ESB’s Brighter Future Strategy puts sustainability at the heart of our strategic objectives and our purpose as an organisation. Our ambition is to create a Brighter Future for the customers and communities we serve, by leading the transition to reliable, affordable, low-carbon energy.
The energy market has seen rapid changes in recent years as utilities around the world look to adopt the latest technologies to reduce carbon emissions and address climate change.
ESB is leading the charge to discover the innovations that can help us to continue to transition to renewables as we journey to net-zero. As a founding member of Free Electrons, the advanced global accelerator program that is designed to support the brightest innovators who are working to transform the energy market, ESB is playing its part to connect the world’s most promising start-ups with leading utilities.
Over the course of the five editions of Free Electrons ESB has carried out 24 projects with some of the world’s most innovative start-ups, using the pilots as a tool to test new solutions which will support our Brighter Future Strategy. Just one example of a successful pilot projects is ESB’s Customer Solutions Business Unit’s work with EV.Energy, the 2019 winners of Free Electrons.
EV.Energy is an electric vehicle charging software platform that allows driving with the cheapest and greenest energy available, while controlling the time at which EVs charge when at home, to smooth out the peaks in electricity demand.
EV.Energy’s pilot with ESB tested:
- Customer value and satisfaction (by controlling EV charging and reducing EV running costs)
- ESB Savings and Loyalty (tracking energy usage cost)
- Reduced Carbon Footprint (Minimize congestion on the local grid)
The collaboration opportunity with the UK based EV.Energy came at the perfect time, soon after ESB Customer Solutions entered the British market. The partnership continues to help grow ESBs market share in the UK as well as helping EV Energy gain customers in the early years of its business.
When speaking about the collaboration with ESB Nick Woolley, CEO & Co-founder, EV. Energy said that, “Myself and Chris were delighted to meet with ESB at the Free Electrons bootcamp in 2019. ESB share our mission to deliver great electric vehicle charging services to drivers, and we were delighted that they were the first energy utility in the program to contract with us. Several years later, we are still working with ESB and scaling up our pilot in the Irish market – this is awesome and what the Free Electrons program is all about!”
Customer solutions is not the only Business unit at ESB to have benefitted from our participation in the program. All five business units in ESB are engaged in the program each year, having experienced the benefits of collaborating with the start-ups since the first edition of Free Electrons.
Our work with the Free Electrons alumni has been recognised on an international level and ESB were the proud winners of the 2020 Power Technology Excellence, Trailblazers Award for our work with Akselos, a swiss start-up which participated in the third edition of Free Electrons. Through collaboration with Akselos the team in ESB’s Engineering & Major Projects Business unit developed the world’s first digital twin of a pumped storage power station.
Digital Twinning is a new innovative inspection and assessment tool which involves the recreation of a physical asset into digital form. The collaboration efforts of the project were mutually beneficially with ESB reducing maintenance costs and outage times as well as significantly extending the lifetime of this vital national asset and Akselos gaining experience, applying their solution to a pumped storage unit for the first time.
These projects are just two examples of the world leading innovation that has arisen for ESB as a result of our participation in the Free Electrons program. At ESB we recognise the importance of innovating in order to achieve our Brighter Future Strategy and look forward to continuing our relationship with the Free Electrons family for many years to come, fostering our relationships with the world’s leading start-ups and leading the transition to reliable, affordable, low-carbon energy.