An energizing opportunity

A stable supply of energy is vital for Israel’s and the United States’ futures. The need to secure the stable and economic supply of energy for Israel is an important imperative. At present Israel imports coal to provide power for …

A stable supply of energy is vital for Israel’s and the United States’ futures. The need to secure the stable and economic supply of energy for Israel is an important imperative.

At present Israel imports coal to provide power for its electrical grid service and imports oil to provide gasoline and diesel fuel. The continued dependence on foreign sources of energy results in the continuous exporting of wealth and the continued susceptibility to the risks of extortion, unpredictable cost escalations and physical interference. Israel cannot protect the sea-lanes over which its imported fossil fuel must travel and its enemies have acquired surface fleets, submarines, missiles and surveillance capability that permit interception of tankers and freighters at any time and location.

To counter this clear and present danger the American Navy operates to protect the shipping traffic of the world. All of the military power in the world cannot defeat the competitive pressures, which are growing between the emerging energy consumers of the world and the current marketplace. Although OPEC prices are manipulated on a daily basis to incorporate political perspectives over the mid and long term prices for imported fossil fuels will only rise. The political strength of the non-democratic nations, which control most of the fossil fuels, is growing and this encourages policy adventurism aimed at harming the United States, Israel and many of their democratic allies. The continued addiction to fossil fuels is a pathway to ruin economically, geopolitically and eventually militarily.

The United States and Israel have a means of countering this threat: innovation and creativity embodied in the technologies of renewable and sustainable energy. These are the energies which can be harnessed within the borders of each nation and replenished naturally. These are the energies which are clean to use and do not leave legacies of ruined environments and tortured public health.

Solar, wind, wave, tidal, geothermal power all coupled by the use of hydrogen as an efficient energy carrier are the solutions which give a nation a sustainable path forward. Both Israel and the United States have invested considerably in the research and development of renewable energy. Now they face the challenge of moving toward these new systems and transforming the infrastructures of the last century.

These changes face many barriers including the power of the incumbent suppliers whose political access is almost unassailable. In time an enlightened public nurtures a new generation of leaders who are not afraid of technology nor encumbered by the cumulative weight of loyalty, fear of change and corruption. Yet a more fundamental barrier exists and that lies in the calculation of value and the true costs of the status quo. The burdens of addiction to fossil energy have only recently been defined in an articulate fashion and they are truly fearsome.

The recognition of the lack of security a nation suffers due to its dependence on the importation of fossil fuels, combined with the emergence of renewable energy is the subject of a conference to be held in Jerusalem on August 26. The Cooperation For Energy Independence Of Democracies In The 21st Century is a joint effort of the Israeli Ministry of National Infrastructures and the United States Department of Energy. The extraordinary forum is organized by the American Jewish Congress with a uniquely broad base of stakeholders from industry, public policy groups, think tanks, technology leaders and commerce groups.

In development for over eighteen months the conference will bring together leaders from the United States, Israel and their Democratic allies to discuss near-term actions that can be taken to accelerate the implementation of renewable energy with a focus on applied R&D, demonstrations and international market development & access. The conference takes place at a unique time when the prospects for peace are enhanced by the prospects for long-term energy stability and the resulting economic prosperity.

The opportunity for Israel and America to leverage the strengths and positioning of each is in the spirit of the uniquely strong strategic relationship of these allies. The moment is now for both nations to strongly commit to an aggressive action plan that will decrease reliance of imported fossil fuel. To the credit of both governments they have strongly supported the upcoming conference and the public should watch closely the progress resulting from this initiative.