How the U.S. and Israel Can Combat Climate Change Through Energy Innovation

Government and business leaders in the U.S. and Israel must cooperate if they want to combat climate change through energy innovations.

Air Date: August 11, 2021

Moderator: Josh Kram, Executive Director, Middle East Affairs, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Clay Neff, Chairman, U.S.-Israel Business Council, Steve Lutes, Vice President, Middle East Affairs, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Gideon Friedman, Chief Scientist, Israel Ministry of Energy

Featured Guests: Karine Elharrar, Minister of Energy and Water Resources, Israel, David Turk, Deputy Secretary of Energy, United States, Udi Adiri, Director General, Israel Ministry of Energy, Brian Essner, General Manager, Eastern Mediterranean Business Unit, Chevron Middle East, Africa, and South America Exploration and Production Company, Osama Mobarez, Acting Secretary General, EMGF, and Undersecretary, Egypt Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, George Pickart, Managing Director, Global Government Affairs & Policy, GE Power, Dan Shantz, Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Tulane University, Or Yogev, CEO, Augwind, Elad Shaviv, Executive Director, EnergyCo

Climate change has been top of mind for the United States government in recent years, especially with President Biden’s 2021 push for climate legislation. However, to make the necessary progress, the U.S. must expand its global partnerships in the energy sector and find innovative ways to reduce its carbon footprint.

Here’s how government officials and business leaders in the U.S. and Israel can help combat climate change through innovation.

The U.S. and Israel Must Continue Working Toward Energy Cooperation

Israel has become known as an innovative country that’s been able to move away from coal on power generation, a shared goal among many governments. In fact, Bloomberg ranks Israel in the top 10 most innovative countries in the world, notes Karine Elharrar, Israel’s Minister of Energy and Water Resources.

“It is thanks to creativity, innovative thinking and breaking technology that the state of Israel has become known as a startup nation,” she said.

Elharrar added that working with other nations, like the U.S., has helped them reach targets even faster. “Israel and the United States are generating significant value and benefits for both countries and maximizing the global benefits of this unique operation,” she said.

“We’re very pleased we have a strong level of bilateral relationship and partnership between our two countries,” added David Turk, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Energy. “We want to strengthen this collaboration even further.”

He added that the U.S. and Israel have opportunities in innovation and deployment, and both countries will work closer together to take advantage of them. “I’m very confident our two nations can move faster, seize the opportunities … of clean energy, creating jobs, growing our economy, and building safer, healthier communities our citizens are demanding,” Turk said.

Natural Gas Can Act as a Bridge to a Lower-Carbon Future

George Pickart, managing director of global government affairs and policy at GE Power, said Israel is a great example of a nation that is decarbonizing its economy, and the U.S. is working with them to reach a lower carbon future. For instance, Israel is installing a natural gas cycle plant to replace an old coal-fired facility, which is about a 60% reduction in carbon emissions, and working to deploy onshore wind technology and utilizing pump storage.

“Equally important to the deployment of technology is also knowledge sharing,” Pickart said. “We're working to set up some advanced seminars with stakeholders in Israel, the IEC and the respective ministries to focus on things like advanced gas turbine technology, utilization of hydrogen as a fuel, utilization of CCUS on the back end of the plant, energy storage systems, which obviously are critical to this transition, and then the wider deployment of digital technology."

"We see a tremendous need for collaboration between government with the private sector and other stakeholders in order to facilitate this transition,” Pickart added.

Ongoing Partnerships in the Energy Sector Can Drive Innovation

Through ongoing innovation and partnerships between the U.S. and Israel, we can better address climate change.

“I believe that there are superior opportunities for partnerships between the U.S. and Israeli actors, both in the industry, as well as in academic research [and] in all kinds of the energy domains,” said Elad Shaviv, executive director at EnergyCo.

Shaviv noted that EnergyCo is driving innovation in three ways: by creating awareness around the opportunities and challenges of the new energy world, building and sharing relevant knowledge, and facilitating business opportunities in the sector.

“I … personally believe that everything is well connected, and we believe that the innovation in energy technologies is actually just the tip of the iceberg of many other technical and nontechnical changes that are about to come,” Shaviv said.

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