The U.S. House of Representatives passed federal spending legislation late last night that includes $2 million for the U.S.--Israel Energy Cooperation Program, a program championed by Congressman Brad Sherman (D-CA).
Congressman Sherman, along with Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY) and Congressman Michael Grimm (R-NY), led 50 other colleagues in a request to the Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development for $2 million for the program in the Energy and Water Development Appropriations bill. The appropriations request this year included the highest number of signatories -- 53 members of Congress -- since the creation of the program in 2008.
Sherman noted the importance of the House passing this appropriation. "This is another significant step in our efforts to cooperate with our ally Israel, which has a proven record of innovation in the field of energy research," said Sherman. "Our national security depends on the development of alternative energy. Funding for the U.S.-Israel Energy Cooperation Program has already advanced innovative new energy projects. I look forward to working with the Obama administration on further boosting funding for this program in future budgets."
Congressman Sherman first introduced the U.S.-Israel Energy Cooperation Act in 2005 with Congressman Engel and former Congressman John Shadegg (R-AZ). Congress ultimately enacted the legislation as Section 917 of a larger energy reform bill, the Energy Independence and Security Act, in December 2007.
The Israeli government has committed to match U.S. appropriations dollar for dollar. The program is also designed to leverage matching contributions from both the Israeli and American private sectors; thus for every dollar Congress appropriates, three dollars are invested, contributing to our economy and our energy security. Through the funding from this program, cooperative research and development projects are underway in various fields: advanced regenerative fuel cells, high-energy magnesium batteries, an advanced photovoltaic system for solar panels, and windows that produce electricity from solar energy.
"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."