Innovator Challenge – Smart Energy Innovations for International Markets

Energy Launchpad International will select up to 8 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to receive acceleration support in preparation for a virtual mission to India and Thailand.

This Innovator Challenge – Smart Energy Innovations for International Markets – is supported by the Prosperity Fund at the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), and in partnership with the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) and the Department for International Trade (DIT).

  • This Innovator Challenge is now CLOSED for applications.

The Industrial Strategy Green Paper produced by the Department for International Trade (DIT) notes that in 2018 SME exports accounted for around one-third (32%) of total UK exports, whereas that share was over 50% in 2008. This suggests that UK innovators are lacking the support they need to realise their export potential and generate the economic and employment benefits the UK should expect.

Energy Systems Catapult has built the Energy Launchpad International – a dedicated team within the Catapult supporting UK energy sector SMEs looking to export. Drawing on the Catapult’s technical expertise, access to innovation and international experience, the Energy Launchpad International provides deep market insights and ‘end-to-end’ export support to SMEs through targeted activities and in-country networks.

Innovator Challenge call for UK SMEs

UK companies are invited to apply for an international innovator challenge call run by the Energy Launchpad International team, supported by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s (BEIS) Prosperity Fund programme, and in partnership with Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and Department for International Trade.

Through this open call, successful applicants will receive incubation support services in preparation to participate in a virtual mission to export their smart energy innovations to India and Thailand.

Who should apply

UK companies interested in exporting to India and Thailand offering the following smart energy products and services are encouraged to submit a proposal.

  • Innovative low carbon building retrofit solutions for generation and local and/or community energy storage
  • Interoperable digital platforms or control systems for power (DC or AC), heat and cooling, and transport to provide flexible operation of the whole energy system and/or support the adoption of smart local energy systems
  • Microgrid solutions
  • EV charging products and solutions
  • Data Services that improve forecasting, balancing and investment decisions
  • Solar generation and battery storage solutions
  • Smart network management and control systems, including smart metering applications, voltage optimisation, frequency optimisation and flexibility
  • Trading platforms, including Peer-to-Peer trading solutions, blockchain and/or billing systems

Up to eight companies per territory will be selected by an expert panel to receive tailored incubation support in preparation for engaging with their market of choice between December 2020 and March 2021.

The prize

Successful applicants will receive tailored incubation support services, delivered in three phases.

Phase 1

Will provide up to 8 SMEs per territory with a bespoke managed programme to develop their understanding of the market opportunity, structure, local competition, business culture, local funding/financing options, business model adaptations, as well as helping develop their sales pitch presentations and where necessary carry-out an audit of the innovators technology fit to meet the local market needs.

Phase 2

Will develop the in-territory engagement plan, supported by local ESC representatives who will help develop and secure virtual introductions to support the objectives of the engagement plan.

Phase 3

Will provide support over an extended period to ensure that relationships developed during phase 2 are enriched to maximise the commercial opportunities and partnerships.

How to apply

Closing date for applications is close of play on Monday the 30th of November 2020.

A shortlist of SMEs will be generated and must be available to attend a virtual workshop Thursday the 10th of December 2020 and be able to participate in this virtual programme during quarter 1 of 2021.

The intention is to complete the bulk of this pilot programme by the end of March 2021.

  • This Innovator Challenge is now CLOSED for applications.

About Energy Launchpad International

Energy Systems Catapult has established Energy Launchpad International, to provide a dedicated incubator programme for energy export, which will give firms sector-specific end-to-end support, providing greater visibility and access (to markets, support networks, collaborators, regulations, etc.) and dedicated, tailored support and programmes to allow them to capture the export opportunities. Firms will be able to draw on the Catapult’s deep energy systems knowledge and expertise, coupled with our successful existing innovator acceleration processes, and in-county knowledge and assistance.

About India’s energy market

India is the third largest consumer and producer of electricity and has the fifth largest renewable energy capacity in the world. Solar capacity in particular has increased tenfold in the last decade, and storage is seen as the next step. Current projects at state level include reducing demand through efficiency and changing the load pattern, and smart technology is being actively pursued. The Covid-19 pandemic has in fact increased support for smart metering, and states are rolling out smart meters. Each state has its own unique needs for smart systems depending on whether it is an exporter or importer of electricity, as well as the types of industry based there. Bengaluru in the state of Karnataka is well-known for adopting smart solutions. A growing middle class means that demand for energy-hungry appliances such as air-conditioning is booming, and air quality issues mean that transitioning to electric vehicles is also a national priority.

About Thailand’s energy market

Thailand is an emerging market that has an advanced grid and strong ambitions in renewable energy and electric vehicle rollout. To cope with the extra fluctuations on the grid, Thailand is going to need a smart network. The National Energy Policy Council have approved a smart grid plan and utilities are looking to spend around £0.32bn per year on developing a smart grid. Thailand is piloting a smart meter rollout, looking to eventually deploy to around 4 million residents in the Bangkok area. The main stakeholders in Thailand are already trialling P2P trading and looking into regulatory reforms. Recent auction awards have included a BESS solution.