum is up to $3M in federal funding over 2 years for the advancement of your breakthrough technology. The minimum contribution is $300K.

Is the funding provided by NRCan part of an equity investment?

No, NRCan’s financial support is in the form of non-repayable contributions.

Is NRCan’s funding repayable?

All contributions from NRCan to projects will be non-repayable.

Does my organization need to contribute funds to the project?

Yes. Each successful project proponent must contribute to the project. This contribution can be comprised of cash and in-kind and this funding can arise from your organisation, project partners or other levels of government. However, note that total federal government sources of funding for a selected project may not exceed project costs of 50% for demonstration projects and 75% of total project cost for R&D projects.

Is all of the funding allocated by NRCan going to be available on the first year or is it going to be spread over the two year period?

NRCan’s funding will be spread out over a two-year period beginning on April 1st 2020. Funding will flow to projects based on their forecasted needs and NRCan’s available funding profile over the two-year period.

Follow-on investments from NRCan’s partners

What is the maximum Breakthrough Energy Ventures (BEV) funding per project?

BEV investments will be decided on a case by case basis and will need to be approved by the BEV investment committee.

Is the BEV funding done through equity acquisition?

Yes, any potential BEV investment will be an equity financing transaction.

If my project is approved for funding from NRCan, am I guaranteed BEV funding?

No. BEV will conduct their own assessments of the cohort of companies during the course of the 2 year funding period.

What is the Breakthrough Energy Coalition?

Launched in 2015, the Breakthrough Energy Coalition (BEC) is an influential group of investors and institutions committed to developing reliable and affordable energy technologies that can help solve climate change. For more information visit http://www.b-t.energy/faq/

What is Breakthrough Energy Ventures? / What is the difference between Breakthrough Energy Coalition and Breakthrough Energy Ventures?

The Breakthrough Energy Coalition created Breakthrough Energy Ventures, an investor-led fund, to build the new, cutting-edge companies that will deliver breakthrough clean energy innovation. For more information visit http://www.b-t.energy/ventures/

Does BEV currently support companies/what are some success stories?

For more information about BEV’s portfolio please visit http://www.b-t.energy/ventures/.  

What is the time horizon BEV investment / is there a time frame for BEV investments?

BEV takes a longer, more patient approach to investments, focusing on building long-term relationships with innovators.

Will BEV conduct its own financial and/or technical due diligence, or will it rely on the information submitted to NRCan?

BEV will leverage your submission to the program and may ask for supplemental information at a later date. BEV will look at many variables when deciding which companies to invest in and will engage directly with cohort companies of interest to obtain additional information.

What kind of support / involvement will BEV and other potential investors have during the first two years of this funding call?

BEV will participate in annual pitch events, which will give cohort companies an opportunity to pitch their companies and solutions. Cohort companies will also have an opportunity to receive feedback and seek private funding.