Ed’s note: Israel’s burgeoning smart energy sector


One of our most popular stories this year has been about a $350 million fund launched by Israel Infrastructure Partners to fund infrastructure upgrades.

The funds will be directed towards building new or upgrading existing infrastructure in the defence, communications, energy, power and renewables, transportation, utilities and water industries.

Read more about Israel here
The weekly Ed’s Note first appeared in our newsletter: subscribe here

Israel is well known for its innovation, particularly in the fields of security, military applications, science and technology. Israel’s national expenditure on R&D to GDP ratio (4.3%) is one of the highest in the world and it is considered one of the top five most innovative countries in the world.

Centrica Innovations, the investment arm of British energy company Centrica, have been scouting for energy innovation in Israel. Between 2015 and 2018, Centrica Innovations has undertaken multi-million-pound investments in:

  • Panoramic Power, which provides wireless sensors to increase energy efficiency.
  • Driivz, an Israeli start-up that offers end-to-end software solutions for electric vehicle (EV) charging;
  • EchoCare, a company founded in Israel, which is developing a non-wearable, self-learning personal emergency response system;

“Israel is a real focus concentration of people, talent, tech,” says Jonathan Tudor, the director of Centrica Innovations.

“Increasingly, our business customers – they’re more worried about the security around data, how do we access that, analyze that, protect it. And when you look at what Israel is renowned for, what it has expertise for: handling massive amounts of data in intelligence, [and] interpreting that.”

Korea and Israel have also announced plans to cooperate following an economic forum in Seoul. The countries will pursue increased cooperation in areas such as vehicle equipment, renewable energy, information and communication technology (ICT), and agreed to expand the level of cooperation into innovative sectors, including biotechnology, AI and data science, and robotics.

Observers of the Israeli political landscape attribute the ‘greening’ of Israeli politics to the recent elections [April 2019], in which environmental issues played a central part in the electoral platform. To date, however, much of the government’s approach has mainly focused on adopting IT/ICT solutions such as smart mobility, yet this is changing, albeit slowly.

In December, the US Department of Energy (DoE) and Israel’s Ministry of Energy (MoE) along with the Israel Innovation Authority selected seven clean energy projects to receive a $6 million investment.

These included:

  • Beam Semiconductors (Rehovot, Israel) and BannerSolar (Eagle, Idaho), will develop a 60GHz active phased array module for wireless gigabit applications with autonomous solar power supply & storage.
  • Brightmerge (Jerusalem, Israel) and Introspective Systems (Portland, Maine), will develop and test dynamic grid pricing with edge load responsive device control.
  • mPrest Systems (Petach Tikva, Israel) and Southern Company (Atlanta, Georgia), will develop integrated primary and secondary volt VAR control and conservation voltage reduction for the distributed grid.
  • Nostromo (Even Yehuda, Israel) and Centrica Business Solutions US, Inc. (Bellevue, Washington), will develop IceBrick – shifting the electricity grid’s peak demand using disruptive ice-battery technology.
  • OneOPI (Herzliya, Israel) and Presidio (Albany, New York) will develop an automated simulation system and service for intelligent microgrid systems.
  • RazorLabs (Tel Aviv, Israel) and Exacter, Inc. (Columbus, Ohio) will develop an AI-based grid resiliency forecasting system.
  • Technion Research and Development Foundation Ltd. (Haifa, Israel) and Primus Power (Hayward, California), will develop a high energy density gridscale storage battery.

A recent survey revealed newly created start-ups in smart energy in Israel can be classified into a number of subsectors: this survey in Israel identified 22 smart metering, 15 grid management, 14 smart cyber, 5 illumination control systems and 5 other expertise companies. Those companies are found at various maturity phases, including early-stage startups, revenue growth phase and mature companies.

Additionally, the Israeli Ministry of Energy, “is pushing hard for a clean Israeli energy sector by 2030.” The Ministry has drafted a strategy focused on generating electricity from natural gas and renewable energy, on increasing energy efficiency, and on promoting a total transition to electric transportation.

The country has shut down the Hadera coal-fired power plant and will install in excess of 2,000 EV charging stations in 2019.

Israel’s total primary energy demand is significantly higher than its total primary energy production, and the country relies heavily on imports to meet its energy needs.

And while moves within Israel have been slow to get off the ground, the country’s reputation as innovators of grid, cybersecurity and even EV technology, eyes are now turning to the Mediterranean state to deliver the building blocks of the future of energy. The strong innovation culture within the country, coupled by outside interest and some newly focussed political will may well be the changing point for the country… and for parts of the energy sector globally.

We’d love to hear from you and gain an understanding of the innovations taking place in your country.

Until next time!