Free Electrons 23

EDP and global partners launch new Free Electrons edition in search of the most innovative startups

Wednesday 30, November 2022

Applications are open for the 7th edition of Free Electrons, ready to receive the most innovative and promising proposals from startups in the energy sector. Projects can apply until January 28.

EDP, in partnership with other global leading energy companies, is looking for startups that can contribute to a more sustainable and innovative planet. Applications are now open for the 7th edition of Free Electrons, the largest global innovation program in the energy sector.

As a global open innovation program, Free Electrons will focus on the possibilities of developing projects and business between startups and industry players with the aim of finding solutions that can have an impact on the energy transition, in areas such as renewable energy, smart grids, energy management, sustainable mobility, energy storage, flexibility, green hydrogen or decarbonization. Registrations can be made until January 28 at

For EDP, open and collaborative innovation with various agents in the sector is a priority to be able to develop the technologies needed to provide an urgent response to the energy transition. Candidates who are chosen for the 2023 edition will have access to the various business units of the EDP group, which is present in 29 markets, and may have access to specialized teams with whom they can test their solutions. This is also an opportunity to refine their business strategy.

The results of previous editions prove the success and impact of Free Electrons. In five years, the company has already invested more than 37 million euros in pilot projects, investments and businesses with startups that participated in the program.

At close of applications, the review process will continue to February 28 when a group of startups will be invited to participate in an online pitch event, taking place from March 13. The Pitch Event will determine the longlist of startups who will join the in-person Bootcamp Module. Bootcamp will be held in Dublin, Ireland from May 15 (four days) where the longlist startups will showcase their solutions and their teams, and utilities will decide who will be shortlisted to continue in the Free Electrons program.

Following the Bootcamp, startups that are selected for the program will participate in two (four day) modules, that will take place in Sydney, Australia (from July 24) and Hong Kong or India (from October 16). Finalists are provided with mentorship from industry experts, support with industry engagement and networking opportunities. The greatest value of the program, however, is the opportunity for startups to test their solutions, and the potential avenue to market through the millions of customers of each of the utilities.

The four modules held across the globe are the cornerstone of Free Electrons, allowing participants to converge together under one roof. During the course of the program, participants work closely with local players, utilities, experts and other resources in order to accelerate their company’s growth.

Free Electrons unique structure also allows for utility partners to co-operate with each other on pilots, with startups seeing joint projects emerge with multiple utilities and fellow startup companies, allowing them to scale much faster.

Alex Zorniger, VP of Business Development at Power to Hydrogen – 2022 Free Electrons Winner has remarked: “We recommend Free Electrons to any startups that have solutions ready to deploy for the future of the clean energy grid. The utilities put a great deal of effort into the program, which means they are motivated to develop pilots with each company that makes it through the selection process. The multi-stage nature of the program also keeps everyone on track and discourages opportunities from falling through the cracks. If you’re looking for real business development opportunities to deploy your technology with leaders in the utility industry, this program can’t be beat.”

Created in 2017, the Free Electrons Program is led by a consortium made of partner companies from around the world, joined together by a common purpose of transforming the energy sector and creating disruptive and innovative solutions, for a cleaner and more efficient energy transition. The utilities for the new edition are: American Electric Power (USA), CLP Power (Hong Kong), E.ON (Germany), EDP (Portugal), ESB - Energy for Generations (Ireland), Origin Energy (Australia) - companies that worked alongside innovators and startups to create disruptive solutions for the sector. Management support is provided by the innovation consultancy Beta-i.