The Digital Energy Challenge 2023 for Startups and Utilities is now accepting applications. In 2021, the Digital Energy Facility launched the Digital Energy Challenge for a four-year period, with an annual Call for Proposals.
The Challenge’s goal is to assist in the development of innovative solutions for energy access, renewable energy integration, and public utility performance improvement.
The three project call themes for 2023 are:
Universal power supply: Mini-grids and access. Mini-grid digital technologies to improve their effectiveness and influence: Energy management systems for the optimal use of clean and renewable energy; software and hardware technologies for the effective implementation of productive use assets; storage systems and algorithms reducing the use of fossil fuel generators; tools to facilitate interconnections with the main grid and other mini-grids; systems and algorithms for constructing nano grids; geospatial data analytics for power demand evaluation and/or credit risk assessment.
Sustainable grid management: Digital services and solutions that ensure the proper functioning of the power grid, with an emphasis on information availability and communication systems; streamlining power system grid operational management techniques; increased power availability and service quality.
Power system resilience and decarbonization: Digital-based solutions that enable the creation of a greener and more reliable power infrastructure (covering generation systems as well as the grid): increased renewable capacity; grid stability and flexibility; end-user energy savings (Commercial & Industrial as well as households).
Benefits of the challenge
The Digital Energy Challenge will award 2 to 3 utility and technology/service provider collaboration projects, as well as 5 to 8 start-up ventures, each year.
A €1.8 million annual budget will enable grant-based funding, technical assistance, and strategic counseling. The following benefits are available to challenge winners:
- A financial contribution in the form of a grant for the acquisition of equipment and software, training, start-up recruitment costs, and product/service purchase costs linked to technology/service providers for utilities.
- On a case-by-case basis, technical assistance for all utilities and select start-ups, such as project management support, strategic and technical expertise, and accounting/reporting aid.
- AFD conducted extensive social media communication strategies for the project during the selection procedure, award ceremony, boot camp, and for a period of time after these events.
The Call for Projects 2023 is aimed at projects situated in Africa and owned by:
- Pre-seed or early-stage ventures. Non-profit organizations can apply under the Startup category.
- Public utilities in collaboration with technology/service providers (public power utilities and public Independent System Operators, private enterprises under a public service concession, power pools, regional organizations, energy regulators, and rural electrification authority).
This application is open to all African countries. The deadline for application is Monday, May 15, 2023.
For startups, click here to apply
For utilities, click here to apply
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