On the lookout for startups to revolutionise the networks

Published on Thursday, 17 September 2020

Pooling portfolios of startups, selecting the most promising and developing innovative solutions to enhance the resilience, flexibility and security of infrastructure and networks.

These are the far-sighted objectives of the partnership agreement signed between Haifa Infralab and the Israel Electric Corporation (IEC), the state-owned enterprise that produces and distributes electricity to 2.9 million customers in Israel.
The role of the innovation laboratory, which was established two years ago through the joint venture between our Group and the Israeli construction company Shikun & Binui, will be to offer its experience in business and technological scouting, engagement and mentoring of local and international startups. It will also provide a team of experts who, via a series of boot camps, will select the most innovative projects to be developed and tested.

The chosen companies will be able to tap into and utilise IEC's experience within the country and gain access to the company's sites and facilities, as well as those of Enel, both in Israel and abroad. This will make it far easier to scale up the innovative technologies and solutions that could potentially revolutionise the Infrastructure & Networks sector, in which our Group is one of the world's leading players.

The main focus for the partnership will be linked to Enel's Network Digital Twin®, the innovative digital replica of the physical electricity grid that was recently recognised by the World Economic Forum as one of the most innovative technologies to emerge in the last decade for improving network efficiency. Work will also be focused on technologies for accelerating the construction, management and maintenance of power plants, on network flexibility, on remote control and monitoring, on the transition to renewable energy sources and on defending essential infrastructure from cyber attacks.

“This agreement represents a key milestone in Enel's journey towards the Open Innovation model. - explained Ernesto Ciorra, Enel's Head of Innovability®, during a presentation in Haifa, Israel. - Within the context of the increasingly competitive environment of the Infrastructure and Networks sector, the importance of the mutual exchange of ideas is incalculable and, through this collaboration with IEC, in the dynamic community of Israeli technological startups, we'll seek out and foster innovation opportunities aimed at creating an electricity grid that's ever more advanced, reliable, secure and resilient."

“With this partnership, we want to foster one of the most interesting sectors in the world of startups, one that’s capable of carving out seemingly infinite roads for making our key infrastructure and global energy system even more solid, secure and digitalised, while simultaneously facilitating the energy transition through the acceleration of electrification and decarbonisation,” added Livio Gallo, Enel's Head of Global Infrastructure and Networks.

Our Group opened its first Israeli Innovation Hub in Tel Aviv in 2016 and, since then, it has collaborated with 35 local startups in sectors such as the Internet of Things (IoT), cyber security, electric mobility, energy storage and many others. The Haifa Infralab, which was established in 2018, focuses on Enel's Global Infrastructure & Networks division in particular. It currently hosts 15 startups working in sectors such as Augmented and Virtual Reality, 3D modelling software, robot prototypes, IoT systems, drones and Artificial Intelligence, but they also carry out research in areas such as green hydrogen and underground infrastructure for developing the network and real-time analysis. This represents a long-term outlook which, thanks to the partnership with IEC, can look towards even newer horizons.

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