Chicago Skyline group pic

Incubatenergy Group in Chicago, Credit: EPRI


photo of Beth Hartman

August 25, 2017
Posted by Beth Hartman, Electric Power Research Institute

The third annual Incubatenergy Network meeting took place in Chicago last week, with over 130 clean energy innovators including entrepreneurs, incubator leaders, utility technology executives, corporate partners, investors, lab researchers, government stakeholders, and more. Following a keynote presentation from Amy Francetic, Senior VP of New Ventures and Corporate Affairs at Invenergy, the group heard from over a dozen entrepreneurs presenting solutions in solar, storage, electric vehicles, artificial intelligence, and more.

In her keynote, Amy described how rapidly falling costs are making renewable energy more competitive than ever, highlighting how clean energy purchases from large corporate and institutional clients are helping speed the transition to a more sustainable economy. She also discussed how the increasingly fast growth of data analytics and distributed assets are making the energy industry more compelling for venture capital and other investment models, mentioning companies like Enbala, Geli and SparkCognition as examples of opportunities for rapid growth.

SparkCognition then joined a dozen other energy companies to present their solutions to the group, explaining how predictive analytics and a focus on cybersecurity can help prevent damage to the energy system before it even occurs. The first half of presentation also included:

• Highview Power Systems, making large-scale energy storage solutions for utility and distributed power systems using liquid air as the storage medium

• EP Tender, an on-demand range extending service for electric vehicles, using mobile energy modules attached occasionally to the EV

• Switched Source, which controls energy supply in the last mile of electricity delivery through leveraging the existing distribution infrastructure

• Agentis Energy, an energy analytics platform for utility business customers to better understand their energy use, billing data, and more

• Heila Technologies, which simplifies the installation and operation of microgrids with technology to enable the integration of disparate assets

Following a short intermission, the second half of presentations kicked off with Tagup describing a system to monitor ongoing transformer health with a patent-pending analytics platform that can reduce unplanned downtime on equipment, such as power transformers, by as much as 70%. The group also heard from: • Ferraris Power, which develops electromagnetic energy harvesting solutions for utility grade deployment

• Yotta Solar, which makes cost effective solar and solar energy storage hardware and software

• CN2 Technologies, which makes a cloud-hosted platform that allows enterprises to quickly and easily create compelling Mixed Reality applications for sales, service and training, and two-way, remote assistance

• Momit, which provides utilities with customer engagement tools to control consumption based on established energy budgets

• Nnergix, which provides software as a tool that integrates and displays key information from the electricity market and satellite weather data, in particular allowing the forecast of short-term availability of solar and wind power production

Along with these short presentations, OPConnect sent a quick video highlighting their electric vehicle charging solution, and both GoElectric and SunAmp presented in more detail to a smaller utility audience the following day. The first day concluded with introductions from newer energy incubation and acceleration programs such as Free Electrons, followed by a panel discussion moderated by Ron Schoff of EPRI and featuring Ilan Gur of Cyclotron Road, Matthew Crosby of Panasonic, Chico Hunter of SRP and Hilary Flynn from National Grid. The group then adjourned to a reception at the Midway Club in the Gleacher Center, overlooking the Chicago River.

During the second day, the group discussed incubator business and revenue models, impact metrics, and investment trends, along with highlighting upcoming clean energy meetings both within the U.S. and around the world. After lunch, everyone enjoyed a tour of the Shedd Aquarium solar-storage microgrid facility, followed by another reception back at the Intercontinental hotel. We look forward to seeing everyone again soon at other upcoming events this fall such as the VERGE conference in Santa Clara, California, BEST FEST in Portland, Oregon, and more.