Lightning lab challenge powering up energy innovation

Lightning lab challenge powering up energy innovation

A unique mix of organisations from across the energy industry are backing New Zealand's first-ever nationwide call for innovative ideas, ventures and products in electricity and sustainable energy.

Lightning Lab Electric is calling every coder, inventor, tinkerer, engineer, or ideas person to enter an Innovation Challenge from February 1 with ideas pushing boundaries in how consumers and businesses use, manage, distribute, transmit, and generate power.

Entries are open to ideas, prototypes and products with the potential to improve the use of electricity as we know it - hardware, smart gadgets, software, dynamic consumption models, new business models, distribution systems and more.

SEE ALSO: Landmark commitment to boost NZ EV numbers by 75%

Run by startup and innovation agency, Creative HQ, along with with Callaghan Innovation, the programme is sponsored by a group of innovation-focussed NZ and multinational companies – Westpac NZ, Genesis Energy, GE New Zealand, Unison Networks, and Z Energy, with
support from New Zealand Trade and Enterprise.

"With massive challenges facing the world in how we use and manage energy, we know New Zealand's engineers, scientists and entrepreneurs are already working on solutions from their workshops, their universities, their co-working spaces, and wherever else they may be.

“This is an opportunity to put up their solutions as part of a new generation in how we use and manage energy," says Creative HQ chief executive Stefan Korn.


Westpac's GM Commercial Karen Silk speaks at the Launch of Lightening Lab Electric at Genesis Energy's offices in Auckland. Photo Credit ©Michael Bradley

Westpac GM Commercial, Corporate and Institutional Banking, Karen Silk, says she looks forward to the results of the challenge, particularly fresh ideas supporting New Zealand’s transition to a low carbon economy.

“Westpac works with a number of energy clients, from some of the country’s largest generators to those in the solar power space. The challenge is an ideal way to identify more opportunities around renewable energy and extending our support to start-ups.”

Callaghan Innovation interim chief executive Hemi Rolleston says the Lightning Lab Electric Innovation Challenge will help energise the next generation of innovative tech companies.

“The global electricity sector is ripe for disruption, and New Zealand tech companies have the potential to lead the world with innovative 'smart grid' solutions. We look forward to seeing the exciting ventures that result from this programme.”

The Innovation Challenge opens for entries from 1 February - March 2017.

Selected finalists will present to an expert industry panel for the chance to win prizes and access to industry partners. 

About lightning lab electric

The 12-week Lightning Lab Electric accelerator programme follows the Innovation Challenge – it is open to all entrants as well as teams and ventures not part of the Challenge. 

The full-time programme is designed to help the best of New Zealand's energy innovators with investment, strategy and expert mentoring to develop their solutions into globally-successful growth ventures.

SEE ALSO: Landmark commitment to boost NZ EV numbers by 75%

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