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Wanted: Start-ups that can find solutions to global clean energy needs

Dewa launches year-long Free Electrons programme to recruit start-ups worldwide

Gulf News

Dubai: Start-up companies in the UAE and around the globe that can come up with solutions to identify global clean energy needs, you are wanted, officials announced on Monday.

The Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa) on Monday launched the Free Electrons programme, a global energy accelerators programme that links the world’s most promising start-ups with leading utility companies to co-create the future of energy.

The programme sets the framework for cooperation between eight leading global utilities, including Dewa, and 25 of the largest clean energy accelerators in the world to hasten the clean energy transition. It works by recruiting and supporting the best start-ups to help market leaders pave the way for a future where “energy is smart, clean and easily accessible to everyone on earth”.

Senior officials from Dewa and representatives from the programme’s member organisations were also present during the launch.

Saeed Mohammad Al Tayer, Managing Director and CEO of Dewa, said launching the Free Electrons programme in Dubai contributes to the UAE’s efforts to enhance its position as an effective player in making the future.

“Its importance lies mainly in being an integrated framework for establishing partnerships and innovating effective solutions with a global impact to combat current challenges and keep pace with new developments,” Al Tayer said.

Peter Terium, CEO of Innogy, a European energy company, and speaker at the event, said utility companies need to innovate and challenge themselves if they want to be on top of their game and not be left behind.

“The digital revolution will be the fundamental driver and enabler for the reshaping of the entire energy sector. For today’s energy companies, it’s a threat at first glance or indeed it’s a chance at the same time,” Terium said.

“New digital and exponential business models are a disruption to the established market leaders and there can only be one consequence: Utilities have to become more flexible, innovative, and digital.”

Through the programme, utility companies can link with any qualifying start-up company anywhere in the globe to drive next-generation ideas in clean energy, energy efficiency, among others.

“We’re scouring the globe for entrepreneurs to apply. There’s a selection process and 12 of them will get the magic ticket and join the programme and go on this year-long process. We will finalise deals by September,” Terium said.

Two winning start-ups will get a total of $200,000 (Dh734,000) plus an opportunity to meet the best minds in Silicon Valley, mentoring support, among others.

Current projections show that clean disruptions in energy and transportation in terms of solar energy and electric vehicles are already happening and will reach their tipping point in 2020, said Tony Seba, author of ‘Clean Disruption of Energy and Transportation’ and speaker at the launch.