The Energy Apps for Ontario Challenge winners are…

In the shadow of the recent Olympics it might sound anticlimactic to say that I’m extremely proud to be Ontarian because of the Energy Apps for Ontario Challenge, but the competition—and the greater Green Button initiative—is a vital part of empowering consumers to understand and manage their energy consumption.

The Apps Challenge is a great example of how MaRS and the Ontario government support the innovative ideas of entrepreneurs who are tackling society’s emerging challenges. With over $50,000 in awards from the Ministry of Energy, we’ve encouraged the creation of great solutions to engage electricity consumers. After the launch of the challenge on October 1, 2013, developers had until January 21, 2014, to develop their applications. Public voting and judging took place between February 3 and 17.  

A variety of free resources were available to developers throughout the challenge, including access to a free test lab sponsored by Affinity Systems that allowed developers to test their apps and ensure that they worked with the Green Button Connect My Data API. Judges were looking for creativity and originality, quality of execution, and the potential of the apps to impact how consumers make decisions regarding their electricity use.

It was over a year ago that MaRS partnered with the Ministry of Energy to launch the Ontario Green Button initiative. Since then, 60% of residential consumers have gained access to their electricity data and we continue to forge ahead, with the most recent milestone being the Energy Apps for Ontario Challenge. Here is a brief look at what’s been accomplished over the past 18 months.

  • September 2012: MaRS launched a peer-to-peer group to solicit input from entrepreneurs.

  • November 2012: The Ontario Green Button initiative was launched and a working group was established.

  • February 2013: Green Button Download My Data standards were developed and utilities began implementing them. Currently, Festival HydroGuelph HydroHydro OneLondon HydroNorth Bay HydroOttawa HydroPowerStream and Toronto Hydro provide access to their customers.

  • September 2013: The MaRS Energy Hackathon took place, with 100 developers, London HydroEnergentAffinity Systems and a number of partner sponsors.

  • October 2013: The Energy Apps for Ontario Challenge was launched.

  • November 2013: Connect my Data pilots were announced.

  • December 2013: Over 2.85 million consumers now have access to Green Button Download My Data.

  • February 2014: The Energy Apps for Ontario Challenge judging and announcement took place (see list of winners below).

One result of the MaRS Energy Hackathon was the emergence of PowerInform, an innovative company that provided a second test lab for the Energy Apps for Ontario Challenge, allowing entrepreneurs to evaluate their use of the Green Button Connect my Data API.

So, who were the winners of the App Challenge?

  • The Gold Award and $20,000 goes to Wattson.

  • The Silver Award and $10,000 goes to Beckon.

  • The Bronze Award and $7,500 goes to Energy Tipper.

  • The Best Student App Award and $5,000 goes to Wattermelon.

  • The Best App Created Outside of Ontario Award and $5,000 goes to UnPlug Stuff.

  • The People’s Choice Award and $2,500 goes to Wattson.

The conclusion of the Energy Apps for Ontario Challenge is closely followed by the start of the first phase of year-long Connect my Data pilots with London Hydro and Hydro One. The first phase will incorporate existing solutions, including EnergentZerofootprintEyedro and BuiltSpace. In the second phase, new solutions - including winning apps in the challenge - will be considered for participation.

MaRS Cleantech looks forward to continuing our support of PowerInform and engaging with Apps Challenge developers to help commercialize their products and build successful Ontario businesses.

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Judges: Energy Apps for Ontario Challenge

The judges have been chosen for the Energy Apps for Ontario Challenge! They possess a wealth of experience and expertise - take a moment to get to know them better:

David Crow
Catalyst for hire/Consultant
davidcrow.ca

David is the Editor and Community Animator for StartupNorth, which he founded with Jonas Brandon and Jevon MacDonald, and an Evangelist in Residence at OMERS Ventures. David currently serves on the board of Lymbix, is a Mentor/Advisor at JOLT http://jolt.marsdd.com/, and is an advisor to Hacker You, Bunch, PrintChomp and TribeHR.

