Smart grid technology through metering and greater energy efficiency saves energy and money, and helps protect the environment. IT, software and communications companies are increasingly integrating their innovative products and systems into solutions that enhance the correct management of energy. This is achieved through more advanced infrastructures for real-time data communications to coordinate between demand for power and power production.
Smart grid technology can predict and intelligently respond to the behavior and actions of all electric power users connected to the grid, by employing innovative products and services, coupled with intelligent monitoring, control, communication, and self-healing technologies. With the emergence of smart grids, every consumer is a potential “prosumer” – both a consumer of green energy services and a supplier of excess capacity to the rest of the grid. The smart grid adds the intelligence necessary to the network that empowers such users.
Smart Grid refers to a new and improved electricity supply chain that runs from a major power plant as well as other renewable energy resources all the way to the home. The Smart Grid concept is to add monitoring, analysis, control, and communication capabilities to the electrical delivery system to maximize the throughput of the system, and to add green energy resources while reducing the energy consumption. The Smart Grid will allow utilities to move electricity around the system as efficiently and economically as possible. It will also allow homeowners and businesses to use electricity as economically as possible.
The Israeli government recognized the importance of this area of activity when it granted $21 million to a consortium called ISG (Israel Smart Grid). The funds were allocated through the MAGNET program, which brings together academia and industry and is operated by the Office of the Chief Scientist (OCS) at the Ministry of Economy. Established in 2011, the project was extended in 2014 to 2016.
Israel Smart Grid
Smart grid technology can predict and intelligently respond to the behavior of all electric power users
Eight companies and five academic centers currently make up the consortium. The project is led by Ceva Inc., an Israeli company traded on Nasdaq and the London Stock exchange, which is the world’s leading licensor of DSP cores and platform solutions for the mobile, digital home and networking markets. Other companies in the consortium are: Motorola Solutions Israel, Cvidya, ECI, Mobix PowerCom, Control Applications, and SATEC.
Most of these companies are known for technological activities that have no connection to cleantech, but they believe that the know-how and systems that they have accumulated in data communications on telecommunications networks will help them provide an appropriate solution. Some of these solutions involve continuous real-time reporting of power consumption to a computerized device, and estimates of the electricity consumption of products sent automatically to the cell phone just before a product is used.
The academic institutions involved in the MAGNET program are Ben Gurion University of the Negev, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Holon Institute of Technology, Technion- Israel Institute of Technology, and Tel Aviv University.
Smart grid technology is fueled by the continuous growing demand for green energy and the requirement to economically deliver and control reliable and sustainable electricity service. The market has huge potential. Ericsson recently estimated that within a few years there will be 50 billion electronic devices dependent on Smart Grid capabilities.
Power usage is currently monitored using electricity meters, as part of the traditional connection to the power supply. It is believed that most electric equipment will be replaced in the coming years in order to provide the technology that will improve control and prediction of power usage. If the cost of a smart electricity monitor is in the tens of dollars, the potential market could reach $100 billion annually.
ISG Research Topics
The ISG consortium will focus on the smart grid of the future, addressing all issues related to communications and monitor and control of transmission, distribution and generation of energy to and from the home network.
Research topics will include:
- Developing a Hierarchical electricity grid that is divided into small, medium and large sub-grids with interactions between them.
- Developing a model and efficient algorithms for the optimal distribution of power in a Hierarchical grid
- Developing new models and algorithms for the execution of Demand-Response systems that includes Solar Power, Energy Storage devices and prosumers.
- Developing technologies and protocols for real time prediction, monitoring and control of potential failures, automatic isolation and self-healing of communication and electricity networks.
- Developing Hybrid communication networks that efficiently support both wireless and wired communication on the same platform.
- Adapting and optimizing advanced PLC and wireless communication technologies to enhance the capacity and rates of future Smart Grid infrastructure.
The consortium works closely with The Israeli Standards Institute, ANSI, ETSI, IEC 62056 and DLMS/COSEM, as well as with The Israeli Electric Corp. (IEC) and electrical power companies around the world.
In addition, there is the Israeli Smart Energy Association, ISEA, a non for profit organization, which serves as a national platform, bringing together local and global Smart Energy players and stakeholders to share knowledge, drive initiatives, and build partnerships.
Metering and Energy Efficiency
While most of the companies involved in MAGNET’s ISG program are major multinational corporations or some of Israel’s largest advanced technology enterprises, the Smart Grid sector in Israel comprises some 40 such smaller companies. These include two of the members of ISG – PowerCom and Control Applications.
PowerCom manufactures and provides Smart Grid and Smart Metering implementation using its “End to End” solution based on its “Smart Meters”, concentrators, and powerful web servers. Control Applications manufactures electrical power meters and energy billing systems.
Greenlet Technologies’ system helps utilities to control power consumption during peak days, and it lets consumers get monetary refunds for reducing power consumption. PowerSines utilizes patented voltage regulation and control technologies in order to deliver the RightVoltage technology to the market. This technology allows electrical savings and CO2 reduction for all commercial applications, as well as in outdoor and indoor commercial lighting, and industrial motor applications.
Computerized Electricity Systems (C.E.S.) has developed a complete energy management system that provides smart functionality and energy efficiency to all types of residential buildings and commercial facilities. The unique, patented solution aligns interests between consumers, building managers and energy suppliers to yield efficient usage, savings, and better quality of service. Panoramic Power provides an innovative Energy Management System (EMS) that enables enterprises and organizations to reduce their operational and energy expenses. The company helps customers improve energy efficiency using a breakthrough power flow visibility platform. Menolinx Systems provides energy efficiency and smart grid solutions including intelligent street lighting for the municipal, industrial, retail, and transportation industries.
Other Israeli smart grid companies include CQM which helps factories improve their cooling systems, and Metrolight, which develops energy management solutions focused on energy-efficient electronic High Intensity Discharge (HID) lighting, with installations in the U.S. and around the world. Metrolight’s energy-efficient solutions have accumulated over 1.4 billion operating hours, saved over $10 million in energy costs, and have resulted in significantly lower lifetime maintenance costs for clients.
With global energy resources struggling to keep pace with the growth in consumption, Smart Grid is certain to be one of the growth sectors of the coming decades.