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EDP: Starter Acceleration Program

At L Marks, we are committed to working closely with our partners to create bespoke programmes that fit their individual requirements.

We partnered with one of Europe’s major electricity providers, EDP, to unite their startup engagement units into a single global programme for Starter Acceleration Program 2019. Combining the L Marks expertise and methodologies with EDP’s experiences in innovation, we created  a global series of accelerators in Europe, Latin America and North America. Additional partners also joined this initiative, including fellow energy sector operators, American Electric Power, Verbund and TurningTables.

The Starter Acceleration Program focused on seven categories, in line with EDP’s strategic areas:

  • Development of solutions that stimulate the relationship with the customer, simplifying their life and anticipating their needs.
  • Collection of data, extracting value, and safe maintenance, through leveraging emerging technologies.
  • Improvement of energy storage technologies, design and optimisation tools for energy storage integration, and preventive and predictive analytics.
  • New renewable energy technologies, retrofitting technologies to improve assets’ performance, and solutions to improve resilience and flexibility of renewable energy sources.
  • Identification and early-adoption of smart grid technologies that improve the infrastructures technical and economic efficiency.
  • Assisting in EDP’s commitment to the UN’s Access to Energy to transform the way energy is produced, distributed and consumed to break the poverty cycle, allowing the social and economic development of remote rural areas.
  • Solutions for EDP’s internal challenges, companies that can support in the areas including finance, legal, management, human resources, and marketing.

L Marks scouted over 1,000 startups from around the world in search of innovative technologies that could disrupt the energy sector and beyond. We received 495 applications of which 10 startups were invited to join each module, starting with the Europe Module in Madrid in June 2019, followed by Latin America (São Paulo) in July and North America (Houston) in September. The 30 startups offered a broad variety of services from client focused and digital innovation solutions through to smart grids and clean energy.

Over the course of the 5-day bootcamps, the startups received focused coaching and mentorship which helped them to define a specific use case to work with EDP and/or their partners. The startups had the opportunity to showcase their solutions to the ventures teams and discuss pilot proposals with the business units directly. This has increased their chances of securing a POC trial and given the utilities a chance to deep dive into the solutions on offer. This spirit of collaboration has fostered innovation and increased the opportunities for the startups involved.

Startups with strong use cases are progressing with pilots and the three from each module with the most potential to work with EDP and their partners were showcased by EDP at Web Summit in Lisbon in November. At this event, LexX Technologies, which offers digital intelligence for maintenance technicians, was voted the winner of the Starter Acceleration Program 2019 and received a cash prize of €50,000.

“We could not be more pleased with this evolution from the various startup acceleration programs to a truly global initiative that sets our quality benchmark even higher. We believe this is the right path in our search for new business models and services that can be adopted by the businesses that we have in 16 countries.”
Carla Pimenta, EDP Group Innovation Head of Startup Engagement


LexX Technologies 

LexX Technologies have developed an intelligent assistant, LexX, that has been purpose-built to bring experience, knowledge and learning to Maintenance Technicians, enabling optimal availability and efficiency from critical business assets.  Based in Sydney, Australia, LexX took part in the North America module and worked closely with EDP Renewables over the course of the 5-day bootcamp in Houston.

Following the programme, EDP Renewables entered into a contract with LexX Technologies to pilot of its intelligent maintenance assistant at its Twin Groves wind turbine plant, Illinois.  Through this, EDP Renewables will establish that LexX will enable:

  • Technicians to get it right the first time and continue to get it right. Consolidating best practices, improving maintenance procedures across the organisation and minimising unnecessary use of parts.
  • An improved workforce capacity. With less technician time spent on the phone, searching for, retrieving and classifying work orders EDP Renewables will increase the capacity of the existing workforce to improve turbine availability.
  • Scaling of the technical workforce. Less time is needed to train and job-shadow technicians to high competency levels, increasing the scalability and flexibility of the existing workforce.
  • Enhanced forecasting accuracy. Improved data and configuration management ensures the integrity and currency of the assets, components, spares and resources related to maintenance. This allows the organisation to optimise its inventory through reliable long term-planning and forecasting.

LexX has been designed specifically for maintenance technicians, acting as a virtual assistant for technicians at Twin Groves to interact in their Natural Language to troubleshoot maintenance and repair issues. They are then visually guided through to an inspection, repair, service, assembly and resolution to faults, defects and routine maintenance.  EDP Renewables has wind farms across the Americas and Europe and have drafted plans to deploy the LexX solution across their 11.2 GW, and growing, international operating portfolio after successfully trialing the platform in North America.

“This form of open innovation and sharing is one of EDP’s priorities which, more than a decade ago, we’d recognized as the revolution that the energy sector would undergo.  We identified a distinct need to invest in and bring up the best in startups and SMEs worldwide to lead in this revolution. We’re excited by our engagement with LexX and look forward to delivering their innovative capabilities across our O&M portfolio.”
Carla Pimenta, EDP Group Innovation Head of Startup Engagement