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EDP launches new Free Electrons programme for energy startups

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Applications are open for the new edition of EDP’s Free Electrons, which is intended to support the most innovative and promising proposals from startups in the energy sector. 

  • Startups in the clean energy sector can apply until 28 January 2023.
  • The projects selected will receive support from EDP and its partners to scale up their business.
  • The Portuguese company has invested more than €37 million in pilot projects, investments and businesses with startups that participated in the programme since its inception in 2017.

Portuguese electric utilities company EDP (ELI:EDP) has opened applications for the seventh edition of Free Electrons, a global innovation programme in the energy sector. The group has partnered with other major energy companies to support startups that can contribute to a more sustainable and innovative planet. 

Free Electrons is looking for solutions that can have an impact on the energy transition in areas such as renewable energy, smart grids, energy management, sustainable mobility, energy storage, flexibility, green hydrogen and decarbonisation. Registrations are open until 28 January 2023.

Candidates who are chosen for the 2023 edition will have access to the various business units of EDP, which is present in 29 markets, to refine their business strategy. EDP said they may have access to specialised teams with whom they can test their solutions, as well as the potential avenue to market through the millions of customers of the utilities involved.

Since the scheme was established in 2017, the company has invested more than €37 million in pilot projects, investments and businesses with startups that participated in the programme. 

At the close of applications, the review process will continue until 28 February when a group of startups will be invited to participate in an online pitch event, taking place from 13 March, which will determine the longlist for the in-person Bootcamp Module. This will be held in Dublin, Ireland in May where the longlist startups will showcase their solutions and their teams, and utilities will decide who will be shortlisted to continue in the scheme.

The selected startups will participate in two modules in Australia and Hong Kong or India. Finalists are provided with mentorship from industry experts, support with industry engagement and networking opportunities. Free Electrons also allows utility partners to cooperate with each other on pilots, with startups seeing joint projects emerge with multiple utilities and fellow startup companies, allowing them to scale faster.

Alex Zorniger at Power to Hydrogen, the 2022 Free Electrons winner, said: “We recommend Free Electrons to any startups that have solutions ready to deploy for the future of the clean energy grid. The utilities put a great deal of effort into the program, which means they are motivated to develop pilots with each company that makes it through the selection process. The multi-stage nature of the program also keeps everyone on track and discourages opportunities from falling through the cracks. If you’re looking for real business development opportunities to deploy your technology with leaders in the utility industry, this program can’t be beat.”

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