Press Release

Gillibrand Announces Congressional Passage of $2 Million in Funding for U.S.-Israel Energy Cooperative Agreement

Dec 19, 2011

Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) today announced that Congress passed the Omnibus Appropriations Bill over the weekend, which includes $2 million in funding for the U.S.-Israel Energy Cooperative Agreement for FY2012. In November, the Senators Gillibrand, Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Mark Kirk (R-IL) urged the Senate Appropriations Committee Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development to allocate this critical funding. Senator Gillibrand has led the fight over the years ensuring that this critical grant program between the United States and Israel continues.

Senators Gillibrand, Wyden, and Kirk wrote in their November letter, “We believe that this is an investment worth maintaining – for the sake of U.S. jobs, our important bilateral relationship with our ally Israel, and the energy innovation this relationship produces… Congress should continue to support the funding of this successful model, which is not only important for our bilateral relationship, but beneficial to our economy and our security. I thank you for your consideration and support of this program.”  

To date, funding for the U.S.-Israel Energy Cooperative Agreement have yielded advances in important areas such as energy grid management, biodiesel, and solar energy – creating numerous opportunities for American companies in New York and across the United States.

Funding for the U.S.-Israel Energy Cooperative Agreement has been allocated in the last three appropriation acts – FY2009, FY2010, and FY2011. Last year, Polytechnic Institute of New York and Holon Institute of Technology in Israel received $200,000 in funding for energy-efficient, large DC-gain switched-capacitor-based converters for alternative sources.

Senator Gillibrand has led the fight to preserve the continuation of this important private-public collaboration for energy research and development initiatives. In a letter to Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Byron Dorgan and Ranking Member Senator Robert Bennett last year, Senator Gillibrand wrote, “I strongly support the aim of renewable energy collaboration between the U.S. and Israel.  Our work with Israel, a world leader in green energy research and development, has great promise for the future of marketable alternative energy technologies… U.S.-Israel collaboration and the work of foundations such as BIRD and BSF have had a lasting and fundamental impact on our countries’ economies and relationship.”

The funds for this program will be administered by the United States-Israel Binational Industrial Research and Development Foundation (BIRD) and the United States-Israel Binational Science Foundation (BSF), for renewable-energy research and development cooperative projects between the two nations. Since first appropriated, the U.S. contribution to this partnership has been matched $3 to $1 by the Israeli government and the private sector, making this a sound investment for the U.S. government.

Businesses throughout the United States, including New York State, have benefited from the funding of scientific collaboration between the U.S. and Israel because it has served as a catalyst of innovation and economic growth.  In fact, New York as the second largest state recipient of BIRD grants, has attracted over 650 allocations. Senator Gillibrand believes that preserving this cooperative agreement is not only important for U.S.-Israel bilateral relationship, but beneficial for the United State’s economy and security.

Federal spending must be authorized before money can be appropriated, and Congress passed the authorizing bill today. The appropriations bill this weekend and now heads to the President’s desk.