Enel expands into Canadian innovation ecosystem

Published on Wednesday, 30 September 2020

Enel expands its innovation reach into Canada. We have signed a membership agreement with Toronto-based MaRS Discovery District, North America’s largest urban innovation hub. The partnership will provide us access to the MaRS network of more than 1,300 ventures and will help foster our relationships within the Canadian innovation ecosystem, home to the world’s fourth largest startup concentration. 

“With this new partnership in North America we are expanding our innovation footprint into one of the largest startup ecosystems in the world,” said Luca Seletto, head of the Enel Innovation Hub in Boston. “North America continues to play an increasingly important role for Enel’s global innovation strategy and the partnership with MaRS further solidifies our commitment to growing in this market. With MaRS we will be able to expand our access to a large network of diverse startups and partners and broaden the reach of our open innovation model, which unites innovation and sustainability to drive our strategic plan and transform the energy sector.”

Through the partnership, we will work with MaRS to identify startups with the greatest potential to address specific challenges launched by our company that align with existing needs within the business including on topics related to digitization, clean technology and automation, all with the ultimate objective of accelerating the energy transition. 

“All sectors of the global economy depend on innovative startups to stay connected and agile when confronting major change,” says Jon Dogterom, senior vice president of Venture Services at MaRS. “As companies across the globe become more tech driven, we need innovative solutions coming out of Canada. This is an exciting partnership — Enel is one of the world’s most innovative energy companies and MaRS has a strong history of working in the clean energy sector.”

Once partner startups have been selected, we collaborate with them to provide support for the development of their technologies, including the possibility to test their solutions in our plants and facilities and access the expertise of our employees and partners as well as the different Labs that we have around the world. Startups collaborating with us can access a wide network of international partners and Venture Capital funds, and, most importantly, will have the opportunity to scale their solutions on our operations around the world. 

We will kick off our work with MaRS by introducing our global ReShape Call to the MaRS network. The deadline for ReShape has been extended as two new challenges have been added. The new challenges seek technologies able to improve both connectivity and business recovery in marginal and rural areas. They have been added to those already featured, such as digitalization and automation of workflow and activities in the construction of renewable power plants, to increase efficiency and safety of workers.

Innovation is a core pillar of our strategy and startups are important partners for us, with more than 300 collaborations implemented over the last three years and more than 60 solutions from startups scaled up at global level. In the US, we have two Innovation Hubs, one located in Boston and a second in San Francisco. We have successfully collaborated with more than 50 North American startups, both with global divisions and to support operations across Enel’s two businesses in the region including its renewables arm Enel Green Power and its advanced energy services business line Enel X. Specifically, in North America we have worked with startups to develop and test cutting-edge utility-scale solar asset management drone and software technologies to optimize field operations and maintenance of solar assets and develop an ultrasonic sensing technology that can improve the performance of lithium ion battery management systems. Through the partnership with MaRS, we are seeking to replicate this success in the Canadian market.

In Canada, Enel has an existing operational portfolio through its two businesses in the North America region. Through EGP our Group operates more than 210 MW of wind capacity in Canada across three wind projects in Alberta, including two that started operations in 2020. Enel X is a market leader in demand response in Ontario and Alberta and has a portfolio of operational and contracted battery storage projects exceeding 30 MW.

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