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Back to Press Releases 11 November 2021

Irish start-up KelTech IoT announced as winners at ESB-hosted Finale of Free Electrons 2021 in Dublin

  • KelTech IoT become the first-ever Irish start-up to win the international competition and receive $200,000 prize along with the opportunity to continue work with leading global utilities 
  • ESB hosted the Grand Finale event over three days live from a Dublin studio 

Thursday, 11 November 2021

KelTech IoT has today been announced as the winner at the ESB-hosted Grand Finale of this year’s Free Electrons programme. The Irish company was crowned the world’s best energy start-up of 2021 at the event after a final pitch presentation to some of the world’s leading utilities.

The Grand Finale event, hosted live by ESB in a Dublin studio, was the final stage of this year’s Free Electrons programme. Taking place from the 9th to 11th November, start-ups were given the chance to showcase their innovative energy solutions to an alliance of global utilities.

KelTech IoT becomes the first-ever Irish start-up to win the international competition as their smart and secure solutions to help power a more sustainable world proved popular with the judging panel. The company works with clients to support the development and delivery of innovative communication and energy networks, and solutions.

They are the fifth overall winner of the global accelerator programme that supports the brightest innovators who are working to transform the energy market. They will now receive a prize of $200,000 and will continue work with utility partners to support the development of energy solutions for customers around the world.

Commenting on ESB’s support for the Free Electrons programme, Jerry O’Sullivan, Deputy Chief Executive, ESB, said: “As a founding member of Free Electrons, ESB is proud to be leading the charge to discover the latest innovations that can help us on our journey to decarbonise the energy system and deliver a sustainable brighter future for the customers and communities we serve. ESB’s hosting of the Grand Finale event further demonstrates our commitment to work with our partners to deliver on this purpose. We congratulate KelTech IoT on winning this year’s programme and to all the start-ups that took part. At ESB, we will continue to play our role in connecting some of the world’s brightest minds with partner utilities that share their ambition.”

Commenting on their win, Mark Kellett, Managing Director of KelTech IoT, said: "We are incredibly proud to win this year's Free Electrons programme and become the first Irish start-up to do so. The Grand Finale event hosted by ESB has been a great way to end this year's competition. We would like to thank all of the start-ups we have shared this experience with and are now looking forward to continuing to work closely with partner utilities to bring our ideas to life that we hope will help power a more sustainable world."

Discussing ESB’s hosting of the Grand Finale event in Dublin, John McKiernan, Head of Innovation Pipeline, ESB, said: “ESB’s hosting of the Grand Finale event offers us, and our partner utilities, global market access to the world’s brightest energy start-ups. The high-quality pipeline of innovation, new technologies and learnings that were on display throughout this year’s programme will help advance clean energy initiatives around the world. To date, ESB has undertaken 23 Free Electrons pilots and we are now exchanging knowledge and results from these with our partners. We are proud to be a part of this global alliance and look forward to how this will help ESB deliver a low carbon future.”

On KelTech IoT’s success, Austin Bryan, Senior Director, Innovation & Ventures, CLP, said:“This unique proposition brings telecommunications and power together in a unique physical manner. KelTech IoT has engaged in the Free Electrons programme in an excellent way alongside the other start-ups. They are role models for open innovation disruption, and we congratulate their team on this win.” 

Also, announced during the event was a new collaboration between Free Electrons and Innovate UK, partner in the £450m Ofgem Strategic Innovation Fund, that will open up new opportunities for companies in the energy sector.

Almost 3,100 start-ups from almost 100 countries have applied to be part of the Free Electrons programme. Due to Covid-19, events were hosted virtually from Dubai, Melbourne, Lisbon and Hong Kong as part of the 2021 programme. Registration for interest in the 2022 event is now open at


Media queries:
 Graham King, ESB Press Office,, 085-1515886

About Free Electrons: 

Free Electrons is an energy innovation and accelerator programme for business start-ups and is led by a global alliance of energy utilities. Members include European power utilities: ESB, Energias de Portugal and E.ON from Germany and from further afield: CLP in Hong Kong, American Electric Power, SP Group in Singapore, AusNet from Melbourne and Origin from Sydney Australia, and the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority in UAE. In total, these utilities have 82 million customers, own over 2,000km of network and have over 200GW of generation.

The annual Free Electrons programme enables selected start-ups to work alongside major energy utilities in a series of modules held physically and digitally across the globe. This enables them to refine their value proposition, trial and test technology and gain access to invaluable resources, advice and support from around the globe.

To date, the utilities in the Free Electrons program have invested $20+ million in start-up pilot projects.

Free Electrons website

About KelTech IoT: 

KelTech IoT provide smart solutions for connecting and powering a sustainable world. A global organisation, with unparalleled experience, they partner with clients to support the development and delivery of innovative communication and energy networks and solutions.

KelTech IoT’s Dual Distributed Network (DDN) solution transforms last-mile communication network deployments through a symbiotic convergence of energy and data in a single integrated solution, resulting in a quicker, more cost-effective and safer implementation.