Austrian tech startup Hydrogrid is leveraging digitalization and IoT technology to unlock the untapped potential of hydropower. Despite being a dominant source of renewable energy globally, hydropower faces challenges, including environmental concerns related to dam construction, leading it to be overshadowed by wind and solar. Hydrogrid’s IoT platform enhances the efficiency of existing hydroelectric plants and supports smaller-scale projects, addressing the underutilization of hydropower potential.
Hydropower currently generates more energy than all other renewables combined, with pumped storage hydro accounting for 90% of energy storage capacity. However, investment and interest in hydropower in Europe tends to lag behind wind and solar due to various challenges.
Hydrogrid has developed an IoT-enabled platform that assists hydroelectric plants in running more efficiently and cost-effectively. The platform utilizes an algorithm fed with live data from the plant, helping managers identify the optimal times to sell electricity to the grid and enabling quick responses to weather events, minimizing water losses.
Claiming a potential boost of 10% in power generation and up to 50% increase in revenues, Hydrogrid aims to enhance the role of hydropower as a green battery for the energy grid through digitalization. This very innovative startup has secured contracts with energy utilities, including a recent agreement with Swiss energy utility EWN to digitize eight hydropower plants, and a collaboration with Norwegian company Småkraft involving the digital makeover of 16 facilities in Norway and Sweden.
Hydrogrid recently announced a successful Series A funding round, securing $8.5 million (€7.8 million). The funds will be used to expand into new markets, building on its presence in seven countries. Investors, including Inven Capital, highlight Hydrogrid’s ability to proactively manage inflow forecasting, water management, environmental regulation, and optimize power trading as a significant value addition for hydropower owners.
Overall, Hydrogrid’s innovative approach, combining digitalization and IoT, aims to breathe new life into hydropower, addressing its underutilized potential and contributing to a more sustainable energy world.