Eight global utility enterprises and two clean energy accelerators have recently launched the Free Electrons program. This world’s first global energy startup accelerator embarks on an ambitious mission to help the most promising startups in the field to scale up and revolutionize the future of the energy market.

The objective of this acceleration program is to develop innovative business models that will let chosen startups gain access to over 73 million customers in 40 countries across the globe. The program coordinators stress that the energy of the future has to be smart, clean and easily accessible to everyone on Earth. This is why the program focuses on connecting utility giants with new innovative startups, hoping that this cooperation will create new solutions causing a disruption in the field.

The Free Electrons program is designed to help startups scale up quickly and enter large global markets. That’s why they only accept companies with a working, pilot-ready prototype, relevant experience and a viable business plan. The applicants’ solutions should address a market of minimum 1 billion USD and provide a unique, innovative solution with a sustainable competitive advantage. The applications close on 28th January; the coordinators will announce 12 finalists of the program on 1st April.

The whole acceleration process lasts for 6 months. During that time, startups will be able to test their products and services while performing pilot implementations. Each of the finalists will receive ongoing support of mentors from the field. They will also participate in three week-long modules in Silicon Valley, Lisbon, Dublin and Singapore and compete for two cash prize opportunities worth 200,000 USD in total.

“Free Electrons is a powerful and very ambitious program. We have set up this global initiative together with leading energy companies and start-up specialists in order to find new enterprises worldwide that will revolutionize the energy market of the future with their ideas,” said Peter Terium, CEO of innogy.

Innogy is one of the co-organizers of the program along with AusNet Services, Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), ESB (Electricity Supply Board), EDP (Energias de Portugal), Origin Energy, Singapore Power (SP) or Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO). In order to make the most of the start-ups’ potential, two accelerator partners New Energy Nexus and Swissnex San Francisco are supporting the program as well.