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‘Huge demand for energy engineers expected’

נובמבר 21, 2010. Jerusalem Post: Ehud Zion Waldocks

The world needs engineers to solve tomorrow’s problems, just as they have been solving today’s problems, according to Emil Koifman, chairman of The Society of Electrical and Electronic Engineers in Israel.

The engineering organization held its annual conference, Electricity 2010, in Eilat from Wednesday to Saturday, focusing on some of the most cutting edge technical issues in the energy field and environmental issues: smart grids, renewable energy, regulations and energy efficiency.

“Based on what we see now, during the next decade there will be a huge demand for energy engineers (electrical and materials). We predict there will be more energy engineers than there are hi-tech engineers today,” Koifman told The Jerusalem Post by phone from Eilat.

The conference hosted 1300 engineers, including 200 from outside Israel, who came to hear 350 lectures over the four-day event.

Koifman stressed the importance of environmental issues.

“Everything is connected to the environment,” he said. “By 2050, the earth’s population will be 9 billion people. That means more food and more electricity. Electricity demand is expected to double by 2050. Right now, we’re burning a lot of fossil fuels to generate electricity and that has an environmental cost in CO2 emissions and pollution.

“That’s why there’s the 20/20/20 pledge. To reduce electricity demand by 20 percent by 2020 and to generate 20% of electricity from renewable resources by 2020,” he said. “Right now, we waste half the electricity we produce.”

Israel has pledged to produce 10% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020.

The conference is a technical one designed to offer solar solutions, and many new ideas and patents are being presented at the conference, according to Koifman.

“We have the solutions. Just like if you had a medical problem you would call in a doctor, these are problems for engineers,” he said.

“Engineers need to connect with their counterparts around the world to produce these solutions. Eilat is a good place for it – it’s halfway between the US and the Far East,” he added.

He also called on the younger generation to study engineering, so that they could help contribute to solving world issues.

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