New E Prize for Energy Innovation

June 09, 2016 by Jeff Shepard

The Edison Electric Institute (EEI), along with the Institute for Electric Innovation (IEI), today announced a new partnership with startup incubator 1776 to accelerate the pace of innovation in energy. This partnership will bring together leading electric power companies, established technology companies, and promising startups. As part of the partnership, EEI and IEI will award the new "E Prize for Innovation" to an energy semifinalist in the annual 1776 Challenge Cup Global Finals & Festival, beginning today in Crystal City, Va. The winner of the prize will be selected by a panel of electric power industry and technology company experts.

"The electric power industry is working to develop and cultivate new innovations and partnerships to help advance the industry's transformation," said Brian Wolff, executive vice president, public policy and external affairs at EEI. "Our partnership with 1776 allows us to identify strong startup partners and innovative thinkers who can bring to market cutting-edge technologies that deliver the energy future our customers want and expect."

Wolff will be speaking at 1776 Challenge Cup today, Thursday, June 9, during the Lightning Talks: Innovation is Not Just for Start-ups session that begins at 1:40 p.m.

The "E Prize for Innovation" winner will attend the 2016 EEI Convention in Chicago and will join IEI's Technology Partner Roundtable for one year.

1776 has built a global pipeline of promising startups in energy through its Challenge Cup and Startup Network programs. Over the past three years, 1776 has supported more than 650 energy-related startups from Tokyo and Singapore to New York and San Francisco. 1776 leverages its network of mentors, experts, industry partners, and investors to support startups and help to identify the most promising ideas.

"We're thrilled to work closely with EEI and IEI to facilitate next generation energy solutions," said Evan Burfield, 1776 cofounder & co-CEO. "EEI and IEI bring a wealth of expertise and institutional knowledge to the rapidly changing industry, and we're excited to bridge that gap for startups and new innovators."

Together, EEI, IEI, and 1776 will focus on several key areas where innovation is transforming the electric power industry, including building smarter energy infrastructure, providing clean energy, and creating energy solutions customers want. The partnership among EEI, IEI, and 1776 will make it easier for startups to explore, validate, and scale their solutions by working side-by-side with electric power companies.

"Electric power companies and technology companies, large and small, are increasingly working together to develop and deploy new technologies to help meet increasingly complex customer expectations and the demand for clean, reliable energy," said Lisa Wood, Edison Foundation vice president and IEI executive director. "We are excited to be partnering with 1776 and developing stronger relationships with the tech startup community."