Status of the challenge: Open for registration

Open Innovation Challenge 2021: Offshore Grid Integration


€20,000 for a PoC with Elia Group

Mentoring, training, and visibility

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Information details

Who can participate

Start-ups from around the world, classified as minimum early stage (not ideation phase)

Status of the challenge


Open Innovation Challenge 2021

In the context of the European Green Deal and the EU’s ambition to become carbon neutral by 2050, offshore wind generation is playing a vital role in accelerating the decarbonization of the energy mix.

To unleash the untapped potential of higher full-load hours of wind power generation at sea, offshore grid operation is entering a new phase of development with multiple challenges and opportunities to improvethe planning, building and operation of the necessary transmission infrastructure. To improve security, efficency, sustianability and cost, the Elia Group Open Innovation Challenge invites start-ups from around the world to come up with innovative solutions around the following four focus areas:

1) Sustainability:  

  • Solutions to protect and foster ecosystems while reducing the environmental footprint in the construction and operation of the offshore grid.

2) Remote operation and maintenance: 

  • Technologies such as IoT, roboticsAI, VR and AR, could increase efficiency and quality of fault detection and maintenance and decrease the need for physical access to enhance the safety of operations and provide greater flexibility. 

3) Grid Integration: 

  • Solutions that tackle technical challenges such as integrating offshore cables to the grid, improve forecasting and facilitate sector coupling. 

4)  Out of the box solutions:  

  • The offshore grid is a means to transport electricity from the offshore windmills to the grid. There may be co-benefits such as grid extensions for offshore data centers, production of energy (tidal power), fishing purposes, telecom, and scientific purposes. Surprise and challenge us! 


Terms and Conditions

The competition is open to start-ups (minimum early stage) from all around the world that fulfill the following:
• registered on the trade register of the country in which their headquarters are based
• with a valid professional insurance policy
• able to supply a registration certificate issued in the last three (3) months
• certifying that they comply with the social and tax legislation to which they are subject

Read the full description of rules

Selection Process

1. Registration

Start-ups register by filling out the application form and by uploading a brief presentation of their solution.

2. Mentoring

Up to 15 start-ups will be pre-selected and assigned to experts at Elia/50Hertz.
The experts serve as mentors that provide insights in Elia Group activities and operations, and support the turn from a general start-up offer to a concrete proposal for a potential use case for a Proof-of-Concept (PoC) at Elia/50Hertz. At the end of the 5-week mentoring phase, the start-ups submit an upgraded proposal to the Elia Group.

3. Final Event

Following a second screening, 5 start-ups will be selected and invited to pitch their solution at the final event in Berlin (depending on the situation of COVID-19). Following the live pitch by the finalists, a jury of expert will choose the winner of the OIC 2021 and handover the prize of 20.000€ to develop a Proof of Concept with Elia Group. The final event is a special occasion with participants from the entire energy value chain. The event will give start-ups further visibility and acess to industry players.

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