Jane Allen
Chief Diversity Officer, Deloitte
deloitte.com 

Jane Allen is the Global Leader for Renewable Energy of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (DTTL). In her global industry leadership role, she directs strategic initiatives to grow Deloitte member firm market share within the renewable energy industry. During her 35-year career, Jane has led teams serving all aspects of the power sector, including consulting with top management on strategy development and execution, and business performance improvement.

Jim Burpee
President and Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Electricity Association
electricity.ca 

Jim Burpee is President and Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Electricity Association. He has a long history with the electricity industry both in Canada and globally, including work for Ontario Hydro and its successor company, Ontario Power Generation (OPG), and Bridge Renewable Energy T echnologies Inc.

Satish Kanwar
Director of Operations, Shopify 
shopify.com / @skanwar

Tom Chapman
Economics and Policy, Independent Electricity System Operator
ieso.ca

Tom Chapman is responsible for Economics and Policy at Ontario`s Independent Electricity System Operator in its Markets division.  Previously he worked as Director, Transmission and Distribution Policy at the Ministry of Energy providing policy advice and recommendations to the ministry on all matters related to transmission planning, smart grid and network policy and energy storage. Tom has over 15 years energy industry experience, beginning his career at a joint venture start-up competing in the liberalised U.K natural gas market before moving on to management consultancy roles helping European and North American utilities succeed in deregulated electricity and natural gas markets. Tom holds a Masters degree in Business Economics from Swansea University and recently completed the Ivey Executive Program at the University of Western Ontario. 

Tom Rand
Cleantech Investor, Advisor, Speaker, Author, Entrepreneur
tomrand.net 

Tom Rand is a successful cleantech venture capitalist, inventor of the Green Bond, cofounder of North America’s greenest Hostel, Planet Traveler, and the author of 10 Clean Technologies to save our World. Tom is also Lead Cleantech Advisor at the MaRS Discovery District, Canada's largest innovation center in Toronto that helps entrepreneurs by providing advice and acting as a catalyst to generate economic activity from promising intellectual property.

Whitney Rockley
Co-Founder, McRock Capital
mcrockcapital.com 

Whitney Rockley has over 15 years of investment, operating and strategic planning experience in large, established industries such as power, water and Oil & Gas. Prior to co-founding McRock Capital, she was a Partner with Emerald Technology Ventures and Nomura New Energy Ventures. She has extensive experience setting up and managing corporate venture capital programs. 

Just Launched: The Energy Apps for Ontario Challenge

October 1 saw the launch of the Energy Apps for Ontario Challenge, a contest organized by MaRS and funded by the Ministry of Energy. The goal of the Challenge is to encourage developers to create effective, new, proof-of-concept apps that will help Ontarians unlock the potential of Green Button-enabled electricity data.

While there are $50,000 in awards for the best entries, the Challenge is also an opportunity to effect positive social and environmental change through technology. Apps created for the contest have the potential to access a growing market of consumers, nationally and internationally, who are seeking out solutions to help them manage their energy consumption.

For details about the Green Button standard API, as well as the contest dates, times, requirements and judging criteria, please visit the contest website. Submissions will be accepted until January 7, 2014 at 5:00 p.m. ET.

The Energy Apps for Ontario challenge is the latest in a series of efforts undertaken by MaRS to enable innovation through access to electricity consumption data, including the recent  MaRS Energy Hackathon.

MaRS Energy Hackathon | September 7 & 8

The MaRS Energy Hackathon is coming to Toronto this September and they want you to be there! 

MaRS is calling on developers, designers, energy experts and budding entrepreneurs to create apps and hardware that make use of the Green Button open API and other sample datasets. The goal? Your brainchild will help consumers better understand, access and manage their electricity consumption.

The Green Button standard has already been adopted across the United States (including Federally!), and is starting to take hold across Ontario. In fact, to date, it's allowed 2.6 million Ontarians to access and share their electricity data. 

On September 7 & 8, come to MaRS to build an app, create a gadget and join the Green Button Revolution!  

For more information go to energyhack.ca.  Any questions can be directed to Lindsay Archibald: larchibald@marsdd.com