- INFRALAB and IEC (Israel Electric Corporation) signed a Strategic Partnership Agreement with the aim of boosting research and development activities in the infrastructure and networks business
Haifa, September 14th, 2020 - INFRALAB, the innovation lab dedicated to the digitalization of infrastructure businesses established through a joint venture between Enel and Shikun & Binui (S&B), a leading Israeli construction company, together with Israel Electric Corporation (IEC), the government owned company which generates and distributes electricity to 2.9 million customers in Israel, signed a Strategic Partnership Agreement aimed at scouting for start-ups and scaling up innovative solutions in the area of infrastructure and networks (I&N). The partnership was announced today in an event in Haifa, Israel, which saw the participation of Gianluigi Benedetti, Italian Ambassador to Israel, Ofer Bloch, IEC CEO, Yiftah Ron Tal, IEC Chairman, Didi Paz, S&B COO, Karina Rubinstein, Israel Innovation Authority’s Director of Business Development within Start Up Division, Ernesto Ciorra, Enel’s Head of Innovability® and Livio Gallo, Enel’s Head of Global Infrastructures and Networks.
“This agreement marks a significant milestone on Enel’s path in pursuit of the Open Innovation model,” said Ernesto Ciorra, Enel’s Head of Innovability®. “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: “Enel is one of the leading network operators in the world and we have reached this status by placing tremendous importance on innovation as a main driver of our business strategy. 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 digitalized, while fostering the energy transition by accelerating electrification and decarbonization.”
Gianluigi Benedetti, Italian Ambassador to Israel said: “Today’s agreement between Enel, through INFRALAB, and IEC represents an additional confirmation of just how a large Italian group that has embraced the concept of “open innovation” may find in Israel numerous opportunities to reinforce its actual technological capacities, and at the same time become a leading actor in one of the most sophisticated ecosystems of innovation in the entire world. The experience of Enel constitutes a model for other top Italian companies that can count on the full support of the Embassy of Italy to enter the Israeli R&D sector, and demonstrates how a permanent presence in Israel constitutes a key factor, essential to seize the most promising collaboration and investment opportunities in the hi-tech sector.”
The partnership combines INFRALAB’s proven experience in tracking and engaging with promising local and international start-ups in just two years of operations, and reinforces its potential to scale-up innovative technologies leveraging on IEC’s willingness to adopt solutions that will impact and revolutionize the business activity in the I&N sector. The start-ups participating in the INFRALAB program will also be able to leverage on IEC’s experience and facilities, while benefiting from the access to IEC and Enel’s infrastructure sites both in Israel and abroad, equipment, data, as well as from INFRALAB’s innovation package which includes business and technological mentoring.
The main focus for the involved start-ups, including grid resilience, flexibility and security, will be related to Enel’s Network Digital Twin®, the innovative digital replica of the physical electrical infrastructure recently acknowledged by the World Economic Forum as one of the main disruptive technologies for system efficiency of the grid in the last decade. Moreover, the start-ups will also work to identify technologies that aim to accelerate the construction, operation and maintenance processes of electrical facilities. Other topics will be grid resiliency, enabling remote control and monitoring of the networks, the transition to renewable energy sources and the protection of critical infrastructures from cyber attacks. 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 program.
Following the Open Innovation model pursued by Enel, INFRALAB and IEC 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.
Today, INFRALAB is home to more than fifteen start-ups. Enel opened its first Innovation Hub in Tel Aviv in 2016 and since then has collaborated with 35 local start-ups in fields such as the Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, cybersecurity, e-mobility, energy storage and many more. The Hub and INFRALAB are part of the global network of 10 innovation hubs and 20 labs that Enel has around the world, including in Brazil, Chile, Italy, Russia, Spain and the US. Thanks to this global network, Enel has been working with around 300 start-ups from all over the world, boosting innovation in all of its global activities.
Enel is a multinational power company and a leading integrated player in the global power, gas and renewables markets. It is the largest European utility by ordinary EBITDA, and is present in over 30 countries worldwide, producing energy with over 86 GW of installed capacity. Enel distributes electricity through a network of over 2.2 million kilometers, and with around 74 million business and household end users globally, the Group has the largest global customer base among its European peers. Enel’s renewables arm Enel Green Power is the world’s largest renewable private player, with around 46.4 GW of wind, solar, geothermal and hydropower plants installed in Europe, the Americas, Africa, Asia and Oceania. Enel X, Enel's global advanced energy services business line, is the worldwide demand response leader, with a total capacity of over 6 GW managed globally; the company has installed 110 MW of storage capacity as well as, in the electric mobility sector, it has made available around 130,000 public and private EV charging points worldwide.