Wellington’s Creative HQ launches accelerator program focused on electricity and sustainable energy

- February 2, 2017 2 MIN READ

New Zealand startup agency Creative HQ is set to add to its portfolio of accelerator programs, today announcing the launch of Lightning Lab Electric, an accelerator program focused on businesses working across the areas of electricity and sustainable energy.

The 12 week accelerator will follow on from an Innovation Challenge looking for ideas, prototypes, and developed products relating to the sector. Split across the tracks of consumer solutions, network solutions, and the future grid, the challenge will see finalists to pitch for $40,000 in prizes and the chance to work with corporate partners on further developing their solutions.

Innovations within the consumer solutions track might include consumer device integration, control, and automation systems, data analytics and AI to assist with consumer decisions, and peer-to-peer trading platforms.

Focusing on innovations creating new value for distribution network operations through customer participation, integration, and utilisation of distributed energy resources, ideas could include remote monitoring and management of distributed energy resources, and analysis and incentives for network support services.

The future grid track, meanwhile, is looking for ideas that can enhance the ability of utilities and established generations to plan and optimise future investments by changing demand patterns and the increasing integration of distributed energy resources, such as remote asset monitoring and network modelling tools.

Hemi Rolleston, interim chief executive of program sponsor Callaghan Innovation, said, “The global electricity sector is ripe for disruption, and New Zealand tech companies have the potential to lead the world with innovative ‘smart grid’ solutions. We look forward to seeing the exciting ventures that result from this programme.”

Also sponsoring is Genesis Energy, whose GM of corporate and transformation, Dean Schmidt, said the objectives of Lightning Lab Electric align with the company’s new direction and focus on creating innovative products and services for energy customers in New Zealand.

“The energy world is changing fast; access to affordable solar panels and the ability to store, in a battery, electricity generated at home is creating a new energy ecosystem and new innovative opportunities in the electricity sector,” he said.

“Using know-how and data gained from close to half a million smart meters and solar installations, Genesis Energy is pouring its energy into creating customer insight-driven services. We changed the way we work so we can create digital services that excite our customers and help them manage their energy experience, so we’re supporting Lightning Lab Electric as another way of encouraging more innovation for energy consumers.”

The launch of the Challenge and the Lightning Lab Electric accelerator comes just a few weeks after Creative HQ revealed the intake of its fintech accelerator, New Zealand’s first.

Entries to the Innovation Challenge are now open, and will close on March 27. Applications to Lightning Lab Electric will open on February 13, with the program to begin mid-May.

Image source: renewableenergy.org.au