The First Global Energy Startup Accelerator, Free Electrons, Gets Buy-in From Major Utilities

Free Electrons, the world’s first global energy accelerator connects startups and utilities to reach breakthroughs faster.  The consortium will recruit energy startups to drive the next generation of ideas in clean energy, energy efficiency, e-mobility, digitization, and on-demand customer services.

Free Electrons was initiated by eight international utilities with a combined 73 million customers.  Founding utilities include AusNet Services, Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), ESB (Electricity Supply Board), EDP (Energias de Portugal), innogy, Origin Energy, Singapore Power (SP) and Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), with the support of two accelerator partners, New Energy Nexus and swissnex San Francisco.

Free Electrons consortium of electric utilities will give startups unprecedented access to the tightly guarded electric market. The market access could be a springboard for bringing innovation to market.  The utilities will help energy start-ups refine and test their innovations in the real world.

Partner utilities are leaders in the clean energy transition, covering more than 40 countries, representing over $148 billion in combined net income and access to over 73 million end customers worldwide.

Startups chosen for Free Electrons will gain access to industry leaders who will offer expertise, resources and access to their customer base in exchange for investment and partnership opportunities. Selected entrepreneurs will participate in three separate week-long ‘customer adoption’ modules in Silicon Valley, Lisbon/Dublin and Singapore.

Energy startups around the world with a working prototype are encouraged to apply to Free Electrons. Twelve energy startups will be selected by the eight utility partners to participate in the six-month accelerator program.

The call for the world’s energy startups starts on 9 January 2017. The application deadline is on 28 February 2017. The selection period is in March 2017 and the selected startups will be announced in April 2017. Interested applicants can apply for the Free Electrons program at www.freelectrons.co.

Free Electron Partners

AusNet Services

We are passionate about helping entrepreneurs bring their technologies, ideas and products to the global marketplace, and look forward to mentoring them as they turn their energy start-ups into viable businesses that enable us to transform the energy industry globally.

Chad Hymas, Executive General Manager, AusNet Services

AusNet Services is a major player in the Australian energy industry. We are Victoria’s largest energy delivery service business owning and operating approximately $11 billion of electricity and gas distribution assets that connect into more than 1.3 million Victorian homes and businesses. The energy landscape is transforming and so are we. We are looking for new ways to move energy with significant investment in creating energy solutions to meet tomorrow’s needs. More information at www.ausnetservices.com.au.

Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA)

Dubai is at the centre of a region that is emerging as a major force in the global economy, and it is seen as a leader in promoting innovation, sustainability and economic diversity. Dubai is keen to encourage collaboration between the public and private sectors to achieve a green economy. Public-private partnerships are key to this, as is the goal to make Dubai a global hub for green finance and a green economy.

Dr. Ammar Matar Rashed Almazrouei, Vice President of Innovation, DEWA

Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) is committed to promoting Dubai’s vision through the delivery of sustainable electricity and water services at a world-class level of reliability, efficiency and safety in an environment that nurtures innovation with a competent workforce and effective partnerships; supporting the sustainability of resources. More information at www.dewa.gov.ae.

ESB (Electricity Supply Board)

We are excited about the prospect of working with a pool of startups from across the world, learn from them and offer them the opportunity to trial and develop their products/services in Ireland and the UK. At ESB we are very focused on bringing new cutting edge solutions to our customer base.

Paul Mulvaney, Executive Director of Innovation, ESB (Electricity Supply Board)

ESB is Ireland’s leading energy company, operating across the full spectrum of the electricity market: from generation, through transmission and distribution to supply. In addition, ESB extracts further value at certain points along this chain: supplying gas, using our networks to carry fibre for telecommunications, developing electric vehicle public charging infrastructure and an international consultancy arm which has worked in 120 countries globally. More information at www.esb.ie/innovation.

EDP (Energias de Portugal)

Opening up the utility world to the startups, providing them with a global customer base, accelerating deal execution with the utilities, that’s what Free Electrons is all about. I can’t think of a better opportunity for a startup operating in this space.

