Aug. 1, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved
$4 million—to be matched dollar-for-dollar by Israel and additionally by the private sector—toward the establishment of a joint U.S.-Israel Energy Center. The center will serve to foster collaboration between the U.S. Department of Energy and Israel's National Infrastructure, Water and Energy Ministry, and will bolster bilateral cooperation in a variety of energy-related fields, including production, renewables and cybersecurity. The creation of this bilateral energy center is a direct result of the U.S.-Israel Strategic Partnership Act of 2014—a landmark piece of legislation that declared Israel a “major strategic partner” of the United States and laid the groundwork for cooperation in areas like water, energy and homeland security.
The Israeli government and the Israel-Colorado Innovation Fund—a Colorado-based venture capital firm—are partnering to bring Israeli startups that focus on water, energy and transportation to the Centennial State. The fund has an annual budget of $4 million and this year six companies will receive grants totaling $1.5 million. The Israeli Innovation Authority (IAI) will match funds provided by the Colorado-based venture in the first agreement of its kind—IAI has never previously partnered with an agency or firm outside of Israel. “Our vision is to turn Colorado into the ‘Silicon Mountain’ of water, energy and transportation (WET) sectors,” said Gili Elkin, founder of the Israel-Colorado Innovation Fund. “By growing here, we will attract global leaders and players in the U.S. to come to Colorado to look at the innovation from Israel.”
July 10, Israel and Palestinian Authority (PA) officials signed a new electricity agreement and inaugurated an electrical substation near the West Bank city of Jenin. The deal, hailed by both sides as a “historic” first step toward Palestinian energy independence, requires Israel to supply at least 60 more megawatts of electricity to the Palestinians through the new substation—the first-ever, Palestinian-owned electricity infrastructure in the West Bank. Three more such stations are planned for the Nablus, Hebron and Ramallah regions.
in 2008, an Israeli non-profit organization has provided drip irrigation and brought solar power technologies to 147 villages in eight African countries. “The more time I spent in the villages, the more I realized that the main challenge, and the reason Africa is in poverty, is the lack of [access to] energy,” said “Innovation: Africa” founder Sivan Ya’ari. Access to water and electricity is crucial because once this infrastructure is created, local governments establish schools and send teachers to work in them; doctors are also more likely to come and practice in these villages. “I personally feel that we’re actually fulfilling Israel’s destiny,” said Ya’ari. “We are supposed to be the light unto the nations.”