Australian energy sector priorities focus on data and digitalisation

Nine startups have been selected to support eastern Australia transmission and distribution operators’ priorities.

The startups from around the world are the cohort in the cleantech startup accelerator EnergyLab’s Scaleup programme, for which transmission network operator TransGrid and distributor Endeavour Energy are this year’s sponsors.

Between them, TransGrid and Endeavour Energy operate a sizeable portion of the electricity infrastructure across New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory, with TransGrid managing the high voltage electricity transmission network and Endeavour Energy supplying electricity to 2.5 million people across Sydney’s Greater West and surrounding areas.

The Scaleup programme, now in its second year, was developed with utilities and startups and is intended to bring benefits to both the sponsors and the startups with the opportunity to collaborate and grow their solutions in the Australia and New Zealand markets.

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The nine startups selected reflect the innovations that are occurring across the energy sector globally but ultimately reflect the trend towards data and digitalisation.

From the US, there is Aperio, whose Industrial Data Integrity software automatically validates operational data at scale to improve data accuracy, Camus Energy, which provides cloud-scale grid management software as a service for utilities and energy providers, and Shifted Energy, which develops and deploys distributed energy resource aggregation software and IoT-connected load controls to help utilities create and rapidly scale demand side management programmes.

Proxxi from Canada provides a wearable technology and data to protect workers from electrical injury before they come in contact.

From the UK, Electron with its blockchain solution enables utilities to launch and operate local energy markets.

From the Netherlands, Overstory provides real-time vegetation intelligence at scale to optimise the combined use of network capacity and renewable generation.

From Switzerland, V-Labs provides an innovative augmented reality solution for AR-glasses that can visualize, modify and acquire geospatial data with centimetre accuracy and Zaphiro Technologies helps power utilities to increase the resiliency and reliability of their power grids.

Last but not least is Neara from Australia, which creates engineering-grade digital twins of critical infrastructure, bringing organisations closer to their assets, environment, and business.

“We’re really excited about this global cohort and the opportunity to help them grow through new access to Australian and New Zealand markets,” said EnergyLab Chair Piers Grove.

“With TransGrid and Endeavour Energy as programme partners, we also have a unique opportunity to promote innovation and help advance the uptake of renewable technologies in the energy sector.”

Other local companies the startups are expected to interact with include the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO), Aurora Energy, Counties Power, CS Energy, FRV, Hydro Tasmania, Nectr, PowerNet, Scanpower, Synergy, TasNetworks and Yurika.

The programme considers its secret sauce to be the chance for participants to build relationships with each other, with one-third of the first cohort collaborating formally together.

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