Ameren seeks start-ups to boost technology

  • June 2, 2020
  • Steve Rogerson

US power company Ameren is collaborating with the Electric Power Research Institute’s (Epri) Incubatenergy Labs start-up challenge to demonstrate and explore technologies, products and services that have the potential to benefit Ameren’s customers.
Ameren, Epri and 12 other utilities are hosting a set of accelerated technology demonstrations with ten start-up companies that may provide utility customers with effective energy management, and Ameren with tools to maintain system quality, reliability and efficiency using sustainable methods.
The collaborative effort is a core programme in the Ameren Accelerator, which teams with public universities, private companies and industry associations to invest, mentor and host pilot projects with energy technology start-ups.
“Ameren Accelerator 2020 evolves our successful energy innovation model to incorporate more energy technology demonstrations,” said Warner Baxter, CEO of Ameren. “We have confidence that our engagement with these promising start-up companies will help us deliver the kinds of clean, reliable and affordable energy our customers are looking for.”
Ameren will host the following companies for technology demonstrations:

  • EV.Energy (California) – Wireless platform that optimises electric vehicle charging to save customers money, fully use renewable energy and deliver flexibility services to the grid.
  • IND Technology (New York) – Technology that remotely detects and locates electrical faults before they occur, which could prevent power losses, wildfires and other consequences.
  • PingThings (California) – Artificial intelligence platform that processes, stores and uses high-definition sensor data in real time, at grid scale.
  • Recurve (California) – Software as a service tool that analyses how to use energy more efficiently and effectively in response to cost, carbon reduction and other customer goals.

Ameren also is supporting start-up companies who are demonstrating their technology with the other utilities, and Ameren customers may also benefit from their innovations. Those companies are:

  • Grid Fruit (Pennsylvania) – Grid-responsive scheduling of machine cycles to provide demand management and flexibility from commercial foodservice refrigeration systems.
  • Kognitiv Spark (Canada) – Augmented reality-enabled tool to help utility workers and supervisors solve problems and learn new skills on the job.
  • LineVision (Massachusetts) – Non-contact, overhead line sensor technology that provides situational awareness, asset health monitoring and increases capacity.
  • RWI Synthetics (Canada) – AI-driven intelligent systems modelling tool to help grid planners with scenario planning and distributed energy resource integration.
  • Sharc Energy Systems (Canada) – Multifamily building wastewater heat recovery systems.
  • Switched Source (New York) – An alum of the 2017 Ameren Accelerator, Switched Source has continued to develop its power electronics-based distribution-automation to help manage distribution system load and improve power quality.

The demonstrations will begin remotely over the next several weeks. Results of the projects will be presented at the Ameren Accelerator Demo Day in St Louis in October.

St Louis-based Ameren powers 2.4 million electric customers and more than 900,000 natural gas customers through its Ameren Missouri and Ameren Illinois rate-regulated utility subsidiaries.