Luis Manuel, Executive Board Member, EDP Innovation

EDP is an energy producer, distributor and retailer with around 12 million customers in Portugal, Spain and Brazil. EDP has around 25GW of power production capacity of which 10GW are wind power generation, making us the 4th largest wind power producer in the world and 3rd in the US, and 5GW are hydro. Our renewable power business is present in 14 countries including US, Brazil and several European countries. More company information at www.edp.pt and startup support program information at www.edpstarter.com’

innogy

It’s a perfect match – smart startup ideas meet a transforming corporate that is re-inventing itself and has established lean and agile structures that speak “startup” and “corporate” language alike. We can help startups scale fast, startups can help us with the best possible products. We go outside to innovate from within.

Florian Kolb, Managing Director, innogy New Ventures LLC and Stefan Padberg, Managing Director, innogy New Ventures, LLC

 

innogy SE is a European energy company, offering sustainable and innovative energy solutions. With its three business areas of renewables, grid & infrastructure as well as retail, it addresses the requirements of a modern, decarbonized, decentralized and digital energy world. More information at www.innogy.com.

Origin Energy

Origin sees enormous potential for combining the most innovative new ideas from across the globe with companies capable of delivering them at significant scale. By leveraging all the expertise of the many partners involved, we are confident great outcomes can be achieved for customers.

Anthony Lucas, Executive General Manager, Future Energy and Business Development, Origin Energy

Origin is an Australian integrated energy solutions provider with leading positions across energy retailing, power generation and natural gas production. Origin has a rapidly growing renewable energy portfolio, and was the world’s first energy company to adopt all seven ‘We Mean Business Coalition’ initiatives, joining a worldwide group of non-government organisations, signatory companies and institutional investors committed to leadership on climate change. Origin is also scaling up its capabilities in digital metering and data and analytics to create more innovative and differentiated energy solutions for its millions of customers. More information at www.originenergy.com.au.

Singapore Power (SP)

At Singapore Power, we are excited to partner with promising startups from around the world to re-imagine and transform the future of energy. The Free Electrons Global Accelerator program is where the two worlds will collide, disrupt and turn uncertainties into great opportunities. This is the moment to redefine value creation for the new generation of electricity prosumers.

May Liew, Director of Strategic Development, Singapore Power

Singapore Power Group (SP) is a leading energy utility group in the Asia Pacific. It owns and operates electricity and gas transmission and distribution businesses in Singapore and Australia, and district cooling businesses in Singapore and China. More than 1.4 million industrial, commercial and residential customers in Singapore benefit from SP’s world-class transmission, distribution and market support services. The networks in Singapore are amongst the most reliable and cost-effective worldwide. More information at www.singaporepower.com.sg.

Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO)

Free Electrons will connect us with next-generation business models and technologies that can help us overcome various challenges.

Shin Akimoto, Director of Innovation, TEPCO

Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, Inc. (TSE: 9501), headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, is the largest utility in Japan serving more than 29 million homes and businesses. Worldwide the company has more than 74 subsidiaries and affiliates in 8 countries and employs approximately 43,330 people. Consolidated revenue for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2016, totaled 6.8 trillion Japanese yen. The company was established in 1951 and is listed on the First Section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange. For more information, visit www.tepco.co.jp/en/corpinfo.

New Energy Nexus

New Energy Nexus supports clean, smart and distributed startups worldwide by facilitating collaboration and innovation between industry experts, accelerators and entrepreneurs that are transforming tomorrow’s energy systems. New Energy Nexus is powered by the California Clean Energy Fund (CalCEF). The California Clean Energy Fund (CalCEF) has been investing in, and accelerating clean energy innovation and startup ecosystems for over a decade. CalCEF is tightly integrated in a web of clean energy research institutions, startup accelerators, and investors. More information at www.energynexus.co. Find us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Youtube.

swissnex San Francisco

Swissnex San Francisco fosters international collaboration in the fields of education, research and innovation. With a belief that entrepreneurship is crucial to the clean energy transition, swissnex launched the SAFT – Energy startup solutions for 2050 accelerator program in 2015. swissnex brings over 13 years of experience connecting innovators with the right contacts and resources in Silicon Valley that they need to take their ventures to the next level. More information at www.swissnexsanfrancisco.org.

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