Free Electrons is an energy innovation program that has kicked off its 2021 edition by calling worldwide startups to submit their innovation proposals, the deadline is March 29. The platform enters its fifth edition backed by proven results over time in terms of pilots (+10M USD, and increasing), commercial rollouts (~20M USD) and direct investment (+20M USD), with total deals reaching 50M USD.
Free Electrons is a global energy consortium composed of partners such as American Electric Power (USA), AusNet Services (Australia), CLP (Hong Kong, China), DEWA – Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dubai), EDP – Energias de Portugal (Portugal), E.ON (Germany), ESB – Electricity Supply Board (Ireland), Origin Energy (Australia) and SP Group (Singapore).
The Free Electrons 2021 edition is taking place over an 8 month period and could be hosted both digitally or physically, depending on Covid-19 circumstances and restrictions. Each program module has a host destination based on the utilities’ country of origin:
- Applications– 4 Jan – 29 Mar
- Bootcamp – 10-13 May (hosted by DEWA – Dubai)
- Master Module: 21 – 24 June (hosted by AusNet Services – Melbourne, Australia)
- Mini module 1: 28 – 29 July – (hosted by EDP – Lisbon, Portugal)
- Mini module 2: 22 – 23 September (hosted by CLP – Hong Kong, China)
- Final module: 9 – 11 November – (hosted by ESB – Dublin, Ireland)
Free Electrons has a lasting goal of solving global problems with a global program, so the platform is more than a pilot-oriented program. It’s a global energy startup program fostering long-lasting partnerships between world-leading utilities and the most innovative energy startups to develop cutting edge solutions, solving the challenges facing the future of energy while being a clear opportunity for startups to refine their strategy using new insights, testing and product trials.
The utilities seek to explore many new trends, including new energy systems (distributed and digitally enabled); customer behaviour changes towards energy consumption; electricity and mobility industries convergence; renewable generation rises with competitive new entrants; Digital and emerging technologies rise and impacts; and the regulatory push for a low-carbon agenda.
Regarding business types for collaboration and partnership, the Free Electrons consortium envisions 2021 as a year to further explore energy variations such as customer-oriented solutions, energy management & efficiency, mobility, smart grids, energy storage, connectivity & communications, clean energy, energy access, customer & utility resiliency, cooling solutions, facility & assets management.
The top tech priorities from Free Electrons corporates for 2021 involves artificial intelligence, advanced software, the internet of things, blockchain, automation robotics, cybersecurity, AR / VR and 3D / 4D printing. Key goals in collaborating with startups are set up around new revenues solutions; cost reduction; performance improvement; and customer resiliency improvement.