Free Electrons: 28 Pilots Already Launched between Startups and Utilities

Product name:Free Electrons: 28 Pilots

2018/07/12 update

Industry:Alt. Energy

Module 2 was hosted in San Francisco with Top 15 startups

TOKYO, Jul 11, 2018 - (JCN Newswire) - Free Electrons, the first global energy accelerator program that connects the most promising energy startups with the world's leading utility companies, wrapped its second module with an impressive total of 28 running pilots, with the final module in Berlin to come.

The 2018 edition opened with a successful Bootcamp in Lisbon, followed by Module 1 in Sydney/Melbourne, where initial pilots were scoped between utilities and startups. Module 2 took place in Silicon Valley, the global tech hub, and focused on growth and learning.

Module 2 featured sessions where utilities and startups shared information about on-going pilots, a key for maximizing pilot performance. Earlier, startups could have only one pilot, but with this module they had the opportunity to work on multiple pilots. Knowledge was exchanged and the playing field opened for developing new relationships and opportunities.

The program also allowed for utilities to cooperate with each other on pilots, which is unique, and for startups to work with more utilities. Having gone through the learning curve with a utility once, they were now able to scale and start other pilots much faster.

SOLshare, already in a blockchain-enabled on-going pilot with Innogy which allow donors to choose individual or group users (like a village), is preparing a second pilot with TEPCO to develop and field-test technology for enhancing data from DC microgrids. Another example, Verv, is now preparing to pilot their home energy assistant with ESB, who have just completed a pilot, and will soon offer Sterblue's solution for monitoring wind farms.

"We wanted a safe, fast and accurate solution to inspect our wind turbines, to minimize maintenance costs & generator downtime. Sterblue were super-accommodating of all our requirements," says John McKiernan, Head of External Collaboration at ESB.

"Sometimes we find it easier to work with startups than larger companies. They're flexible, enthusiastic and listen intently to customer's needs. This program is a tremendous catalyst for accelerating change and innovation at ESB."

The third day represented one of the module's high notes with the Level-Up Energy Innovation event, which presented the Free Electron participants to the Silicon Valley ecosystem. Each of the 15 startups were each given the opportunity to showcase their solutions to an audience comprised of Silicon Valley investors and tech experts.

The module closed with an announcement of the new pilots which had been defined throughout the week and an overview of the road map ahead, towards the final module and closing stage in Berlin.

"Naming this program Free Electrons says a lot about the utilities' shared perspective and view regarding the evolution of power and energy industry and markets around the world," says Luis Manuel, Executive Board Member at EDP Innovation.

"Electricity as a commodity will tend to lose value over time, so we need to develop new business models and services to add value for our shareholders, and they will certainly revolve around digital, data and data management."

The Free Electrons Program

This year the program received 515 applications from 65 different countries, a testament to the global reach of the initiative. After a selection process that culminated in April with the Lisbon Bootcamp, 15 startups qualified for the acceleration phase. The final stage, which closes the program, will take place in Berlin in October.

The three international modules are the cornerstone of Free Electrons, during which the program participants will work closely with local players, utilities, mentors and other resources in order to accelerate their company's growth.

The utilities backing Free Electrons are leading innovation in the energy sector. This project embodies their commitment to work with startups in building the future of the sector with clean, smart and widely accessible energy.

The Free Electrons members are American Electric Power (USA), AusNet Services (Australia), CLP (Hong Kong), DEWA (Dubai), EDP (Portugal), ESB (Ireland), Innogy (Germany), Origin Energy (Australia), SP Group (Singapore) and TEPCO (Japan). The program is supported by Beta-i (Portugal).

About Free Electrons
The Free Electrons Program is the premier opportunity for startups in the energy space to grow and develop their businesses. The energy market has experienced rapid change with the rise of renewables, decentralization of the energy system, regulatory uncertainties and disruptive new technologies. To stay ahead, utilities need to source more innovation externally, and consider 'beyond utilities' business models.. More at

Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, Inc. is the largest utility in Japan, serving millions of homes and businesses. Worldwide the company has more than 34 subsidiaries and 32 affiliates in 8 countries and employs approximately 42,060 people. Consolidated revenue for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2018, totaled 5.8 trillion Japanese yen. The company was established in 1951 and is listed (TSE: 9501) on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. For more information visit

Copyright 2018 JCN Newswire. All rights reserved.


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