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London Tech Week

Amidst energy crisis, Austria’s HYDROGRID nets $8.5M to make hydro the future of power

Picture credits: HYDROGRID

The recent surges in power market prices across Europe once again drive the need for intelligent, renewable power generation and storage to lessen the dependency on fossil fuels. With an installed capacity of 1,330 GW and an annual generation of 4,370 TWh globally, hydropower is the largest source of renewable energy there is, accounting for more than 60% of all renewable generation.

Despite its important role, hydro is often viewed as the sleeping giant of the energy transition. Changing this scenario, Austrian scaleup, HYDROGRID, has closed $8.5 million in Series A funding. 

The investment round was led by new shareholders Inven Capital and Karma Ventures (backed Wirepas, Lucinity, and Jobbatical). It also saw contributions from existing investors – CNB Capital and SET Ventures. 

HYDROGRID will use the funds to accelerate its rapid growth path, expand into new international markets, and enable a successful transition towards a zero-carbon future. 

Eyes to make hydropower mainstream

Founded in 2016 in Vienna and led by Janice Goodenough and Annette Mossel, offers fully automated software solutions for the optimal, real-time control of hydropower plants. As per the company, this enables hydro operators to save up to 20 hours per week.

Its real-time software solution closes this capability gap. The fully automated software acts similarly to an autonomous driving assistant for cars. The weather and power market data are combined with local sensor measurements from the hydropower plant to deliver an optimal power plant dispatch plan in real-time. As a result, power plant operators benefit from a reduced daily operational workload. At the same time, it is claimed to increase power generation by up to 10% and revenues by up to 50% as compared to manual operation.

It is touted to provide a positive effect on the power grid as a whole, by dispatching hydropower in line with times of highest demand and thereby providing a mitigating effect on supply shortages and price spikes.

The HYDROGRID solution is currently deployed by power generators across six European countries for hydro assets of up to 150 MW. 

“Despite the important role hydropower has to play as a green battery to the grid, hydro is often viewed as the sleeping giant of the energy transition. This is because a significant part of its potential is currently underutilised due to a lack of digitalisation or due to complex regulation. And that’s what we aim to change.” says Janice Goodenough, CEO of HYDROGRID.

Michal Mravec, Investment Director at Inven Capital underscores this: “At Inven Capital, we believe hydropower is vital in the transition towards a zero-carbon economy. HYDROGRID’s ability to proactively manage inflow forecasting, water management, and environmental regulation and then combine it with optimal power trading, adds tremendous value to hydropower owners.”

Tommi Uhari, Partner at Karma Ventures said: “I have been following the development of both the product and the company already since 2019. The outstanding level of talent and spirit of the HYDROGRID team is in my opinion the company’s greatest asset. It makes me confident that they will continue to execute their ambitious growth plans. That’s why we’re excited to invest alongside Inven Capital and to witness the continued support from existing investors CNB and SET Ventures. This gives the company the freedom to realise its vision and full potential.”

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