Electrical power to the people

 (photo credit: SHUTTERSTOCK)
(photo credit: SHUTTERSTOCK)
Modern society is nearly totally dependent on the supply of energy, mainly electrical power. This was already so by the late 1930s when many industrial enterprises were powered by electricity, most homes had electric lighting, and many homes had electrical appliances.
Today, most of the global economy is digitized, based on the transfer of information via the Internet. All our communications are based on telephone lines both linear and cellular.
The threat of power failures
The steady supply of electrical current can be compromised in various ways. Severe weather conditions such as storms can bring down power cables; high demand for electricity due to extreme cold or heat can overwhelm the system; and in a country such as Israel, power plants and the electricity distribution grid can be affected by sabotage or terrorist attacks.
Imagine what would happen if the world’s supply of electricity were compromised. There would be no electric lights, the Internet would be paralyzed, computers would be inoperable, etc. The result would be total chaos. Our whole way of life would collapse, undermining all the pillars that sustain society worldwide.
Generators to the rescue
The chances of the global supply of electricity being completely cut off is very unlikely. However, what is more likely are power cuts, which do occur from time to time.
Consequently, because we are so dependent on the steady supply of electricity, a backup option for the electricity supplied by power stations is essential.
photo credit: SHUTTERSTOCKphoto credit: SHUTTERSTOCK
An alternative to the electricity supplied by power companies are generators, which in essence are small power stations on their own.
Avner Toledano is the owner of Alef Toledano, an Israeli company that specializes in the supply of generators.
With regard to power cuts, Toledano says, “Unexpected power cuts due to accidents at the power plants or the electrical power grid can cause much harm, such as people getting stuck in elevators. In addition, if electricity were suddenly cut off from vital medical equipment such as respirators, lights in an operating room, or incubators for newborns, the results could be life-threatening.”
Power cuts initiated by a power plant and publicized in advance can cause much inconvenience in the home and incur financial losses for the business sector. Industrial concerns would have to halt production, and other business entities would have to suspend operations.
The only way to avert such problems is to have a generator. This alternative source of power is automatically activated the moment the electric current is cut off.
Power sources large and small
When choosing a generator, it is important to ensure two factors. It must have a high level of energy supply. And it should include a voltage stabilizer, since only a stable supply of electricity will allow for problem-free operation.
Generators can also serve as a means to supply electricity to remote settlements or military outposts that are not connected to the national electricity grid.
Mobile generators can provide interim solutions for installations that are temporarily disconnected from the national electricity grid, such as building sites. There are small units that can generate as little as 20 KVA (kilovolt amperes) and up, while large ones can generate more than 200 KVA.
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Supplying Israel’s energy needs
Israel has a highly advanced electrical infrastructure that supplies the needs of the population as a whole. The electrical grid reaches nearly every nook and cranny in the country.
photo credit: SHUTTERSTOCKphoto credit: SHUTTERSTOCK
Some 70% of the electricity is generated by power plants that use natural gas, while 25% use coal or diesel oil. Approximately 5% of Israel’s electricity is generated from renewable energy, 3% of which is solar power. The remaining 2% comes from wind and wave power.
Solar power, yes; nuclear power, no
Despite the small amount of electricity generated by solar power, 1.3 million homes in Israel use solar water heaters. According to a study by the Ministry of National Infrastructure, the wide use of solar water heaters saves the economy the equivalent of an annual two million barrels of oil which would have been used to operate the power stations.
Despite having an advanced nuclear research center in the Negev, Israel has no nuclear-powered stations, and none are being planned. In 2007 there was a plan to commission a feasibility study on building a nuclear power station, but the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan in 2011 put paid to that idea.
A slim margin
While Israel’s electrical infrastructure compares favorably with those of other countries, it is stretched to the limit, which increases the risk of power cuts.
Israel’s electric generation reserves are meager. The maximum generation capability is just six percent higher than that of the highest recorded demand for electricity at the height of the hottest summer day or the coldest winter night.
This is a very slim margin. From the perspective of electrical power, Israel is an island. If a major accident occurred in the generating facilities in Switzerland, for example, the Swiss could get a helping hand from neighboring Germany, Italy, or France. But in this small part of the Middle East, Israel is entirely on its own.
In association with a.toledano