Two major goals motivate most, if not all, of the innovations in the energy industry. These include the switch to cleaner, greener, and more sustainable sources of energy and the efficient utilization of the existing non-renewables. Solutions in smart grids and asset management usually integrate renewables with the traditional grid and serve both goals. However, energy storage technologies need to improve considerably to support these objectives. Another use case that stands to benefit from better batteries, and is attracting a lot of investment is the electric vehicles (EV) sector.
Top 5 Global Startup Hubs: Energy
Using our StartUs Insights Platform, we analyzed the geographic distribution of global activity in the energy industry. We identified 38 regional hubs* that observe high activity in developing technology-driven solutions across the industry like smart meters, EV charging, and wireless power to name a few.
Within the hubs, we analyzed a sample of 5.348 startups* employing technology-driven solutions to innovate in the industry. Silicon Valley, New York City, London, Los Angeles, and Boston are home to 1.728 startups and account for 32% of global energy activity. Let us have a look at some of the innovative solutions from these 5 top hubs.
Based on our analysis of a sample of 5.348 emerging solutions, North America accounts for nearly half of global activity in the energy sector. Several large energy hubs in the US are cities that house a lot of tech startups and companies.
European energy hubs in London, Tel Aviv, Amsterdam, Paris, Berlin, etc. account for 35% of global activity. These hubs support local and cross-border green energy projects in Europe. Emerging Asian hubs in Singapore and Bangalore lead the region’s activity in the sector.
1. Silicon Valley: 635 Startups
San Francisco’s clean energy initiatives, such as the Solar + Storage for Resiliency project, are driving clean energy innovations in the area. Silicon Valley’s expertise in artificial intelligence (AI) and advanced analytics makes it suitable for energy companies looking to build solutions in smart metering and energy asset management.
ChargeWheel is a Silicon Valley startup that offers portable on-demand charging solutions. It provides energy delivery vans that are capable of charging and powering any electric need. They offer fast charging for electric cars, buses, trucks, bikes, and scooters, as well as replace diesel generators in concerts and events. The startup’s charging as a service model makes quick charging accessible to fleets and other businesses.
2. New York City: 362 Startups
New York has one of the most ambitious climate action plans in the United States. The state aims to provide carbon-free electricity by 2040 and have a net-zero carbon economy by 2050. The state’s energy agenda is bringing cleantech companies and jobs to the region, and the city in particular. A large bulk of these jobs are in startups and emerging companies that develop solutions for grid modernization and energy storage.
New York City-based startup Natrion develops safe and affordable energy storage solutions for clean power grids. System6, an energy storage system (ESS) battery from Natrion, uses a ceramic solid-electrolyte. It replaces lithium-ion with a sodium-ion architecture and is stable beyond 1.400 °C. With a price of $91 per kWh, it offers an attractive energy storage option for renewable energy users. It also features time-shift arbitrage, demand charge management, demand response, and power conditioning.
3. London: 354 Startups
The United Kingdom is a leader in energy initiatives in Europe and has invested heavily in renewables, including off-shore assets. As London plans to become a zero-carbon city by 2050, investments in energy efficiency, low carbon heat solutions, and low carbon transport are on the rise. Green finance initiatives in the city also hold promise for clean and inexpensive energy for individuals and businesses.
Ripple Energy is a London-based startup that offers renewable energy solutions. It allows consumers to own part of a co-operative wind farm in proportion to their energy requirements. Ripple Energy’s supplier then supplies clean electricity via the customers’ existing tariff. Once operational, the cost of running the wind farm is the only electricity component of the users’ bills.
4. Los Angeles: 211 Startups
Keeping with California’s clean energy goals, Los Angeles startups are also shifting from natural gas to renewable and sustainable alternatives. The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power is promoting solar and wind energy projects. Renewable energy generation, combined with cheap energy storage, is changing the way Angelenos interact with the electric grid.
Los Angeles-based startup GuRu develops wireless power solutions. It combines a generating unit (GU) and a recovery unit (RU) in a zero contact energy system that powers devices in homes and workspaces. The GU plugs directly into the wall and converts electricity into concentrated beams of radio wave energy. The RU sits on the back of the device or embeds in the device architecture and converts incoming radio waves into electric power.
5. Boston: 166 Startups
Boston is one of the most energy-efficient cities in the US, thanks to initiatives such as Renew Boston Trust that identifies energy-saving projects in city-owned buildings. The city’s Climate Action Plan aims to reduce community-wide carbon emissions by 50% in 2030 and 100% in 2050. The top universities in the region, such as Harvard, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and Tufts, also push innovations in sustainable energy.
LineVision is a Boston-based startup that offers solutions for power line monitoring and asset management. It uses advanced sensors and analytics to monitor, optimize, and protect the overhead line and pipeline assets. LineAwareTM and LineHealthTM analyze historical data, galloping and icing events, conductor tension and temperature, and local ambient weather conditions to provide situational awareness and asset health monitoring for power lines, respectively. LineVision’s non-contact sensors are cheaper, easier to install, and more flexible than traditional conductor-mounted systems.
As economies shift to sustainable means of energy production, massive changes are underway in the energy industry. Solutions that improve storage and reduce leakage are pivotal to the promise of sustainable energy. As more countries adopt renewables and smart grids, new hubs in developing countries from Asia, Africa, and South America will come up.
*We define a hub as the regional geographic center of activity for this topic. It covers the center point with a radius of 100km. We define startups as those founded after 2016.