The Enel Group has launched itself into the heart of the global tech sector after inaugurating the Enel Innovation Hub at University of California, Berkeley, aground-breaking initiative joining the Enel Group and UC Berkeley in start-up scouting, acceleration and research collaboration.
The new Hub has been launched in partnership with theUniversity of California Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS) and the Banatao Institute. The Hub, whose headquarters are located at the CITRIS Foundry Accelerator on campus at UC Berkeley, is part of the international start-up network within the Enel Group that will select the best start-ups with which to develop joint business projects. Enel is the first corporation to establish a unique partnership withCITRIS that leverages both startup innovation through the CITRIS Foundry Accelerator, and world-class academic research at UC Berkeley.
The ribbon-cutting ceremony took place at CITRIS’ Sutardja Dai Hall in the presence of the Group’s Head of Innovation and Sustainability ErnestoCiorra, the Head of Enel’s Global Renewable Energies Division, Enel Green Power, Francesco Venturini, Professor Henry Chesbrough, ExecutiveDirector of the Center for Open Innovation at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, Professor Costas Spanos, Director of CITRIS and the Banatao Institute and Lorenzo Ortona, Consul General of Italy in San Francisco.
“The launch of our Innovation Hub in a place with such a high concentration of companies looking to disrupt and innovate is the next stage of an exciting journey for Enel,” said Ernesto Ciorra. “The Group has long been pushing collaboration with forward-looking start-ups, not only as a way of exposing the Group to cutting-edge technology and ideas, but also by bringing our own technology and engineering expertise to help these companies develop finding ways to integrate their tech innovations into the fabric of our business”.
“Enel’s already strong presence in the United States can only be bolstered by working in close contact with an academic institution as important as UC Berkeley,” said Francesco Venturini. “The Enel Innovation Hub will bring the Group into even closer contact with some of the world’s most innovative start-ups, boosting our industry-leading efforts in the spread of renewable energy not just in the United States but across the globe.”
"Together with these public and private partners, we are shaping the future of technology transfer in ways that cross traditional boundaries," said Costas Spanos.
The Enel Innovation Hub will scout start-ups to work with the Group, developing businessprojects with the fledgling companies both in the US and internationally while also providing them with an acceleration programme and access to people, tech resources, test laboratories, a network of venture capital funds and a potential market of more than 30 countries. One of the aims of the Hub is to provide US customers with energy management and storage solutions that maintain the country’s grid stability and make it less prone to outages.
Start-ups working at the Hub will be identified based on the current technological and business priorities of Enel, and selected with the help of the CITRIS Foundry. The selected startups will receive technical and business support so that they can go to market in theshortest time possible and will be mentored by Enel experts. An innovation manager from Enel will oversee the Hub and will be a broader point of contact between all the start-ups working at the Hub and Enel’s start-up networks based in Israel, Brazil, Chile and Europe.
The Enel Innovation Hub is the Enel Group’slatest move in the United States, where through its subsidiary Enel Green Power North America (EGPNA) it operates in excess of 3 GW of renewable energy capacity pread across around 100 plants in 23 states. In January EGPNA bought100% of Demand Energy Networks (Demand Energy), a US-based company specialisedin intelligent software and energy storage systems, whose DEN.OSTM software enables real-time optimisation of energy management and revolutionises
the way electricity is generated, stored and consumed.