The question of smart grid in Israel is not if but when and how, and the country should start with a trial and determining an adequate incentive to implement the smart grid technology, a new paper from the Israeli Smart Energy Association (ISEA) recommends.

The ‘Roadmap for Smart Grid Implementation in Israel’ is aimed to analyze the smart grid in an objective manner from the point of view of the national economy. The focus is on an enhanced smart meter deployment, including the technology, engineering, regulation, legal, marketing and economic aspects, and the role of the local industry.

According to the paper, Israel is an "interesting case". On the one hand, the Israel Electric Company (IEC) has installed advanced control and supervision systems in the transmission and distribution segments. However, on the other hand, Israel is lagging behind in all elements related to the end user premises. The first trial is currently being performed and is scheduled to be completed during the first quarter of 2014.

A cost-benefit analysis for smart metering deployment in Israel finds that for a rollout of 2.54 million meter points, covering the residential sector and small to medium size enterprises, the costs over the 15-year timeframe 2015-2030 would be ILS6.934 billion (US$1.98 billion and the benefits ILS9.447 billion (US$2.7 billion). The costs comprise ILS4.681 billion (US$1.34 billion) for capex and ILS2.253 billion (US$0.65 billion) for opex, while the benefits include ILS4.325 billion (US$1.24 billion) in operational benefits and ILS5.122 billion (US$1.47 billion) in demand response benefits.

The paper notes that the challenges involved in implementing a smart grid in Israel are partially unique to Israel but most of them are internationally common. The most important are regulatory consent, defining the implementing party, defining priorities, establishing a data policy, building consumer awareness, developing the technical solution, and setting a flexible tariff policy.

Recommendations are:

  1. Expertise – Identify and enhancing areas of expertise currently found in Israel and leveraging that expertise
  2. Funding – Establish dedicated funds through electricity rates and/or government budgets directed toward incentivizing promising smart grid development initiatives, including incubators to initiate new projects and technologies.
  3. Proven models – Use proven models from other countries in implementing cost-benefit analyses, until a significant large scale trial is executed.

The Israeli high-tech and electronic industry, comprising more than 2,000 companies that could provide services and products to the smart grid project, must become aware of the specific requirements of the energy system, international standards, and the profiles of energy customers and their market needs, among others.

Access the Roadmap for Smart Grid Implementation in Israel HERE

By Jonathan Spencer Jones