Three months on another accelerator, this time focused on the electricity industry – and the time passed in a flash! #LLE #Electric ⚡⚡⚡

Electric is a programme focused on innovation in the energy sector.
While the team behind the scenes wasn’t formed from energy experts, the ventures themselves had plenty of sector experience while we provided the ‘innovation’ expertise and environment.

One of the things I learned during my time… aside from how most of us view electricity as an invisible commodity, is how the industry refers to the different segments of the market.

Lightning Lab Electric – Industry

Key thoughts

What is the most exciting technology emerging in the energy sector?

There are many developments that are making the energy sector a keen ‘one-to-watch’ over the next few years… I’m keenly looking at the progress and contracts that are being committed to around the world to increase renewable energy generation on a larger scale.

On a smaller scale though, as consumers are becoming more socially and environmentally conscious (and the technology itself becoming more accessible) many are looking to generate some (or all) of their own power to become self-sustainable.

The uptake of these technologies may develop micro-grid systems, where communities partner and form their own peer-to-peer networks, generating and distributing their own power at a local level. I think that the industry benefits of these micro-grids – improved reliability, reduced infrastructure costs, the impact on local economy through jobs – not to mention the environmental benefits could make this a really interesting area to watch, and could be easily adopted in developing countries to leapfrog the established infrastructures that we find in more economically developed countries.

Why is New Zealand the ideal place to disrupt the energy sector from?

New Zealand is a world-leader in green environmental energy, by already using 80% renewables. The next step, I hope is that NZ will lead the world in becoming 100% renewable.

Personally, I believe that this level of development allows the energy sector to develop further in ways outside of environmental, and so there are opportunities for the higher adoption of alternative energies and technologies at both a consumer as well as industry level.

What do you think consumers are looking for in disruptive energy technologies?

Consumers are becoming more conscious of their choices, both in the energy sector and others, and so any developments or technologies that allow higher customisation, for services to suit personal preferences will be key. In saying this, every consumer is different and so will be their preferences, so there are elements that I believe consumers – no matter their preference – will look for:

  • something that’s easy to understand, adopt and use on a continued basis
  • transparency over usage so that they can make informed choices for control over the service
  • and generally a continued, reliable service

You don’t just have to read my thoughts about the programme or what challenges the energy industry is facing…

We used the programme finale to start some larger, industry-wide, conversations. In our invitations to leaders in the electricity industry and community we asked for them to provide what they thought the biggest challenges facing the sector were. After collating all the responses, we narrowed the themes down to:

Lightning Lab Electric – Regulatory


How might we better align the electricity regulatory environment with innovation to improve the industry and people’s lives?

Lightning Lab Electric – Innovation


How might we foster a collective mindset that supports innovation for a more flexible and resilient industry?

Lightning Lab Electric – Consumer


How might we better understand and adapt to changing consumer behaviour?

Lightning Lab Electric – environment


How might we use our environmental goals to shape new innovations in the industry?

So after the presentations from the LLE teams, our guests and ventures participated in a collaborative, facilitated workshop – thanks to the full Creative HQ crew! Check out what came out of the discussions here.

As always, working on the accelerator programme was a great experience – and I definitely know a lot more about the electricity industry now, thanks to the Lightning Lab Electric teams!

Meet the LLE ventures, and the people I’ve just been working with, below:

*Blog post photos thanks and full credit to Ashley Church at Creative HQ

Lightning Lab Electric – Ampli


Ampli is an energy analytics company specialising in smart-meter analytics, providing modelling and pricing capabilities alongside actionable insights for consumers

Lightning Lab Electric – emhTrade


emhTrade enables consumers to set personal power preferences to make a positive impact on their bill, community and planet

Lightning Lab Electric – MLabs


MLabs is applying machine learning and cloud-based computing to revolutionise high-speed HV electrical protection systems

Lightning Lab Electric – Polanyio


Polanyio provides a streamlined tender process for brokers, retailers and consumers to match customer-demand profiles and retailer-pricing offers

See how the final event pulled together, including some of my work, at Lightning Lab Electric Demo Day.