Advancing clean energy technology development at scale with AWS Clean Energy Accelerator 3.0Nov 17, 2022 by Energy Connects
Amazon Web Services (AWS) has announced the launch and call for applications for the Clean Energy Accelerator 3.0, a high-pace, non-equity dilutive accelerator designed to facilitate partnerships with mature startups developing breakthrough clean energy technologies.
The opening of the Clean Energy Accelerator was announced by Kara Hurst, Vice President of Worldwide Sustainability at Amazon, during a session at the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, on November 10.
Inaugurated in 2021, the Clean Energy Accelerator was AWS’s first accelerator program focused on fostering innovation and rapid growth of clean energy technology, which is needed to address the global climate crisis. While there has been progress across the energy industry to develop clean energy technology, a significant gap remains if the world is to meet its decarbonisation goals. The International Energy Agency has found that 40 percent of the CO2 reductions needed to shift the world towards net-zero by 2050 rely on technologies not yet commercially deployed on a mass-market scale. This calls for urgent action.
“The path to rapid decarbonisation is not simple or straightforward, and we need to partner with and highlight companies advancing the development of clean energy technology,” said Hurst.
“Startups are at the forefront of much of the innovation that can help accelerate the energy transition. With the support of the Clean Energy Accelerator, this year’s cohort will be able to move faster to tackle the toughest challenges and create a cleaner, healthier planet.”
Clean energy innovation is starting to emerge from new pockets around the world
The AWS Clean Energy Accelerator 3.0 is designed to spur co-innovation through energy partnerships, and is centered on the needs of mature startups from across the globe. Through the program, industry and thought leaders will mentor startups on topics like energy, digital competency, investment, public policy, innovation, and advanced research. Leading energy organizations will work with selected startups on addressing clean energy and decarbonisation challenges, while AWS provides guidance in accelerating experimentation, expanding automation, and delivering deep insights by leveraging the cloud.
Clean energy technology innovation is emerging from all around the globe. The previous two Clean Energy Accelerator programs received more than 600 applications from startups representing 63 countries. Multinational energy companies like Enel, Vestas, Iberdrola, SiemensGamesa and others worked with the startups in previous cohorts, and there will be a broader set of organizations and supporting partners such as The Climate Pledge Fund, Siemens Energy, Masdar City, Eurelectric and many others that will help guide the upcoming program cohorts.
Building stronger structure for clean energy innovation
The AWS Clean Energy Accelerator 3.0 will include 12 weeks of virtual and in-person programming, kicking off in Seattle in Q2 2023. The program will have an expanded reach and scope, which includes the addition of two new cohorts and international exchange sprints to foster tech innovation hubs around the world, including one in the UAE (in collaboration with Masdar City). The Clean Energy Accelerator 3.0 will culminate in an Innovation Showcase that will be held at the 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 28) next November in Dubai.
The chosen finalists will receive technical, business, and go-to-market mentorship from AWS; and up to US$100,000 each in AWS Credit through AWS Activate to kick-start their data and operations transformation in the cloud. Additionally, the selected startups will gain access to guidance in using Amazon’s Culture of Innovation and Working Backwards mechanism to achieve solution alignment and accelerate pilots. The finalists will also receive visibility and overall guidance from supporting partners. European based finalists will receive access to the new Unicorn Factory Cleantech Hub in Lisbon, Portugal, while enrolled in the programme.
Climate innovators are making a positive impact
Through two previous programmes taking place over the last 18 months, the Clean Energy Accelerator has influenced over US$207 million in seed funding for clean energy and climate technology startups. In addition, 12 pilot projects have been initiated as a result of engagements fostered by the Clean Energy Accelerator.
Startups from previous Clean Energy Accelerator cohorts are already delivering clean energy technology solutions that are having a positive impact. For example, Shifted Energy, one of the 12 startups selected to participate in the Clean Energy Accelerator 2.0., is using advanced machine learning to identify maintenance issues before they become problems, which is helping to cut home utility bills by up to 90% in some cases. The company has developed a distributed energy resources platform that is specifically aimed at engaging chronically underserved communities into energy programs that help accelerate their transition to renewables—with 95 percent of installs in low income, multi-family, and rental communities.
“To illustrate the scale of energy inequity, one only needs to evaluate which rebates, tax credits, and solutions would be accessible to renters, low income families, and families not living in single family homes,” said Forest Frizzell, co-founder and CEO of Shifted Energy. “Our solution directly addresses this inequity through a comprehensive solution that enables residents in underserved communities to have some of their existing appliances enrolled into energy programs. Shifted Energy’s software enables these appliances, even in rental communities, to be aggregated into commercially viable grid stabilisation programs providing monthly energy bill credits to residents. Through the Clean Energy Accelerator program, and utilising the cloud, we are scaling our solution globally, and empowering building managers and residents with the opportunity to support clean energy in their communities.”
A brighter future for clean energy
The solutions displayed in the previous Clean Energy Accelerator programmes have offered a glimpse into the future of clean energy technology innovation that will help to create a cleaner, healthier planet. Past cohorts have represented a diverse and global perspective, with innovative ideas ranging from portable wind turbines to zinc-based battery storage and hydrogen fuel cell technology, and so much more. The next two cohorts will experiment and grow in the cloud, leveraging the AWS Clean Energy Accelerator for greater collaboration to guide this innovation.
Applications for the Clean Energy Accelerator 3.0 will be accepted through January 1, 2023, and can be submitted here. Startups selected for the Clean Energy Accelerator will be announced on March 6, 2023.