Energy transition start-ups shake up the business world

The shift to a low-carbon future is turning the economy inside out. Policy has a crucial role to play, but ultimately it is businesses that will make the energy transition happen.

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Sören Amelang

In Energiewende home country Germany, many start-ups are at the forefront of transformation by bringing novel business ideas to market and by snatching market share from incumbents in sectors such as renewables, heating or mobility. In areas like storage and hydrogen, the young companies in this “Green Energy Valley” are among the world’s leaders and could be key to cleaning up polluting industries. Incumbents also bet on start-up innovation to cut emissions, and the government now nurtures the sector with a plethora of support programmes. But many start-ups continue to lament overburdening red tape, hesitant investors and a relatively small domestic market that slows expansion.

“Germany has a key role to play. The mere fact that the term ’Energiewende‘ has become a globalised word speaks for itself. If people want to understand what an energy transition could possibly mean, they still look to Germany for what could go wrong, and also for what could go right. Germany has examples to offer for both.” — Christoph Frei, CEO at World Energy Council
Germany’s top green start-up deals in 2017 and 2018. Graph by Borderstep Institute — Green Startup Monitor 2018 Germany’s top green start-up deals in 2017 and 2018. Graph by Borderstep Institute — Green Startup Monitor 2018


Germany’s role as “Green Energy Valley”

Cutting edge in storage & hydrogen