As a small nation with no significant natural resources,
totally dependent on imported oil, Israel has had to diversify its energy
sources and to place a high premium on preserving its environment.
One area where Israel is an international leader is in
the field of renewable energy sources. In fact, Israel is the worlds
largest per capita user of solar water heaters in the home, as well as the
location of some of the largest solar power stations. Israel has also made
advances in wind energy, a technology that utilizes pond water to absorb
and store solar energy, research on splitting water using high temperature
hydrogen and electric car batteries. More specific innovations include:
- A calcium cell battery developed at Tel
Aviv Universitythat is safer and lasts longer than conventional batteries.
- A solar energy tower designed at the Weizmann
Institutethat concentrates the suns rays to drive gas turbines for
high-efficiency generation of electricity.
- A Technion-designed tower that uses wind to generate
- A microorganism developed at Tel
Aviv University to eat
crude oil in tanker hulls and another one to help clean beaches after oil
In 1983, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and the Israel Atomic Energy Commission. The agreement provides for the exchange of information pertaining to regulatory matters and standards required or recommended by the NRC for the operation of nuclear facilities. The MOU was renewed in 1988 and 1993. The NRC is now drafting a renewal to be signed in September of 1998. There are currently no exchanges under the MOU.
In 1984, the Department of Energy
(DOE) signed a Memorandum
of Understanding (MOU) with the Israel Ministry of Energy for cooperation
in energy research and development. This provided
for the exchange of scientists, engineers, and other
specialists for participation in agreed research,
development, analysis, design and experimental activities.
In 1987, the DOE and the Israel Ministry of Science
and Development signed an MOU in basic energy sciences,
which was renewed in 1996 and again in 2005. Another
three agreements were signed in 2000: an agreement
on energy cooperation, an implementation agreement
for development and demonstration of renewable energy
technologies and a second implementation agreement
for research and development of electric and hybrid
In 2005, Congress required the Secretary
of Energy to submit a report that describes
the ways in which the United States and Israel
have cooperated on energy research and development
activities under the MOU, projects initiated pursuant
to the Agreement; and plans for future cooperation
and joint projects under the Agreement.
In April 2008, the United States and Israel signed a nuclear cooperation agreement that essentially broadens and updates past nuclear cooperation accords between the two countries. It will enable the Israel Atomic Energy Commission to access most of the latest nuclear safety data, procedures and technology available in the U.S. Although Israel is not a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the U.S. has signed agreements with Israel on nuclear safety in the past. In addition, Israel also has an agreement for limited cooperation on matters of nuclear safety with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and has adopted the stringent standards and safety procedures of the Vienna-based organization. In an effort to help ensure safety at the nuclear research compound in Dimona, Israel has sought to improve its ties in the nuclear field with many countries and organizations in recent years. The Dimona reactor was developed nearly five decades ago. It has recently undergone upgrades, much like similar upgrades to U.S. reactors, and safety there meets the highest international standards, despite not being monitored by an international agency.
Israeli infrastructure, energy, and water Minister Yuval Steinitz and U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz held meetings during October 2015 in Washington DC, during which they began a dialogue based around mutual cooperation in the energy sectors of their respective countries. The officials discussed collaboration and partnership in several areas: from natural gas resources to cyber-security and nuclear energy.
On April 4, 2016, U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz and Israeli Minister of National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Resources Yuval Steinitz, signed a collaborative agreement bolstering energy cooperation between Israel and the United States. The agreement provides for cooperation in fossil fuels, renewable energy production, energy and water infrastructure protection, and water resources.