Energy Matters- April 2017

Energy Matters
April 2017

Led by Reps. Brad Sherman (left) and Peter Roskam (right), a bipartisan group of 102 House representatives sent a letter urging $6 million for joint U.S.-Israel energy cooperation programs. (AP/Haraz Ghanban and Charles Darapak)

Bipartisan House Letter Urges Funding for Joint U.S.-Israel Energy Programs

On April 5, a group of 102 lawmakers sent a bipartisan letter to the leaders of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development requesting $6 million for joint U.S.-Israel energy cooperation programs. Spearheaded by Reps. Brad Sherman (D-CA), Peter Roskam (R-IL), Eliot Engel (D-NY), Bill Johnson (R-OH), Ted Deutch (D-FL) and Peter King (R-NY), the House letter urges funding for the implementation of the U.S.-Israel Energy Cooperative Agreement and for the establishment of the U.S.-Israel Energy Center (“Center of Excellence”) in the Fiscal Year 2018 Energy and Water Appropriations Bill. “These programs are important tools in our efforts to achieve greater energy security and independence, and leverage a relatively small investment to incentivize academic and private sector innovation in the pursuit of a critical objective,” the members of Congress wrote. The letter also emphasizes that U.S. funding is matched dollar for dollar by Israel, and creates jobs in the United States.

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U.S.-Israel Innovation Improves Municipal Water Supplies

Researchers from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) have developed innovative ultrafiltration membranes that improve the safety of treated municipal wastewater used for drinking. The new technology is more efficient than current membrane filtration methods and produces significantly higher success rates in removing viruses from the water supply. “This is an urgent matter of public safety,” said Professors Moshe Herzberg of BGU and Nguyen Thanh H. Nguyen of UIUC, the two principal researchers on the project. “Insufficient removal of human Adenovirus in municipal wastewater, for example, has been detected as a contaminant in U.S. drinking water sources, including the Great Lakes and worldwide.” The project was supported by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the German-Israeli Water Technology Cooperation Program and Israel’s Ministry of Science and Technology.

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EU Nations, Israel Consider Undersea Gas Pipeline

On April 3, energy ministers from Israel, Italy, Greece and Cyprus pledged to pursue the world’s longest undersea gas pipeline from the eastern Mediterranean to southern Europe. The $6.2 billion pipeline would carry gas from Israel’s and Cyprus’s offshore gas reserves to Europe, potentially reducing European dependence on Russian energy. Feasibility studies have been completed and a plan for the project’s development is expected by the end of 2017. The pipeline’s construction would not begin for several years and is anticipated to finish in 2025. “We highly value gas supply from the region as a vital source of our gas supply that can make a valuable contribution to our strategy to diversify sources, routes and suppliers. This is a pipe that unites and will have the full support of all the members of the European Union,” said EU Commissioner of Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Canete.

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American Agtech Fund Expands Reach in Israel

On April 26, Finistere Ventures—a U.S. venture capital firm that specializes in agricultural technology (agtech)—announced an expansion of its presence in Israel. “As the way people grow, produce, market and consume food around the world evolves, it is a time of unprecedented change in the agriculture industry. We see Israel as a center of excellence in agtech,” said Arama Kukutai, co-founder and partner at Finistere Ventures. The firm appointed Gil Meron and Eyal Rosenthal as venture partners to explore deeper investments and partnerships in the region. “Both Gil and Eyal worked closely with us on first investments in Israel, and we think having them on our team will help advance our mission as we continue to invest in Israeli disruptors across the agricultural and food value chains,” said Kukutai.

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