A delegation of America’s senior decision-makers in the energy sector is currently visiting Israel (June 17-24) to investigate best practices and potential collaboration in the field of renewable and alternative energy.
The week-long visit, organized by Project Interchange, an educational institute of AJC, will showcase Israeli advances and is intended to establish strategic partnerships, foster professional cooperation, and encourage information-sharing between US energy specialists and their Israeli counterparts.
The delegation features some of the US energy sector’s most prominent figures, including Mark Brownstein, Chief Counsel, Energy Program, Environmental Defense Fund; Scott N. Paul, Founding Executive Director, Alliance for American Manufacturing; Brian Wynne, Chair, President, Electric Drive Transportation Association; Stephen Walz, Director of Energy Planning, Northern Virginia Regional Commission; Jorge Junquera, Advisor to the President and Senior Vice President, Government Development Bank for Puerto Rico; and other top energy experts from government and the business world.
“Israel is on the front lines in the fight for energy security and against the worst consequences of global warming," Brownstein said. "Some of the world’s leading clean energy ideas and technologies were born in Israel, and I am looking forward to learning about ways Israel and the United States can work together to accelerate a global transition to a low-carbon, clean energy future.”
The energy specialists will meet with leaders of Israeli companies on the cutting edge of alternative and clean energy solutions, including solar, electric car, wave and renewable energy technologies. The delegation will visit sites showcasing ground-breaking Israeli technologies, such as the Jacob Blaustein Institute for Desert Research at Sde Boker; BrightSource Energy, Inc.’s Solar Thermal Development Center in the Negev Desert at Dimona; the water desalination plant at Ashkelon; and SDE Energy Ltd., developer of a technology that produces electricity from ocean waves.
Paul said he is “very excited to see what is happening in Israel on clean energy and electric vehicles. Israel is a nation that has moved forward very aggressively on a clean energy economy by necessity. Some of those lessons can certainly be applied to the United States. This visit will spark ideas, cooperation, and better understanding. I’m honored to be a part of it.”
Participants will benefit from expert briefings on a range of complex political, societal, and strategic issues facing Israel, Israel’s global and regional relationships, and Israeli humanitarian efforts around the world.
The delegation is also due to visit Ramallah, learn about Palestinian society and visit Rawabi, the first planned Palestinian city now in development; learn about Bedouin society and meet with the co- executive director of the Negev Institute for Strategies of Peace and Development; and visit a Jewish settlement, all to better understand the complexities facing the region.
Project Interchange Executive Director Sam Witkin noted, “Israel has historically had a dearth of natural resources, and therefore its alternative and efficient energy industry has been a priority. In creating this seminar,
"Project Interchange is showcasing leading aspects of Israeli alternative energy industry-wide progress to America’s leading energy decision-makers, creating opportunities for them to engage with their Israeli peers and collaborate for the betterment of all,” he added.