On March 23, Congress passed the Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 Omnibus Appropriations bill, which included a key pro-Israel provision establishing a U.S.-Israel Center of Excellence in energy and water technologies. The omnibus also fully funded the U.S.-Israel Binational Industrial Research and Development Energy (BIRD-Energy) program. The funding was spearheaded by Sens. John Kennedy (R-LA), Patty Murray (D-WA), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Susan Collins (R-ME), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), and Reps. Steve Scalise (R-LA), Mike Simpson (R-ID), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA), and Brad Sherman (D-CA).
In February, Israel’s Delek Drilling-LP and Houston’s Noble Energy Inc. announced a deal to export $15 billion worth of Israeli gas to Egypt’s Dolphinus Holdings Ltd. Following months of negotiations, this latest move brings Israel closer to becoming an energy exporter to the most populous Arab country. Noble Energy and Delek, both investors in Israel’s natural gas fields, are set to supply approximately 64 billion cubic meters of natural gas from Israel’s Tamar and Leviathan fields over 10 years. “This [deal] paves the way for further deals and cements Egypt as a regional energy hub,” Yossi Abu, Delek Drilling’s chief executive officer. “This will be an engine for both the Egyptian and Israeli economies alike. We’re proud to be part of this moment.”
Cities across Israel are expanding recycling and renewable energy projects. From Kfar Sava to Eilat, local governments are working to decrease spending on electricity and waste collection, as well as tackling environmental hazards. The central Israeli town of Kfar Sava, for example, is working with its partners to the north to replicate their existing biogas plant, which converts organic waste into electricity. Cities in the country’s south, like Eilat, are hoping to achieve complete energy independence within five years, primarily using the energy from the sun.
On March 20, U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry vowed that the Department of Energy’s new cyber office will work to combat threats and potential attacks against America’s energy infrastructure. “There is a clear role that DOE plays on cyber,” Secretary Perry said. “We are committed to being as technically advanced as possible. It’s the reason we request the funding and the reason we have structured the department as such.” The administration is seeking nearly $100 million in the fiscal year 2019 budget for the Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security and Emergency Response. Congress has historically supported this priority. In 2018, it provided the inaugural appropriation for a U.S.-Israel Center of Excellence in energy and water technologies, of which research on the protection of critical infrastructure will play a key role.
On March 17, Israel broke its solar energy production record by regenerating 13.4 percent of the total electricity being consumed throughout the nation. The record-breaking figure was a result of especially high solar production and low overall consumption. “This proves that when you want, when obstacles are removed, the solar revolution is gaining strength,” said Greenpeace Israel campaign manager Jonathan Aikhenbaum. “A combination of sun and innovation is finally putting Israel on the map. The day is not far off where we will reach 100 percent from solar energy.”
On Feb. 27, Israel’s Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz predicted that within 12 years the Jewish state will fully utilize natural gas and alternative fuels for electricity and transportation. “We intend to reach a situation in which Israel’s industry will be based on natural gas, and most importantly, transportation in Israel will be based on natural gas or electricity,” Steinitz said at a conference organized by the Israel Institute for Energy and Environment. “From 2030 onwards, the State of Israel will create alternatives and will no longer allow the import of cars that run on gasoline and diesel fuel.” This year, the balance of electricity production is approximately 71 percent natural gas, 25-27 percent coal and 2 percent renewable energy. Steinitz said he would submit a plan to the government to transition Israel’s production to 83 percent natural gas and 17 percent renewable energy by 2030.
Type: Energy Matters