BIRD Energy Funds Joint Israeli-U.S. Project to Streamline Microgrid Feasibility Work

Dec. 13, 2018
BIRD Energy plans to invest $6 million to help fund seven clean energy technology projects, including one to streamline the bottleneck associated with microgrid feasiblity studies.

BIRD Energy plans to invest $6 million to help fund seven clean energy technology projects, including one to streamline the bottleneck associated with microgrid feasibility studies.

Part of the Israel-U.S. Binational Industrial Research and Development (BIRD) Foundation, BIRD Energy has been awarding grant funding for projects proposed jointly by US and Israeli companies since November 2009.

The foundation received 26 requests for grants for this round of awards. Seven won awards, including an undisclosed amount of grant funding for a joint, clean energy project to be carried out by the city of Herzliya, Israel’s OneOPI and Albany, New York-based Presidio to “develop an automated simulation system and service for intelligent microgrid systems,” according to the BIRD Foundation.

Removing bottlenecks in microgrid feasibility studies

Elad Shaviv, OneOPI spokesperson, said that the project is meant to solve “one of the bottlenecks of the evolving microgrid market — the complexity and cost of a feasibility study — naturally a necessary first cornerstone before any further decisions can be taken.”

BIRD Energy emerged from a cooperation agreement between the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), the Israel Ministry of Energy jointly with the Israel Innovation Authority, and the BIRD Foundation. Its roots are in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.

BIRD Energy grant applicants need to match the funding providing by BIRD Energy. That brings the total value of this year’s projects to $12.4 million.

The proposals are evaluated by experts appointed by the DOE and the Israel Ministry of Energy and Israel Innovation Authority.

“We received more requests related to distributed grid, energy efficiency, solar and solar storage” this year as opposed to previous years, said Limor Nakar-Vincent, BIRD Foundation deputy executive director of business development.

Microgrids are a topic that attracts a lot of interest, according Nakar-Vincent. “I believe the momentum will only increase given lack of stable electricity in the underdeveloped parts of the world and the need for reliable and sustainable electricity in the developed world.”

Other awards granted by Bird Energy

BIRD Energy awarded grants to help fund six other collaborative Israeli-U.S. projects in its latest funding round:

  • Beam Semiconductors (Rehovot, Israel)) and BannerSolar (Eagle, Idaho), will develop a 60 GHz active phased array module for wireless gigabit applications with autonomous solar power supply & storage
  • Brightmerge (Jerusalem, Israel) and Introspective Systems (Portland, Maine), will develop and test dynamic grid pricing with edge load responsive device control
  • mPrest Systems (Petach Tikva, Israel) and Southern Company (Atlanta, Georgia), will develop integrated primary and secondary volt VAR control and conservation voltage reduction for the distributed grid
  • Nostromo (Even Yehuda, Israel) and Centrica Business Solutions US, (Bellevue, Washington), will develop IceBrick –shifting the electricity grid’s peak demand using disruptive ice-battery technology
  • RazorLabs (Tel Aviv, Israel) and Exacter  (Columbus, Ohio) will develop an AI based grid resiliency forecasting system
  • Technion Research and Development Foundation (Haifa, Israel) and Primus Power (Hayward, California), will develop a high energy density grid-scale storage battery

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About the Author

Andrew Burger

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