Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is leading a bipartisan effort in the Senate to fund the U.S.-Israel Energy Cooperation today by urging the House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees on Energy and Water Development to designate that at least $2 million out of the funding for international programs in the FY2013 Energy and Water Appropriations Bill goes to this important program. Senator Gillibrand has led the fight for the past three years to preserve the continuation of this critical private sector funding of energy research and development initiatives. The Senator successfully secured funding during the past two years.
“This program is an important tool in our efforts to achieve greater energy security and independence, and leverages small grant dollars to incentivize private sector innovation and new partnerships in the pursuit of a critical objective,” wrote Senator Gillibrand in a letter to Subcommittee leaders, along with more than 15 of her Senate colleagues and 35 House members.
The U.S.-Israel Energy Cooperative Agreement has helped advanced important areas, such as energy grid management, biodiesel, and solar energy – creating opportunities for American companies in New York and across the United States.
Funding for the 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 fully matched by the Israeli government and has leveraged additional private sector resources, 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. Senator Gillibrand believes that preserving this cooperative agreement is not only important for U.S.-Israel bilateral relationship, but beneficial for the United States’ economy and security.
Below’s the full letter to House and Senate Subcommittee leaders:
Dear Chairman Frelinghuysen, Chairman Feinstein, Ranking Member Visclosky, and Ranking Member Alexander:
We are writing to request that the subcommittee provide at least $2 million for the implementation of the U.S.-Israel Energy Cooperative Agreement in the FY2013 Energy and Water Appropriations Bill.
This funding will be utilized to further implement Section 917 of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, P.L. 110-140, and the May 2008 agreement between the U.S. and Israel on alternative energy cooperation. The funding will provide for collaborative US and Israeli research and development efforts in the fields of alternative energy technologies and increased energy efficiency.
We greatly appreciate the support your subcommittee has provided for this program in the past. As you know, Congress has provided $6 million for the program since its inception. The funding has been fully matched by the Government of Israel. During the same period, the program has also leveraged over $12.5 million in private sector cost-share.
This program is an important tool in our efforts to achieve greater energy security and independence, and leverages small grant dollars to incentivize private sector innovation and new partnerships in the pursuit of a critical objective. U.S.-Israel projects currently underway include research grants to several promising joint projects in the areas of high efficiency solar wafers and cells, solar thermal plant design, smart grid systems for residential and commercial buildings, and advanced laser technology to facilitate wind speed and power output forecasting in wind.
Companies across the U.S. are working through this program to develop cutting-edge technologies with new partners in Israel in order to advance America’s energy security.
Furthermore, the U.S.-Israel Energy Cooperative Agreement facilitates greater cooperation and sharing of knowledge between American and Israeli universities on alternative energy.
Collaboration between the American and Israeli private sector and academia will significantly enhance U.S. efforts to develop alternative technologies and increase energy efficiency, to the benefit of our national security.
We thank you for your consideration and for your prior support of this program and request your continued support for FY 2013.