Italian multinational utility Enel has partnered with Israeli construction firm Shikun & Binui and the Israel Electric Corporation (IEC) to boost research and development activities in the infrastructure and networks business.
Enel and Shikun & Binui are partnering with IEC through their joint venture INFRALAB established to digitise infrastructure.
The three parties will recruit start-ups and scale up innovative solutions in the area of infrastructure and networks.
The partnership will leverage INFRALAB’s experience in tracking and engaging with promising local and international start-ups.
Start-ups participating in the INFRALAB programme will also leverage IEC’s experience and facilities, while benefiting from the access to IEC and Enel’s infrastructure sites, data and equipment both in Israel and abroad.
Startups will also benefit from INFRALAB’s innovation package which includes business and technological mentoring.
Enel, IEC and INFRALAB are looking for startups in sectors including grid resilience, flexibility and security.
The startups will focus on digital twins technology and identify technologies that aim to accelerate the construction, operation and maintenance processes of electrical facilities.
Other topics will include enabling remote control and monitoring of the networks, the transition to renewable energy sources and the protection of critical infrastructure from cyberattacks.
INFRALAB, as technological and strategic partner of IEC, will facilitate the identification of specific challenges and the scouting of start-ups in collaboration with the Enel Innovation Hub in Tel Aviv. Finally, through bootcamps, a team of experts will select the most innovative projects that will be developed and tested within the programme.
The three parties will share their start-up portfolio, promoting periodical meetings and organizing mutual events in which the start-ups will be able to share their experiences and ideas.
Ernesto Ciorra, Enel’s head of innovability, said: “This agreement marks a significant milestone on Enel’s path in pursuit of the Open Innovation model.
“The cross pollination of ideas is of immeasurable value in the increasingly challenging Infrastructure and Networks scenario, and through our cooperation with IEC in Israel’s vibrant tech start-up community, we will seek out and support opportunities for innovation that aim to create an increasingly cutting-edge, reliable, safe and resilient energy grid.”
Livio Gallo, Enel’s head of global infrastructures and networks, said: “ In order to continue to lead in innovation, we must constantly look outwards, and we are committed to doing so as is made clear through INFRALAB. Through this partnership, we are further embracing one of the world’s most exciting start-up environments, which produces seemingly endless avenues to make our critical infrastructure as well as the global energy system even more robust, secure and digitalised, while fostering the energy transition by accelerating electrification and decarbonisation.”