Democratic News

May 12 2015

Senators Call on DOE to Establish US-Israel Energy Center to Advance Energy Research and Innovation

Bipartisan Group of Senators Seek to Create Collaborative Center to Connect the Technological Innovation of Both Countries

Washington, D.C. – Today, a bipartisan group of U.S. Senators led by Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Leadership Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), sent a letter to Department of Energy’s (DOE) Secretary Moniz requesting the establishment of a center to foster the U.S.-Israel partnership in advancing important energy research and development.

In the letter, Sens. Cantwell, Murkowski, Boxer, Collins and Gillibrand asked DOE to implement a provision from the United States Israel Strategic Partnership Act of 2014, which enables DOE to establish a joint center that will help deepen the collaboration of energy development.

“As our closest ally in the Middle East, it is in our national strategic interest to work with Israel to promote energy innovation, research and development,” Sen. Murkowski said. “We have a long history of working with Israel on energy issues and the establishment of a collaborative center on energy will further the important strides already made in strengthening the bond between our two countries.”

“This act builds on the Department of Energy’s existing collaborations with our critical ally,” Sen. Cantwell said. Establishing a joint center for innovation in areas of mutual interest including clean energy, water efficiency and cybersecurity could not come at a better time, given the rapidly-changing global energy landscape.”

The United States-Israel Strategic Partnership Act of 2014, which was unanimously passed by the Senate and signed into law in December 2014, strengthens the strategic partnership between the U.S. and Israel and significantly expands the two countries’ energy collaboration.

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Read the letter sent to Secretary Moniz below.

May 12, 2015

The Honorable Ernest Moniz
Secretary
U.S. Department of Energy
1000 Independence Avenue, S.W.
Washington, DC 20585

Dear Secretary Moniz:

We write to you as unwavering supporters of the United States-Israel relationship. The United States has few international relationships that are as deeply rooted, interconnected, and creative as the partnership we enjoy with Israel. Whether through the co-development of advanced weapons systems, scientific collaboration through the Binational Science Foundation, or jurisprudential exchange between our legal communities, we routinely demonstrate that our countries thrive when working together.

As you know, Israel’s newfound offshore gas discoveries have the potential to provide the people of Israel with economic, environmental, and geopolitical benefits for decades to come. They also provide an opportunity to deepen our collaboration in the field of energy. The United States-Israel Strategic Partnership Act of 2014, which passed the Senate unanimously and was signed into law this past December, expanded an important energy collaboration program that exists between the countries. One of the most exciting and significant elements of the expansion is the Department of Energy’s ability to establish a cutting edge United State-Israel Energy Center focused on academic and industry research to advance energy innovation.  

In fact, in August 2014, academics from twelve leading universities across the United States and Israel gathered with industry representatives to discuss such a center at the inaugural United States-Israel Energy Summit. The group concluded that such a center has the potential to be a leading hub for innovation and research and development in the energy world. The center’s focus would be expansive, focusing on a diverse set of energy issues. It would include renewables, energy efficiency, enhanced natural gas reservoir development, cybersecurity of energy infrastructure, and more. Mutual exchange of students and faculty would enable scientific partnerships to flourish. Collaborative research programs, technology transfer, and industry partnerships would connect two of the world’s most innovative countries, building bridges and helping to move important new technologies to market. The center would support technological and scientific innovation, increased energy security, and mutual benefit for both countries.

We share the group’s enthusiasm for the center, and we know you do as well.  We respectfully request that you waste no time in establishing the center for the benefit of the United States and Israel.


Sincerely,

Lisa Murkowski
Chairman
Committee on Energy and Natural Resources

Maria Cantwell
Ranking Member
Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
Barbara Boxer
U.S. Senator

Susan Collins
U.S. Senator

Kirsten Gillibrand
U.S. Senator

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