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French power firm EDF backs Indian start-ups via competitive programme

It is undertaking its global programme called EDF Pulse in India which follows a competition format and offers financial support and other facilities

French power utility Electricite de France (EDF) will be supporting start-ups in India to promote local innovation for a low-carbon economy. It is undertaking its global programme called EDF Pulse in India, which follows a competition format and offers financial support and other facilities to the winners.

Harmanjit Nagi, director, EDF India, told Business Standard that winners will get access to 16 internal creativity labs, especially within EDF’s research and development, apart from the company’s experts in various fields ranging from technical support and marketing to business development. The prize includes $20,000 for the first position, $5,000 for the second and the third.

“What we offer is a comprehensive support to help start-ups to move from project phase to commercial roll-out. It gives them visibility via EDF social networks. Winners may also get referred to partners and invited by the EDF group to participate in in-house and external public relations events like fora, symposia, allowing them to present their projects and develop their business networks,” said Nagi.

The EDF Pulse competition closes in November. The company has been supporting start-ups through similar programmes in France, the UK, Brazil, and Africa. Since the beginning of EDF Pulse in 2014, around 1,800 start-ups have applied, and more than 60 projects are being supported by the group.

EDF’s internal incubator has invested around 60 million euro in 17 start-ups.

According to Nagi, India is one of the main growth countries for the company, crucial to achieving strategic goals of tripling business outside Europe and doubling its renewable installed capacity worldwide by 2030.

Through EDF Pulse, the company plans to support India’s transition towards a low-carbon sustainable future. “In India, we do business in partnership with Indian companies. EDF Pulse India is another way to support Indian entrepreneurs and maybe find future business partners. EDF believes the best solutions to address specific Indian challenges are designed in the field. It is crucial for EDF to be connected to the local economic fabric,” said Nagi.

EDF has 1.4 gigawatt (Gw) of wind and solar capacity in India, either in operation, construction or in development. It plans to reach the target of 2 Gw in 2022. Its major presence is in the nuclear space, where it is developing a project in Jaitapur of 10 Gw, which will be operated by the Nuclear Power Corporation of India. The rate of localisation will be 20 per cent for the first two reactors and could reach 60 per cent for the last two, said Nagi.

EDF is also deploying one of two biggest smart metering contracts awarded by Energy Efficiency Services. It covers the design of a data supervisory control and management systems, installation of 5 million smart meters in Andhra Pradesh and Bihar, integration of smart meters with existing billing system of electricity distribution companies, operation, and maintenance for a period of 6.5 years.

The French major is also exploring possible business opportunities in electric vehicle charging infrastructure, hydrogen generation via electrolysis, which is CO2-free as well as zinium (zinc-air) batteries for e-mobility.

Source : Business Standard

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