Singapore Power (SP) has teamed up with seven other utilities to launch the Free Electrons Global Accelerator programme which aims to connect startups specialising in clean energy, energy efficient and mobility, digitisation and on-demand customer services.
The seven other partners include AusNet Services, Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), Electricity Supply Board (ESB), Energias de Portugal (EDP), Germany’s Innogy, Origin Energy and Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco).
These eight utilities represent a global footprint covering 73 million end customers across more than 40 countries, with a combined net income of $148 billion, according to SP.
Supported by two accelerator partners from Silicon Valley – New Energy Nexus and swissnex San Francisco – the programme will see 12 startup ventures selected to participate in the six-month long accelerator programme.
This will enable selected ventures operating in the energy sector to potentially test their products and services on the massive customer base of all eight utility providers, given their large global footprint.
According to its website, the accelerator will be scouting for startups that are already validated, having reached a proof-of-concept stage (i.e. working prototype) and secured funding.
Selected ventures will undergo modules sited in Silicon Valley (San Francisco), Lisbon and Dublin, and Singapore where they will gain exposure to various global markets and have the opportunity to interact and collaborate with major utility companies.
This comes at a time when the global energy market has experienced rapid changes in recent years with the rise of renewables, decentralisation of the energy system, regulatory uncertainties and disruptive new technologies.
Applications for the accelerator programme opened on 9 January 2016 and will close on 28 February 2016. It is targeting startups dealing with clean energy, smart grids, energy efficiency, energy management, energy access, the Internet of Things (IoT) and the digitisation related to contemporary utilities.
Chad Hymas, Executive General Manager, AusNet Services, stated: “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.”