Global energy startup accelerator registers first N. American utility


American Electric Power (AEP) has joined Free Electrons, a Global Energy Startup Accelerator.

Nicholas K Akins, CEO at AEP, said: “Joining the Free Electrons accelerator programme gives us access to the world’s most innovative technology entrepreneurs in the energy space.”

Operations of Free Electrons

AEP is the first utility from North America to enter the Free Electrons programme.

AEP joins eight utility members of Free Electrons including Ausnet Services (Australia), DEWA (Dubai), EDP (Portugal), ESB (Ireland), Innogy (Germany), Origin Energy (Australia), SP Group (Singapore) and Tokyo Electric Power (Japan).

The programme is also supported by Beta-i (Portugal) and has 12 energy technology startups registered.

Utilities and technology startups will connect by attending a bootcamp and three international modules.

The bootcamp will be held in Lisbon from 3 to 6 April. The 1st module will be held in Sydney and Melbourne (Australia), the 2nd Module in Silicon Valley (USA) and the final stage in Berlin (Germany), in October.

Last year, Free Electrons led to the signing of contracts worth $2 million with a pipeline of ongoing opportunities surpassing $12 million

AEP and services

“Our long-term strategy includes building smarter energy infrastructure and delivering new technologies and custom products and services to our customers. We’re excited to help cultivate the cutting-edge energy solutions that are being developed around the globe.”

Stefan Padberg, managing director at Innogy, said his company “…is excited to welcome AEP, one of the most innovative energy companies in North America, to Free Electrons. We’ve successfully worked with them on past projects and are looking forward to collaborating with them on advancing energy innovation…”

AEP is a recognised leader in the utilities industry and as an innovator owing to the company’s efforts in modernising its operations in line with new technologies.

AEP has plans to invest $18 billion in smart technologies, renewable energy resources and upgrading its energy network with new devices and infrastructure between 2018 and 2020.

The investments will help improve customer services and enable the provision of clean and affordable energy to consumers, according to AEP.

In 2017, the utility sold 194 million MWh and generated $15 billion in revenue.

“We are thrilled to have American Electric Power join Free Electrons and contribute a US perspective to our global acceleration program”, says Hirokazu Yamaguchi, Executive General Manager, Global Innovation & Investments at TEPCO.