April 4, U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz and Israeli Minister of National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Resources Yuval Steinitz expanded an agreement originally signed in 2000 between the U.S. Department of Energy and the Israeli Ministry of National Infrastructure that will further bolster energy cooperation between the two nations. Concluded in Jerusalem during a visit by Secretary Moniz, the new provisions strengthen ties in fossil fuel and renewable energy production; smart grid technologies; protection of energy and water infrastructure against physical, cyber and electromagnetic attack; and areas within the energy-water nexus. The new agreement also encourages collaboration between the U.S. Department of Energy National Laboratories and Israeli research centers, an opportunity for cooperation authorized under the United States-Israel Strategic Partnership Act of 2014.
April 1, Reps. Jerry McNerney (D-CA) and Steve Scalise (R-LA) sent a letter to Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz in support of the U.S.-Israel Center of Excellence in Energy and Water. In the bipartisan letter, the representatives urged the Department of Energy to launch the “first-of-its kind” center, which was authorized by Congress in the United
States-Israel Strategic Partnership Act of 2014. The center would increase bilateral energy ties by cultivating student and faculty exchange programs, collaborative research initiatives, industry partnership, and technology transfers, among other things. “A Center of Excellence at the Department of Energy is essential to promote important and collaborative technological innovation between Israel and the United States. We can use that type of innovation to address the drought with advanced water technology as well as further the energy sector,” said Rep. McNerney.
addressing the April 5 National Committee for Energy conference in Tel Aviv, U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz stressed his concern over cyberattacks on critical infrastructure systems and the need for increased cooperation between Israel and America. The secretary remarked that the United States can learn from Israel’s “forward-leaning” approach on cybersecurity, and expressed interest in hosting a nuclear defense exercise similar to the one recently held between America and The Hague. “Unfortunately, recent events in Belgium suggest specifically ISIL's, Daesh's interest in nuclear materials and highlight the urgency of enhancing nuclear and cyber security,” Moniz told Israeli Energy, Infrastructure and Water Resources Minister Yuval Steinitz onstage at the event.
March 22, the White House announced over 30 initiatives to strengthen investment in technologies that can improve America’s water resources and infrastructure. Among the projects is the establishment of a “cleantech” incubator, where Israeli firms will work to develop solutions for California’s ongoing water crisis. Through the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator ten Israeli companies will work on a range of water, energy and agricultural technologies to be introduced to the California market. The White House hopes
the joint venture will “accelerate the shift to a greener economy, with a particular focus on benefiting drought-stricken populations across the state, including the nearly 123,000 farmers in California.” The project builds on the Israel-California Memorandum of Understanding signed in March 2014.