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Back to Press Releases 12 April 2018

Limerick start-up selected for ESB-backed global energy accelerator programme

Gridwatch MAC is one of only 15 international start-ups selected to work with international utilities and compete for $200,000 prize

Gridwatch MAC, the Irish energy company that specialises in smart grid monitoring, has been selected as one of only 15 international companies to participate in Free Electrons, the world’s first accelerator programme that connects energy start-ups with global utilities. The Free Electrons programme, which is backed by ESB and 9 other utilities from around the world, received over 515 applications from companies in 65 countries. Gridwatch will work with international energy utilities, including ESB, to refine and test their product with the potential to reach 73 million customers located in 40 countries.

GridWatch MAC is an electronics and software company based in Limerick that provides smart data monitoring for energy utilities. ESB and its international counterparts will work with Gridwatch and the other finalists across modules in Sydney, Silicon Valley, and Berlin to develop their products and grow their business for the international markets, in order to accelerate their company’s growth.

Paul Mulvaney, Head of Innovation at ESB said: “We are delighted to be supporting clean-tech start-ups from around the world to share expertise and ultimately deliver new energy products and services to our customers in the Irish and UK market. The fact ESB is working with three participants of last year’s Free Electrons programme to roll out new products is testament to the success of this hands-on initiative.”

Dr. John J O’Flaherty, CEO and Technical Director of Gridwatch MAC said: “Entry to the Free Electrons programme is an amazing opportunity for sales of our GridWatch smart grid monitoring solutions to take off. The first bootcamp in Lisbon has been memorable, we met such great people and learned so much. We are really excited about the upcoming bootcamps and developing collaborative smart grid monitoring pilots with a number of the Free Electrons Utilities.”  

The aim of Free Electrons 2018, is to recruit energy start-ups that will drive the next generation of ideas in clean energy, energy efficiency, e-mobility, digitisation, and on-demand customer services. At the end of the programme the winning start-up will receive $200,000 in prize money.  

The success of Free Electrons can be measured by the number of contracts signed between utilities and participating start-ups in the 2017 programme, worth approx. $12 million dollars.

ESB is currently trialling products with participants including solar designers HST Solar, smart grid experts Depsys and the winners of the 2017 programme BEON who specialise in residential solar products.


About ESB

ESB operates right across the electricity market: from generation, through transmission and distribution to the supply of customers with an expanding presence in the Great Britain generation market. In addition we extract further value through supplying gas and using our networks to carry fibre for telecommunications.  ESB is the owner of the distribution and transmission networks in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.  It has a 47% share of generation in the all-island market and a 37% share of electricity supply in the all-island market with 1.4 million customer accounts. 

ESB contributes over €2billion annually to the Irish economy through dividends, investments, taxes and jobs. ESB provides significant employment both directly, with 7,600 employees, and indirectly through contractors and service providers. Read more here,

About Free Electrons

Free Electrons is the global energy start up accelerator program that connects the world’s most promising start-ups with leading utility companies.

Free Electrons is backed by an international alliance of utilities and accelerators: AusNet Services, American Electric Power (AEP), Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), ESB (Electricity Supply Board), EDP (Energias de Portugal), innogy, Origin Energy, Singapore Power (SP) and Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO). Read more about the programme,  

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About GridWatch MAC

GridWatch is a family of smartgrid monitoring products that enable Utilities to better manage their electrical distribution networks by reducing their costs, improving their capacity and service quality, and improving their Grid Awareness.

Developed by MAC’s very experienced team specifically for Electrical Utilities, GridWatch uses patented split-core current sensors to meet the tight technical challenges of Medium Voltage and Low Voltage monitoring to provide accurate, affordable, and mass-deployable solutions to the grid edge.

Find out more about Gridwatch at