Israel and California are clean tech dreaming

“Spoon feeding the next deal,” Shuly Galili, the executive director of the California-Israel Chamber of Commerce. Ormat’s geothermal energy plants, Hillpoint Energy’s promising new wind turbines that are lighter than air, Solel’s solar energy park in California’s Mohave Desert – …

“Spoon feeding the next deal,” Shuly Galili, the executive director of the California-Israel Chamber of Commerce. Ormat’s geothermal energy plants, Hillpoint Energy’s promising new wind turbines that are lighter than air, Solel’s solar energy park in California’s Mohave Desert – through these solutions and many more, Israel is proving that it’s positioned well in the world’s burgeoning cleantech market. Now, Californian companies, government and investors want a piece of the action.

From November 10-13, about one dozen Israeli clean tech companies will be showcased in California, where the Israelis will meet Californian leaders in finance, R&D, and government. The invitation by the California Israel Chamber of Commerce (CICC), a US-based NGO, comes hot off the tracks of San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom’s visit to Israel earlier this year, where he investigated Israel’s cleantech projects like Better Place, the electric car concept company founded by Shai Agassi.

A clean tech shoe-in

Although the Israeli participants haven’t been announced yet, those that are going should consider it a coup for entering the Californian business scene. Shuly Galili, the executive director of the CICC tells ISRAEL21c: “We will basically be spoon feeding their next deal,” she says. “These Israeli companies will meet with participants in a very high level way. They will also learn what it means to work with utility companies.”

For example, the lucky participants will spend a half-day with the California Public Utilities Commission. Among other notables that the Israeli group will meet include General Electric, Google, Applied Materials and venture capital funds such as VantagePoint Venture Partners, US Venture Partners, Virgin Green Fund, and Greylock Partners. Companies that the CICC will be screening on the Israel side will include solar, energy, and water technology inventors. “We are looking for all of the above,” Galili tells ISRAEL21c.

“We are looking for the best new ideas to help us continue to generate clean energy for our customers. We recognize that innovations come from around the world, and Israel has proven time and time again, to be a great resource for what comes next,” said Hal LaFlash, director of emerging clean technology policy at Pacific Gas & Electric Company.

Looking for clean green business deals

Those participating in the four-day delegation will have a chance to present their company and meet privately with investors, corporate partners, policymakers, as well as California-based scientific and academic experts. They will also enjoy exclusive tours of California cleantech companies and facilities.

California is looking for new clean technology solutions to curb water shortages. It is also looking to build and operate solar and geothermal plants to supply renewable and alternative energy. According to the CICC, California and Israel are natural partners in this area.

Doing research into Israeli clean technology for three years, the CICC was basically asked by Californians to help them meet Israeli clean tech companies. Some of them have a long history with Israel and have already invested in or acquired Israeli companies from the high-tech sector.

Says Galili: “We are sitting in Silicon Valley in the heart of the industry. We are approached by companies that are interested in a platform that is business-oriented and gives them opportunities to invest in cutting-edge technology from Israel.”

Historically, before entering the clean technology arena, the CICC has been accelerating business transactions between Californians and Israelis mainly in the area of high tech semi-conductors, Ethernet, and enterprise software. “Israel has been strong in creating a solid name for itself,” Galili attests.

The California Israel Chamber of Commerce is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to strengthening business, investment, technology and trade between California and Israel. Since it was founding, the group has accelerated the growth of hundreds of Israeli tech companies, and helped US investors and tech giants identify the best strategic partners from Israel.

About Karin Kloosterman

Karin Kloosterman lives in Jaffa, Israel. She is a journalist, writer and blogger who focuses on the environment and clean technology from Israel and the Middle East. Published in hundreds of newspapers around the world, Karin also writes for the Huffington Post and Green Prophet.