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NSERC Smart Microgrid Network


The NSERC Smart Microgrid Network (NSMG-Net) is developing technologies in partnership with Canadian power utility companies that will establish Canada's next-generation electricity system, the Smart Grid. Comprising a network of integrated smart microgrids, Canada's Smart Grid will allow unprecedented efficiencies in the development, application and use of Canada's energy resources. It will enable the Canadian power industry to achieve energy security, conservation and reduced carbon footprints.

The technologies required to develop smart microgrids are still in the research phase. Due to the critical nature of the services provided by utilities, controlled qualification of new technologies within a real microgrid is the prerequisite for their successful implementation in the field. NSMG-Net will develop innovative technologies and solutions that will be essential to the evolution of the Smart Grid in Canada.

Network Structure

NSMG-Net is the first smart grid research network in Canada, and comprises leading Canadian researchers from a number of government research labs and universities across the country, working in close collaboration with partners in industry, provincial hydro utilities and governments. The Board of Directors is the governing body of the Network, with broad representation from academia, industry and government. The Independent Advisory Committee, made up of independent Canadian and international experts in Smart Grid technologies, will advise the Board. The operations of NSMG-Net are managed by its two executive committees (the Scientific Committee and the Outreach (Technology Transfer) Committee), coordinated by the Principal Investigator. The research programs are organized into three themes, led by internationally recognized Canadian researchers. Each theme includes four interdependent projects, each of which is assigned to one of the universities in the network. The total research budget of NSMG-Net is $4.6 million over five years: $3.7 million from NSERC and $0.9 million from partners.

Research Objectives

The British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) is in the process of building Canada’s first smart microgrid infrastructure on its Burnaby campus. This infrastructure will serve as an ideal development, integration and testing facility, enabling researchers to pool their diverse expertise and resources to develop Smart Grid technologies and solutions in a near-real environment.

NSMG-Net will coalesce research across the following three themes:

(i) Theme 1: Operation, control and protection of smart microgrids;

(ii) Theme 2: Smart microgrid planning, optimization and regulatory issues; and

(iii) Theme 3: Smart microgrid communication and information technologies.

The relationships between the research themes will lead to an iterative process of elicitation of requirements, technology developments and assessment. This loop will be fuelled by input from utilities and industry partners in both the requirements and assessment stages. A two-tier approach will be taken in developing demonstrations and prototypes:

  • a technology and simulation laboratory stage in various labs
  • integration tests, prototype deployment and validation/demonstrations at BCIT.


The proposed NSERC Smart Microgrid Network (NSMG-Net) will leverage the expertise of Canadian researchers, utility companies, technology providers and government agencies to develop the technologies required for Canada’s Smart Grid and the future of Canada’s energy needs. NSMG-Net will enable Canadian regulatory agencies to:

  • experiment with and validate various standards, protocols and frameworks suitable for Canadian applications;
  • provide utilities from across the country with a unique test-bed to verify and validate Smart Grid technologies and solutions;
  • lead to products, technologies, standards, and regulatory frameworks that will accelerate the realization of the Smart Grid across Canada;
  • provide numerous undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate students with the skills needed by Canadian industry and academia; and
  • contribute to a systemic and sustainable reduction of greenhouse gases, thus helping to address the issue of global climate change.


Dr. Hassan Farhangi
NSMG-Net Principal Investigator and Network Leader
Director, GAIT, BCIT Technology Centre
BCIT CARI Building Wing B
4355 Mathissi Place
Burnaby, BC V5G 4S8
Tel.: 604-456-8074
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