The Ministry of Awesome and Orion are calling on energy innovation startups and people across the motu to enter their carbon crushing innovation ideas before midnight on the 25th of September. 

The Orion Energy Accelerator programme takes people with big ideas on a 10-week startup journey, providing them with all of the resources to grow their idea and thrive.

In addition to expert guidance and industry support, the 10 chosen applicants will receive a $4,000 grant toward their startup as they complete the programme.  Following the event, winners of the ‘Most Innovative’ and ‘Most Impactful’ awards will share $30,000 in grants. 

Ministry of Awesome
Marian Johnson, Ministry of Awesome CEO.

Orion Head of Customer and Communications, Paul Deavoll says, “The energy sector is at the heart of dealing with our climate crisis, where there is an urgent need for continued innovation. Startups are going to play an outsized role, and we want to give them the best fighting chance with the Orion Energy Accelerator.”

Applicants need look no further than last year’s Most Innovative winner, RedPhase Technologies, to know that things can move very quickly for a startup with a strong idea, says Ministry of Awesome Chief Executive, Marian Johnson.

“Comparing where the startups were before and after arriving last year, it was night and day.  In the course of just a year, Robert Turner from RedPhase went from tinkering in his garage, to actively changing the way residential solar panels work across the country,” said Johnson.

All the companies still exist and are actively commercialising.  Empower Energy and Loxley Energy particularly are making excellent headway having completed their first prototype and actively working with early customers.  

Innovation within the energy sector shouldn’t be confined to pure technological advancements. Last year’s recipient of the ‘Impact Award’, Empower Energy, has introduced a solar sharing scheme with the noble goal of ending energy poverty. 

2021 Orion Energy Accelerator participant Loxley, alongside Minister Meghan Woods, and the Ministry of Awesome team.

“We’re after people from all backgrounds who are passionate about tackling big problems. Whether that’s inventing a new kind of battery, or a way to keep people warm over winter, we welcome the full spectrum of ideas,” said Deavoll. 

The Accelerator challenge also coincides with a particularly strong period of growth for the clean energy sector, where global investment is expected to top $1.4 trillion in 2022. Currently, 84 percent of energy usage in New Zealand is renewable – the fourth-highest renewable electricity electricity percentage in the OECD.

The Orion Energy Accelerator is closing for applications at midnight on the 25th of September. For more information on the Orion Energy Accelerator, click here

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