AWS now receiving applications for the Clean Energy Accelerator 3.0

Kara Hurst, Vice President of Worldwide Sustainability at Amazon

Amazon Web Services (AWS) announced the launch and call for applications for the Clean Energy Accelerator 3.0, a high-pace, non-equity dilutive accelerator designed to facilitate partnerships with mature startups developing breakthrough clean energy technologies.

The opening of the Clean Energy Accelerator was announced by Kara Hurst, Vice President of Worldwide Sustainability at Amazon, during a session at the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, on November 10. Inaugurated in 2021, the accelerator was AWS’s first accelerator program focused on fostering innovation and rapid growth of clean energy tech, which is needed to address the global climate crisis.

What does the accelerator mean for the energy industry?

While there has been progress across the energy industry, a significant gap remains if the world is to meet its decarbonization goals. The International Energy Agency has found that 40% of the CO2 reductions needed to shift the world towards net-zero by 2050 rely on tech not yet commercially deployed on a mass-market scale. This calls for urgent action.

“The path to rapid decarbonization is not simple or straightforward, and we need to partner with and highlight companies advancing the development of clean energy tech. Startups are at the forefront of much of the innovation that can help accelerate the energy transition. With the support of the Clean Energy Accelerator, this year’s cohort will be able to move faster to tackle the toughest challenges and create a cleaner, healthier planet,” commented Hurst.

The AWS Clean Energy Accelerator 3.0 is designed to spur co-innovation through energy partnerships, and is centered on the needs of mature startups from across the globe. Through the program, industry and thought leaders will mentor startups on topics like energy, digital competency, investment, public policy, innovation, and advanced research.

Leading energy firms will work with selected startups on addressing clean energy and decarbonization challenges, while AWS provides guidance in accelerating experimentation, expanding automation, and delivering deep insights by leveraging the cloud. Clean energy tech innovation is emerging from all around the globe. The previous two Clean Energy Accelerator programs received over 600 applications from startups from 63 countries.

Multinational energy companies like Enel, Vestas, Iberdrola, Siemens Gamesa and others worked with the startups in previous cohorts, and there will be a broader set of organizations and supporting partners such as The Climate Pledge Fund, Siemens Energy, Masdar City, Eurelectric and many others that will help guide the upcoming program cohorts.

What is expected from the Clean Energy Accelerator 3.0?

The AWS Clean Energy Accelerator 3.0 will include 12 weeks of virtual and in-person programming, kicking off in Seattle in Q2 2023. The program will have an expanded reach and scope, which includes the addition of two new cohorts and international exchange sprints to foster tech innovation hubs, including one in the UAE (in collaboration with Masdar City).

The Clean Energy Accelerator 3.0 will culminate in an Innovation Showcase that will be held at the 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 28) next November in Dubai. The finalists will receive technical and mentorship from AWS; and up to $100,000 each in AWS Credit through AWS Activate to kick-start their operations transformation in the cloud.

The startups will get help in using Amazon’s Culture of Innovation and Working Backwards mechanism to achieve solution alignment and accelerate pilots. The finalists will also receive visibility and overall guidance from supporting partners. European based finalists will receive access to the Unicorn Factory Cleantech Hub in Lisbon, while enrolled in the program.

Through two previous programs taking place over the last 18 months, the Accelerator has influenced over $207m in seed funding for clean energy and climate technology startups. In addition, 12 pilot projects have been initiated as a result of engagements fostered by the Clean Energy Accelerator. Startups from previous Clean Energy Accelerator cohorts are already delivering clean energy technology solutions that are having a positive impact.

How effective is the Clean Energy Accelerator program?

For example, Shifted Energy, one of the 12 startups picked to participate in the Clean Energy Accelerator 2.0., is using advanced machine learning to identify maintenance issues before they become problems, which is helping to cut home utility bills by up to 90% in some cases.

The company has developed a distributed energy resources platform that is aimed at engaging underserved communities into energy programs that help accelerate their transition to renewables—with 95% of installs in low income, multi-family, and rental communities.

“To illustrate the scale of energy inequity, one only needs to evaluate which rebates, tax credits, and solutions would be accessible to renters, low income families, and families not living in single family homes,” said Forest Frizzell, co-founder and CEO of Shifted Energy.

“Our solution addresses this inequity through a solution that enables residents in underserved communities to have some of their existing appliances enrolled into energy programs.”

Forest Frizzell, co-founder and CEO of Shifted Energy

“Shifted Energy’s software enables these appliances, even in rental communities, to be aggregated into commercially viable grid stabilization programs providing monthly energy bill credits to residents. Through the Clean Energy Accelerator program, and utilizing the cloud, we are scaling our solution globally, and empowering building managers and residents with the opportunity to support clean energy in their communities,” Forest Frizzell further said.

Persefoni, one of the startups selected for the first Clean Energy Accelerator, is advancing more intelligent carbon footprint sustainability reporting with its platform. The company has enabled its customers to calculate more than 6.5 gigatons or 7.2 billion metric tons of CO2e.

Uprise, a startup picked in the Clean Energy Accelerator 2.0, developed the first commercially sized portable wind turbine that sets up in one hour to produce clean, affordable electricity.

Also, part of the Clean Energy Accelerator 2.0 cohort, Power-to-Hydrogen has developed a portfolio that enables low-cost AEM electrolyzers to be built with high efficiency, helping solve performance and costs associated with producing clean hydrogen through electrolysis.

The solutions displayed in the previous programs have offered an inspiring glimpse into the future of clean energy tech innovation that will help to create a cleaner, healthier planet.

Past cohorts have represented a diverse and global perspective, with innovative ideas ranging from portable wind turbines to zinc-based battery storage and hydrogen fuel cell technology, and so much more. The next two cohorts will experiment and grow in the cloud, leveraging the AWS Clean Energy Accelerator for greater collaboration to guide this innovation.

Applications for the Clean Energy Accelerator 3.0 will be accepted through January 1, 2023, and can be submitted here. Startups selected will be announced on March 6, 2023.