Free Electrons

Connecting startups with the world’s leading energy utilities

Free Electrons, the ultimate Open Innovation program

Startups will work alongside leading energy utilities from around the globe to deliver cutting edge solutions and co-create the future of energy. The program will focus on working together to pilot projects, commercially deploy products,  facilitate investment opportunities, learning and development. 

In its 6th edition, and brining in over 3500 applications, utilities and startups have collaborated on over 150 pilots resulting in USD $20million in pilots, $30million in deployments and $30million in direct investment – total deals to date exceed USD $80million.

Our Offer

Why should startups join Free Electrons?

The program includes a series of modules held across the globe (physically and digitally), where startups work closely with The Utilities, local accelerators and mentors to refine their company’s solution and explore options to jump start their company’s growth.

Each module is structured to facilitate ongoing conversations between startups and utilities to refine value propositions, seed pilot projects, and explore investment opportunities.

Free Electrons offers the chance for startups to:

  • Test Solutions

    Test their solution in the energy sector in partnership with utilities

  • Develop Pilots

    Develop a viable pilot side by side with the utilities

  • Receive Feedback

    Receive input, feedback and insight into their product/service and business

  • Gain Exposure

    Gain exposure to American, European and Asian markets

  • Build Relationships

    Building relationships within the startup community to share learnings and experiences

  • Grow Networks

    Grow their networks by immersing themselves in local and global ecosystems

  • Contract and Receive Investment

    Opportunity to sell their products to utilities and seek investment from utilities. Deals to date exceed $20m

  • Work with Open Innovation experts

    Work with open innovation partner Beta-i on strategy, approach and receive advice on pitching to corporates

  • Access Mentors & Experts

    Access a global pool of mentors and experts matched to their unique requirements


Challenge yourself with Free Electrons

We envision a future where smart, clean and accessible energy will transform every aspect of our lives and we’d like to join forces with startups to make this happen.

The Utilities are committed to supporting startups to transform the energy market with next-generation ideas. We are looking for startups that have already raised money, created a working prototype, and earned a few battle scars along the way that we can grow with and learn from.

Similarly to the previous editions, Free Electrons is addressing several challenges in the energy sector. Embracing its resolution through innovation, the selected startups for Free Electrons 2022 will be tackling the following challenges:

  • Clean energy iconClean energy
  • Energy management and efficiency iconEnergy management and efficiency
  • Customer solutions iconCustomer solutions
  • Smart grids and energy communities iconSmart grids and energy communities
  • Energy storage iconEnergy storage
  • Energy access iconEnergy access
  • Mobility iconMobility
  • Customer and utility resiliency iconCustomer and utility resiliency
  • Facility and asset management iconFacility and asset management
  • Cooling solutions iconCooling solutions
  • Connectivity & Communication solutionsConnectivity & Communication solutions

Why should startups apply?


Why apply to FE 2020 Thumbnail
If you want to grow your business, and get it out there to lots of customers across the globe, then go for it and submit an application.

Nicholas Woolley
It’s absolutely worth it, you learn a lot in just a very short amount of time.

Marcel Smit

Apply, right now. It’s amazing you won’t regret it!

Fredrich Rojahn

For us, the Free Electrons program is a really great opportunity to go international, it also serves as validation that what we do is really valuable, not only in our home markets but across the globe.

Benjamin Schaule

Its quite important for our core strategy, to get in touch with The Utilities but it’s also quite important to meet with the other startups and companies to build our ecosystem.

Thorsten Heller

Greenbird Integration Technology
We think that Free Electrons is the best place for utility business development, having the opportunity to talk to 10 of the biggest utilities in the world – there is no other place that we can do that all at once so fast.

Tagg Jefferson

Talking to senior executives from the largest utilities around the world, developing close personal relationships and leveraging those to get real deals done.

Yoav Lurie

Simple Energy
We’ve connected into this amazing network of startup companies, we’ve also had the opportunity to meet some of the most innovative utilities in the world.

Sara Bell

Tempus Energy
We benefited mostly from the honesty and the candid answers that the utilities gave us.

Michael Shalyt

We have made great friends and we have developed a proposition that is now really answering a need and we understand the challenges the utilities are facing.

Louise Rogerson

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The Utilities share their perspectives on why Free Electrons works

Opening up the utility world to the startups, providing them with a global customer base, accelerating deal execution with the utilities, that’s what Free Electrons is all about. I can’t think of a better opportunity for a startup operating in this space.

Luis Manuel

Executive Board Member,
EDP Innovation
Origin sees the enormous potential of combining the best ideas with those companies capable of delivering them at significant scale. By leveraging all the expertise of the many partners involved we are confident extraordinary outcomes will be reached.

Anthony Lucas

Executive General Manager, Future Energy and Business Development,
Origin Energy
We are excited about the prospect of working with a pool of startups from across the world, learn from them and offer them the opportunity to trial and develop their products/services in Ireland and the UK. At ESB we are very focused on bringing new cutting edge solutions to our customer base.

Jerry O’Sullivan

ESB Deputy Chief Executive,
ESB (Electricity Supply Board)
It's a perfect match - smart startup ideas meet a transforming corporate that is re-inventing itself and has established lean and agile structures that speak “startup” and “corporate” language alike. We can help startups scale fast; startups can help us with the best possible products. We go outside to innovate from within.

Stefan Padberg

Managing Director,
E.ON Innovation Co-investments Inc
Joining the Free Electrons accelerator program gives us access to the world’s most innovative technology entrepreneurs in the energy space. 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.

Nicholas K. Akins

Chairman, President and CEO,
The Free Electrons Accelerator Program enables CLP to work with some of the world’s smartest and most dynamic innovators on solutions to 21st century, digital energy challenges. With our industry leadership across Asia Pacific markets spanning Greater China to Australia, CLP is excited by the opportunity to partner with the best startups to create transformative new energy technologies and applications for individuals, businesses, cities and governments.

Austin R. Bryan

Senior Director - Innovation,
CLP Holdings Limited
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