Currently, wind energy powers only a small percentage of global energy. However, as a larger number of countries are looking to establish wind as an alternative source of energy, startups & scaleups tackle some of the key challenges to adopting wind energy technologies. From technologies to reduce the environmental impact of wind energy infrastructure to handle the unpredictable nature of wind, startups develop technology-driven solutions across several wind energy hubs.
Top 5 Global Startup Hubs: Wind Energy
Using our StartUs Insights Discovery Platform covering more than 1.379.000 startups & scaleups globally, we analyzed the geographic distribution of global activity in wind energy. We identified 44 regional hubs* that observe high activity in developing technology-driven solutions across the industry like handling intermittence, focusing on off-shore wind energy and airborne wind energy systems, to name a few.
Within the hubs, we analyzed a sample of 912 startups* employing technology-driven solutions to innovate in the industry. London, Amsterdam, New York City, Silicon Valley, and Boston are home to 161 startups & scaleups and account for 18% of global activity in wind energy. Let us have a look at some of the innovative solutions from these top 5 wind energy hubs.
Based on our analysis of a sample of 912 startups, Europe is home to more than 40% of global activity in wind energy. Strong government support for renewables development drives innovation in the region. With the US planning to add hundreds of gigawatts of wind energy over the next 30 years, the North American region also observes high activity in the wind energy sector.
The rest of the world shows increased investments in wind energy, especially in China. We also observe a growing number of startups in India, Australia, and Singapore mainly due to an increase in government support and policies regarding climate change mitigation.
1. London: 49 Startups
The UK currently generates more than half of their renewable energy from wind. Developments in on-shore, off-shore, and smaller wind energy systems are contributing to the growth of wind energy in the national grid. The London Array, located on the Thames river estuary, is one of the largest offshore wind farms and is home to 175 turbines with a total capacity of 630 MW.
Texenergy is a London-based CleanTech startup that designs, develops, and manufactures novel primary-source, off-grid, personal power products. The startup’s Infinite Air solution harnesses the wind to generate instant power directly to a device or battery. Infinite Air’s precision-designed blades maximize torque and power, making it efficient for its size. This solution is suitable for use by individuals, expedition teams, and anyone who relies upon off-grid power. It is also useful in disaster or emergency situations and for use by medics and aid workers.
2. Amsterdam: 32 Startups
The Dutch government, as part of the European Union’s goals, aims to produce 14% of all energy from renewables by the end of 2020. Wind energy plays an important role in achieving this target for the Netherlands with close to 5 GW of energy generation. Dutch startups and emerging companies develop innovative onshore and offshore wind energy systems to help achieve national and international sustainability targets.
Dutch startup Devecitech develops Enlil, a smart vertical wind turbine designed to harvest energy from natural wind, as well as energy from passing vehicles. Enlil employs an integrated system that enables additional modules such as tools to measure carbon dioxide levels. In addition, it allows for data collection through its Internet of Things (IoT) platform and traffic management systems. The solution also detects earthquakes, provides connectivity for autonomous vehicles and houses a Wi-Fi station.
3. New York City: 30 Startups
Currently, wind energy accounts for around 4% in New York State’s energy mix. The state is working to install around 9 GW of offshore wind energy by 2035. With a highly-skilled workforce, abundant intellectual capital, physical infrastructure, financial institutions, and national clean energy policy, New York plans to become a hub for the United States’ emerging offshore wind energy industry.
Based out of New York City and Dakhla, Morocco, Soluna develops energy systems and computing technology that are self-contained, distributed, scalable, and flexible to achieve efficiencies with utility-scale operations. By developing power plants and combining them with high-performance computing facilities, the company brings vertical integration to the blockchain ecosystem. Their flagship wind farm is spread across 137 sq. km, to the north of Dakhla, in one of the windiest places on earth. The site has the potential for a 180 turbines wind farm for a total installed capacity in excess of 900 MW.
3. Silicon Valley: 30 Startups
The state of California generates more than 11% of its energy supply from wind energy systems. A combination of in-state and exported wind energy contributes to almost a third of total renewables in the state’s renewable energy mix. Silicon Valley is home to several energy technology companies that develop solutions to collectively increase the share of renewables in the total energy generation.
San Francisco-based startup Vayu Corp develops VayuAI, a cloud computing platform that allows users to improve plant-level wind farm optimization and control by employing a web-based interface. The software coordinates the movement of upwind and downwind wind turbines to ensure maximum efficiency. It does so with the help of data aggregation, the internet of things (IoT), and machine learning techniques.
5. Boston: 20 Startups
The state of Massachusetts currently generates only a nominal amount of power from wind energy systems. However, the state, and the city of Boston, plan to significantly increase the share of wind in the renewables mix. With a focus on improving the efficiency of wind systems by innovating in turbines, design, and floating wind energy concepts, startups are developing innovative solutions to help tackle the challenges facing the industry.
Based out of Wellesley, Halo Energy is an energy technology startup developing low-cost, small-scale wind turbines. By employing patented shroud technology designs, the startup is able to achieve higher output at lower costs. The design is specifically catering to the telecommunications industry with its compact size and energy efficiency. Each turbine generates 6 kWh of power across various wind regimes. Moreover, they are easy to install and also require low operating costs.
Established players, startups & scaleups alike are looking for ways to make wind energy more viable for mass adoption. From repurposing end-of-life off-shore oil rigs to building the technology allowing setting wind energy systems higher in the atmosphere, a whole host of innovative solutions permeate the renewables industry. Moreover, most stakeholders already understand that wind energy, in combination with other renewable sources of energy, is extremely useful in mitigating the global energy and climate challenges.
*We define a hub as the regional geographic center of activity for this topic. It covers the center point with a radius of 100km. For this report, we define startups as those founded after 2015.