The president of a college in Netanya intends to transform his campus into a
self-sustainable island to demonstrate how a “smart” electricity microgrid can
function successfully in an urban community.
Prof. Gady Golan, president
of the ORT Hermelin Academic College of Engineering and Technology, presented
his vision for the project at a session on smart energy management at the
Electricity 2013: Jerusalem International Convention for Innovation and Business
Development in Electricity and Energy – organized by the Society of Electrical
and Electronics Engineers in Israel.
During the smart energy panel,
experts from government institutions, academia and the business world discussed
the necessary components for establishing smart energy systems that facilitate
optimized energy use through constant consumer and producer communication yet
are financially viable and can stand up to cybersecurity threats.
transforming the ORT Hermelin campus into a functional microgrid, the college’s
faculty and students hope to reveal how electric power can be delivered
precisely to the modern consumer exactly according to request and without power
failures or extraneous costs.
“We are not the pioneers worldwide,” Golan
said, referencing the Illinois Institute of Technology and other global campuses
that have done the same. “But here I’d like to be the pioneer. We wish to
demonstrate that electric power can be delivered to the ‘procumer’ precisely
upon request without power failures and increases in costs.”
the word “procumer” to highlight the more active, less traditional role that the
producer-consumer or professional- consumer will more and more be taking in the
At ORT Hermelin, an intelligent power system with
solar cells and wind turbines in addition to the conventional electricity grid
will be managed on a micro-grid cloud system and will allow for storage of
unused energy, Golan explained.
“The project will eliminate electric
outages and moderate the ever growing demand in electricity,” he
The project is on its way to becoming a reality and already has
several financial backers from both the governmental and corporate world, Golan
told session participants. One company that will likely be part of the plans is
Nation-E, an Israeli firm that uses island methodologies to optimize energy
production and consumption, with a focus on energy cybersecurity, energy storage
systems and energy risk management solutions.
Smarter energy management
is critical because “if you do not know how to manage your energy, energy goes
into areas you never expected,” stressed Daniel Jammer, the president and
founder of Nation-E.
For example, he explained, approximately 20 percent
of energy production in Germany is not actually monetized, equivalent to losses
of 20 billion euros.
“This is the entire capacity of our Israeli grid,”
His dream and a core goal of his company has been “to create
a bank of energy” with reliable storage as well as provide a constant knowledge
to the consumer and producer as to what is taking place with their physical
energy assets, he said.
To do so, proper communication, management and
security is obligatory, Jammer explained.
Jammer presented some of his
technologies, such as a device called the Cerebrum, which provides a virtual
power that involves the same infrastructure used by the telecommunications
industry, yet with a basis in energy.
“Energy needs to be what
telecommunications is today – a network, a dynamic network where we can optimize
constantly,” he said. “This dynamic is the future.”
Shlomo Wald, the
chief scientist of the National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Ministry,
stressed that he “disliked the notion ‘smart’” in describing smart energy
management, smart cities and other such phrases. Instead, he explained, he and
his ministry colleagues are calling a new smart city administration that they
are developing Sustainability in Urban Areas or Sustainability in Cities – which
they have informally abbreviated to “sexy.”
“When you say smart, you
claim that what was done before was not so smart,” Wald said, observing that the
current topology for electricity grid infrastructure has successfully sustained
itself for 150 years.
“We have now a new scenario.”
challenges that the world is facing including the fact that there no longer are
sustainable supplies of electricity as well as a minimal amount of resources,
and planners have to integrate new types of producers and provide tools for
future generations, according to Wald.
“The smart grid should give the
answer to all these things,” he said.
Wald advocated a distributed
management of Israel’s future smart grids, similar to the way the Internet is
managed, whereas Israel Electric Corporation senior executive vice president
Yasha Hain advocated one unit acting as a manager.
In developing smart
grids for electricity, Wald stressed that it is crucial to take into account
that electricity systems and their use must tie in seamlessly with other types
of infrastructure, such as water, operating like one functional human
“We have to think about the nexus between all the markets,” he
said, emphasizing the importance of “holistic design.”
All in all, in the
Sustainability in Cities project, Wald said that he and his colleagues have come
up with about 450 parameters that they want to consider while building the city,
in order to incorporate all the markets and shareholders.
As part of the
project, they would like to see a new neighborhood – such as a specific one
planned for Dimona – built based on the parameters, as well as make improvements
to an existing neighborhood.
Throughout the entire process, Wald stressed
that his administration will be in constant contact and collaboration with the
designers and planners.
“We want to change the way of designing, change
the way of planning,” he said.