Melbourne next stop in world’s biggest energy start-up prize

8 May 2018

Melbourne welcomes 15 start-up finalists this week to compete for USD$200,000 prize in the 2018 Free Electrons program as they seek to revolutionise the way we use energy in the future. Ten international utility companies, including AusNet, have selected the final 15 start-ups from over 500 applications. The finalists represent some of the world’s most innovative minds in the energy sector and are further evidence of a rapidly evolving industry. Pioneering new technologies in areas such as smart grids, customer solutions, Internet of Things (IoT), digitisation, clean energy and energy efficiency will change the way we consume, purchase and in some cases even sell energy in the future.

Besides the prize money for the winner, the Free Electrons program offers the finalists an opportunity to work collaboratively with local players, utilities and mentors in order to accelerate their company’s growth. In return, utilities get an early insight into potentially disruptive technologies and ideas.

A key element of the program is the International Market Expedition across four countries which this year sees the best and brightest start-ups visiting Sydney and Melbourne this week.

“It’s unique and exciting to bring together the most innovative entrepreneurs and some of the world’s largest utilities. The start-ups bring the game-changing ideas and the utilities bring scale and a very large, international customer base”, said Chad Hymas, Executive General Manager of Commercial Energy Services at AusNet. “It’s an incredible opportunity which benefits both parties and will ultimately empower our customers around energy efficiency and provide cleaner, more reliable and affordable energy.”

Melbourne based Relectrify, a company that upcycles retired electric car batteries for storing residential solar energy or providing power back-up to homes, caught the eye of the utilities and was judged to have enormous and immediate potential in the industry. Valentin Muenzel, CEO and Co-Founder of Relectrify said “We are immensely pleased to be one of the 15 companies in the 2018 Free Electrons program. Working with ten leading power utilities from around the world will allow Relectrify to further accelerate the positive impacts our battery life-extending technology will unlock”.

Free Electrons continues to excite and inspire everyone who is involved. The program has become a highlight of the calendar year and we continue to look toward a future of clean, smart and accessible energy.

Full list of finalists

  • Adaptricity (Switzerland) Smart Grids - helps utilities make their power grids smarter and reduce costs.
  • EQuota Energy (China) Smart Grids - all about energy-saving carbon management, based on Big Data
  • Fresh Energy (Germany) Customer Solutions - generates unparalleled insights based on smart meter data
  • Greenbird (Norway) IoT & Digitization - provides Metercloud, the Smart Utility Hub empowering Smart Grid
  • Gridcure (United States) Smart Grids - provides simple, off the shelf analytics for power utilities
  • GridWatch (Ireland) Smart Grids - develops & sells monitoring solutions to Utilties
  • Howz (United Kingdom) Business Model Innovation - learns your daily routine and alerts you to anomalies or changes
  • Jungle AI (Portugal) IoT & Digitization - builds predictive intelligence to remove uncertainty
  • Kisensum, Inc. (United States) Smart Grids - Development and delivery of a software Energy Management storage platform
  • Loqr (Portugal) IoT & Digitization - provides Digital Identity Authentication security solutions
  • SOLshare (Bangladesh) Smart Grids - designed the world’s first and only low-cost direct-current (DC) bi-directional power meter and solar charge controller
  • Orison (United States) Smart Grids - All-in-One, Self-Install Energy Storage
  • Relectrify (Australia) Clean Energy - Making energy storage affordable
  • Sterblue (France) Energy Efficiency – they automate every drone industrial inspections
  • Verv Energy (United Kingdom) IoT & Digitization - created a peer-to-peer energy trading platform based on AI

About AusNet

AusNet is Victoria's largest energy delivery service, owning and operating approximately $11 billion of electricity and gas distribution and transmission assets that connect into more than 1.3 million Victorian homes and businesses. AusNet is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX: AST) and Singapore Exchange.

About Free Electrons

Founded in 2017 by ten world-leading utilities, Free Electrons selects the world’s best future energy concepts to collaborate with leading energy companies and experts to accelerate their growth.

Free Electrons 2017 generated an overall US$2 million in contracts between the 12 start-ups and participating utilities, with a pipeline of ongoing opportunities surpassing US$12 million.

Free Electrons was founded by AusNet (Australia), DEWA (Dubai), EDP (Portugal), ESB (Ireland), Innogy (Germany), Origin Energy (Australia), SP Group (Singapore) and Tokyo Electric Power Company (Japan), with also the participation of American Electric Power (USA). The program is supported by entrepreneur support specialist Beta-i (Portugal).

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