Ed’s note: Welcome to the Start-up Zone


Innovation in the energy sector has led to an interesting dynamic. Established utilities are working with start-ups to deliver new opportunities, technologies and insights in a way that would never have been anticipated previously. While it is usual for utilities to work closely with manufacturers and vendors of various products, the move into helping start-ups gain momentum and develop products is new – but significant.

A quick search of the Crunchbase.com database lists more than 497 ’top’ renewable energy start-ups, 202 clean tech and 132 for energy management. Bear in mind these are just the start-ups they consider the ’top’.  

Start-up insights recently released Innovators Guide is a survey of 15,000+ energy start-ups across blockchain, big data, microgrids, storage, smart meters and renewables. They also spoke with companies working with digitalisation, artificial intelligence and advanced analytics – all of them seeing potential to offer a new service or product offering in the energy space.

But what exactly is a start-up? There is no universally accepted definition. According to Wikipedia, “A startup or start up is a company initiated by individual founders or entrepreneurs to search for a repeatable and scalable business model. Founders design startups to effectively develop and validate a scalable business model. Hence, the concepts of startups and entrepreneurship are similar.”

Investopedia defines a start-up as “a young company that is just beginning to develop. Startups are usually small and initially financed and operated by a handful of founders or one individual. These companies offer a product or service that is not currently being offered elsewhere in the market, or that the founders believe is being offered in an inferior manner.”

However you define a start-up, we believe it’s about growth, innovation, technology and a state of mind which is focused on getting the job done and changing the world.

The Clarion Power and Energy Group is passionate about start-ups and at a number of the Utility Week events, you have the opportunity of engaging with these at the Initiate! hub sessions. To further support and bring attention to the role of start-ups in the new energy paradigm, Smart Energy International is launching a Start-up Zone on our website, and we encourage all start-ups and start-up incubators and hubs to reach out to us as we’d love to feature your work and the work of these enterprising additions to the energy space.  

In particular, we’d love to hear from utilities that are working with start-ups or who have incubators.

Do you have a story to share? Reach out and let us know! editorial@smart-energy.com

Until next time