Dr. Christina Marchand, Project Manager Innovations Monitor and Energy Startup Day

Dr. Christina Marchand, Project Manager Innovations Monitor and Energy Startup Day

Reports of amazing innovations in the energy sector reach me on an almost daily basis. From a flying, electricity-generating drone, via new membranes in fuel cells, right through to stacked concrete blocks for the storage of electricity. These innovations are driven by committed, ambitious startup founders, setting out to advance the transformation of our energy system for a sustainable and climate-compatible world.

Dr. Walter Steinmann
Despite their good technologies, many of these startups have difficulty in finding partners and investors for the development of customer-oriented products. This is because the Swiss energy market constitutes a challenge for new providers due to its lack of liberalisation on the one hand, and its strong local players, on the other. We additionally see a failure of the market in the electricity sector in particular, since the prices of the existing, amortised power plants are very low and their expansion has resulted in an oversupply of electricity in the system at times. Viewed in purely financial terms, therefore, it is rarely worthwhile building new power plants at present.

Since we urgently need to expand the generation of renewable energies, however, it is all the more important for innovations to be promoted from all sides. In addition to clear rules set out by the politicians, this requires networking and strong partnerships with existing companies interested in driving this development forward. The biggest event in the electricity sector – the Powertage trade fair – has recognised this need. At this year’s event, around ten startups will once again have the opportunity to present themselves free of charge in the xplor startup village at the event. 

And the fair will also be featuring a further highlight: Energy Startup Day is being held at the Powertage this year. This event, which is organised by Zurich University of Applied Sciences, has been bringing energy and cleantech startups together with industry partners and investors for six years now. Last year, 200 people and 40 startups took part. This year, all the attendees will be able to visit the 40 or so startups in Hall 7 on the afternoon of 1 December 2020. The event will include poster stands, pitches and lectures. In the morning we will be organising an investor speed-dating event with selected startups. My hope is that, through these measures, we will be able to pave the way onto the market for a large number of innovations, and I am delighted to be on the jury for selecting the startups for both xplor and the Startup Day. I hope to be able to welcome as many interested parties as possible at the two events.