“Rapid population growth and urbanization in emerging markets means that we need to think about smart cities in both developed and developing markets.”
Ugwem Eneyo spent much of her childhood in the Niger Delta, a place rife with energy blackouts, human-rights abuses, and degradation from its oil and gas industry, which accounts for a staggering 83% of the country’s exports.
“Seeing the impact, both good and bad, of the industry made me curious about the nexus of infrastructure, environment, and development,” Eneyo says.
That curiosity led her to create SHYFT Power Solutions, an energy-technology company that connects and manages distributed energy resources in markets that struggle with grid reliability and resiliency. SHYFT offers distributed clean energy that is reliable and affordable to those who currently have limited access to energy in Africa.
“Rapid population growth and urbanization in emerging markets means that we need to think about smart cities in both developed and developing markets,” she says. “SHYFT is enabling a leapfrog over unreliable, centralized power grids to an intelligent, distributed energy landscape that can deliver clean, reliable, and affordable power.”
Ironically, Eneyo’s career began in the oil and gas industry as an environmental risk advisor. She soon left the industry to pursue a doctorate in civil and environmental engineering at Stanford University, where a course she took with J.B. Straubel, co-founder and CTO of Tesla, sparked the idea for SHYFT.
Initially set up using bootstrapping funds, SHYFT has successfully raised funding from academic institutions such as MIT and the Stanford TomKat Center for Sustainability, as well as venture capital firms like Powerhouse Ventures and Total Carbon Neutrality Ventures.
“At SHYFT, we’re particularly excited by markets that will disproportionately be impacted by climate change but are often overlooked when it comes to groundbreaking climate and technology solutions,“ she says. “We see unreliable power or costly generators as a symptom of a poor model for infrastructure development. So, we focus on a new model, one that fosters rapid deployment of clean, reliable, and affordable energy solutions.”
Read the full interview here.