Today, Congressman Brad Sherman, along with Congressmen Eliot Engel, Robert Dold, Aaron Schock, and Senators Kirsten Gillibrand, Mark Kirk, and Ron Wyden, led a request to the House and Senate Subcommittees on Energy and Water for $2 million for the U.S.--Israel Energy Cooperation Program. The appropriations request this year included the highest number of signatories -- 34 Members of Congress and 10 Senators -- since the creation of the program in 2008.
Sherman noted the importance of the American-Israeli cooperative program. "This is a significant step in our efforts to strengthen ties with our ally Israel," said Sherman. "I am pleased that so many of my colleagues in both chambers of Congress support this effort. Our national security and energy independence goals depend on the development of alternative energy technologies. Funding for the U.S.-Israel Energy Cooperation Program has already accelerated innovative projects in green energy."
The funding would be the fourth appropriation for the U.S.-Israel Energy Cooperation Program since its inception in 2008 if approved by the Appropriations Committee later this year. The total amount appropriated for this program since its creation is $6 million. The Israeli government matches U.S. appropriations on a one-for-one basis. Additionally, the program has leveraged over $12.5 million in private sector cost-share since 2008.
Six cooperative projects are currently underway, 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. Separately, cooperation is underway involving several Israeli and U.S. universities throughout the country.
"Israel and the United States already have a long track record of successful, cooperative research in several fields such as medicine, biotechnology, computer programming and hardware, and agriculture," Sherman added. "This program is a great way to leverage a modest investment in alternative energy and efficiency, to the benefit of both countries. We will continue to work together to promote energy security and job creation."
Congressman Sherman first introduced the U.S.-Israel Energy Cooperation Act in 2005, along with former Congressman John Shadegg and Congressman Eliot Engel. Congress passed this legislation as Section 917 of a larger energy reform bill, the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, and the bill was signed into law by the President in December 2007.