The Orion Energy Accelerator national competition teams are coming to Taranaki for a two-day intensive boot camp with the support of the new energy centre Ara Ake to refine their ideas to reduce New Zealand’s carbon emissions.

The Orion Energy Accelerator offers two start-up grants worth a combined $25,000 for individuals and start-up companies with energy innovative ideas to be guided through a programme to validate and commercialise their idea. The programme is powered by Christchurch-based start-up and innovation organisation the Ministry of Awesome.

Ten teams representing a range of New Zealand innovators will pitch their new energy projects to a panel of local experts at the Western Institute of Technology at Taranaki on Thursday, 22 July. The innovators and start-up companies have innovations across the energy sector, including EV charging, e-mobility, smart grids, energy storage, and affordable energy solutions.

Orion General Manager, Customer and Stakeholder, Paul Deavoll said “We’re pleased to have a raft of ideas for solutions to our planet’s biggest problem, the climate emergency.

“We’re looking for leading-edge energy solutions that will help us move urgently towards a low-emission future. The Orion Energy Accelerator entrants are being given a helping hand to get their ideas off the ground, and it’s great that Ara Ake has given them the chance to refine their ideas here in Taranaki.”

Ara Ake Chief Executive, Dr Cristiano Marantes, says of the programme “This is a great opportunity to connect innovators with industry experts, investors and community representatives. Running a two-day intensive bootcamp in Taranaki is a testament to the wealth of knowledge, ingenuity and passion that this region has to offer in the energy innovation space.”

Ministry of Awesome’s Chief Awesome Officer Marian Johnson said “Fostering connections between the energy industry and energy innovation is a key outcome for the success of the Orion Energy Accelerator. We are delighted to be invited to New Plymouth by Ara Ake who have assembled NZ's energy leadership to meet the accelerator's high growth energy start-up teams.”

The boot camp panel consists of Eric Pellicer from Powerco, Michelle Jordan from Venture Taranaki, John Snook from WITT, Barbara Kuriger, Taranaki-King Country MP, and Ian Frame from Launch Taranaki. It is the opportunity for the panellists to provide their constructive feedback on the finalists’ business cases before the public Demo Evening on 16 September, where two Start-Up Grants worth a combined $25,000 will be awarded, which will contribute to commercialising their idea.

To find out more, visit


About the projects

About the projects


An electric tractor utility platform with grid support capability, aiming to optimise energy use on farms and smallholdings. Coupled with Agrivoltaics and stationary storage, the platform will increase energy independence and resilience.


A communications and control platform that enables energy customers to automatically optimise their power generation, storage, delivery and consumption of power.

EmPower Energy

A social enterprise that aims to solve ‘power poverty’ by installing solar panels on at-risk homes and making excess solar energy available to the energy poor.


Econx have developed a smart home solution that brings integrated control of both the security and automation of your home to your fingertips, from anywhere in the world. By consolidating this control your home becomes more efficient, more secure and simple to use.


To help farmers become more sustainable and energy efficient, Solagri has developed an on-farm energy management solution. The idea is to install a solar array and battery system at their own cost on land leased from an agri-business, and sell the energy produced back to farmers at a low cost.


Evisi enables commercial electric vehicle operators to reduce their charge costs and transition to low carbon transport by making fleet charger electricity demand optimisation and electric vehicle telemetry easy to manage.

Grid Share

Grid Share develops a number of innovative spill management and hybrid renewable embedded network designs. Their dynamic computing solutions can consume electricity capacity in real time, helping to avoid wastage and make more efficient use of energy.

AgLoco™ Ltd

A zero-carbon tractor powered directly by crop residues or wood fuel, eliminating the need for diesel, reducing waste and improving land productivity. Requiring next to no infrastructure, AgLoco™ helps farms grow affordable food beyond fossil fuel.

RedPhase (Phase Power)

Phase Power has developed a unique inverter for rebalancing the power between phases at photovoltaic (PV) power generation sites. This aims to maximise the returns from the PV and also balance the load for the power network in three phase environments.

Hiko Unlimited

Designed specifically for humanitarian and emergency response organisations as well as mobile telecommunication providers and their users in hard-to-reach places, Hiko has developed a clean, sustainable non-chemical powered portable battery device.

About Orion
Orion is central Canterbury’s electricity lines company, delivering power to more than 211,600 homes and businesses in Christchurch, Banks Peninsula and the Selwyn region.