As Aotearoa New Zealand moves towards a low-emission energy future, the Electricity Distribution Business (EDB) Challenge aims to find innovative solutions to electrification challenges faced by EDBs.

The EDB Challenge is an initiative by Ara Ake, designed to bring together electricity distribution businesses and innovators to collaboratively tackle decarbonisation challenges.

This challenge saw Ara Ake working closely with EDBs to identify and articulate their specific problems and conducting a global search for innovative solutions to pilot on New Zealand's electricity distribution networks. The challenge addressed the complexities of investing in, managing, and operating electricity networks to support New Zealand's decarbonisation goals, while ensuring a reliable and equitable electricity distribution service.

The outcome was eight EDBs partnering with four global innovators, committing to pilot projects. Now, after a year of testing, these pilots are nearing completion, and soon the lessons and insights gained from them will be shared.

 EDBs were specifically seeking pilot-ready technologies that could:

  • Optimise visibility, management, and forecasting of peak demand and network constraints.
  • Forecast, visualise, and integrate the network impact of electricity demand growth, distributed energy resources (DERs), and flexibility services into asset management, planning and operations.
  • Expedite the DER connection process, with a focus on network impact assessment.

The Innovators


  • Jun 2022: EDB’s engaged and problem statement workshop
  • Oct 2022: Global search for innovators to address issues
  • Nov 2022: Pitch event with winning pilots announced at event
  • Jan 2023: Pilots underway
  • Dec 2023: Pilots complete and reviews started
  • Sep 2024: Summary and learnings report to be published