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Back to Press Releases 10 October 2019

ESB to roll out pilot projects with five international start-ups

  • Projects with start-ups to focus on renewable energy, maximising generation assets and autonomous trading
  • The start-ups from UK, Germany, Switzerland and Portugal are participants in this year’s Free Electrons Programme, supported by ESB

10 October 2019

ESB is to trial pilot projects with five international energy start-ups, cementing its commitment to delivering value-driven solutions for a low-carbon world.

The start-ups – (UK), Solandeo (Germany), Akselos SA (Switzerland), Enging and Save2Compete (both Portugal) – have been selected by ESB to help lead the transition to the next generation of clean, efficient energy and electric transport.

The five start-ups were finalists in this year’s Free Electrons Accelerator Programme of which ESB is a founding member. The programme is designed to support start-ups who are working to transform the energy market with next-generation ideas. ESB and nine other global utilities work with each of the companies to refine and test their products with the potential to reach 80 million customers in more than 40 countries.  

Denis O’Leary, ESB’s Head of Innovation, says: “ESB is delighted to partner with five of the world’s most exciting and innovative energy start-ups as part of the hugely successful Free Electrons Programme. This once again demonstrates the organisation’s commitment to supporting the brightest talent that are developing energy solutions for our customers. These are important steps as we lead the transition to a low-carbon future, with creative ideas, innovative thinking and new technologies at the heart of this transformation.”

Following a rigorous bootcamp event in Dublin earlier this year, 15 start-ups – including Irish based GridBeyond – were selected to compete in the programme.The UK-based claimed the coveted title, the $200,000 prize fund and is now working with ESB on a pilot project. builds software to make electric vehicle charging easier, greener and cheaper for energy utilities and car owners. ev energy’s platform will be configured to minimise carbon emissions on the grid and the trial will test customer value proposition in both UK and Ireland.

Following the success of last year’s programme, ESB partnered with start-ups Jungle AI and Sterblue on projects that include making the energy sector more sustainable and using drones to maximise the efficiency of wind turbines to reduce carbon emissions.


Notes to Editor

About ESB: ESB operates 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, energy services and using our networks to carry fibre for telecommunications. ESB is the owner of the distribution and transmission networks in the Republic of Ireland (via ESB Networks) and Northern Ireland (via Northern Ireland Electricity Networks Ltd).

ESB contributes almost €2 billion annually to the Irish economy through dividends, investments, taxes and jobs. ESB provides significant employment both directly, with over 7,800 employees, and indirectly through contractors and service providers.

About Free Electrons: Free Electrons is the global energy start-up accelerator programme 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 including: AusNet Services (Australia), Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dubai), ESB (Ireland), EDP (Portugal), innogy, Origin Energy (Australia), Singapore Power (Singapore) and Tokyo Electric Power Company (Japan). Read more about ESB’s involvement here:

About the Start-ups:

Akselos SA (Switzerland) - Akselos  has created the world’s fastest and most advanced engineering simulation technology, helping leading organisations protect large and complex assets by building digital twins for energy companies
 (UK) -'s is facilitating the transition towards a low carbon and sustainable economy, through technology, electric vehicles and other smart connected devices by making charging convenient, cheap and environmentally friendly.
Enging (Portugal) - Enging allows customers to monitor electrical motors and power transformers through an intelligent asset condition monitoring platform – ePreditMntc, based on the latest IoT technologies related to Industry 4.0.

Save2Compete (Portugal) - Save2Compete are Portuguese energy start-up who offer energy services with an aim to accelerate digital sales.

Solandeo (Germany) - Solandeo provides AI as a digital service for energy traders and grid operators, supporting better decision making by human experts – and, eventually, fully automated trading and grid management under AI supervision.