NYSERDA, Israeli innovators ink clean-energy pact

Memo: Flanked by NYSERDA CEO Alicia Barton (front row, left) and Israel Innovation Authority Chairman Ami Appelbaum (front row, right), Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul and Israeli Consul General Dani Dayan reach an understanding Tuesday at AEC 2018.

A new collaboration between New York State’s advanced-energy gurus and Israel’s top innovation agency will look to speed clean-energy breakthroughs to global markets.

Speaking Tuesday at Advanced Energy Conference 2018 in New York City, Lt. Gov. Kathleen Hochul announced a new Memorandum of Understanding between the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and the Israel Innovation Authority.

The partnership will “accelerate the pace of innovation in the global (clean-energy) marketplace,” according to a statement from Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office, while building on Cuomo’s previous trade missions to Israel.

Hochul, who provided a keynote address for the 10th annual energy conference, was joined in Tuesday’s “partnership ceremony” by Ami Appelbaum, chairman of the Israel Innovation Authority, an independent public entity that supports the Israeli innovation ecosystem specifically and the Israeli economy as a whole.

Also taking part were Ambassador Dani Dayan, the NYC-based consul general of the State of Israel, and NYSERDA President and CEO Alicia Barton.

Hochul, who took a swipe from the Advanced Energy Conference’s stage at the Trump administration’s energy policies, trumpeted her boss’ “unwavering commitment to supporting clean and renewable energy solutions.”

“While the current administration in Washington continues to ignore the threat of climate change and puts the focus back on fossil fuels, New York is leading the charge to invest in clean, renewable energy,” the lieutenant governor said. “We also know the green economy is the way of the future, and we will continue to create new opportunities for New York businesses while helping restore and protect our environment.”

Kathy Hochul: Forward thinking.

Appelbaum, who is also the chief scientist of Israel’s Ministry of Economy and Industry, said the partnership between the Israel Innovation Authority – formerly the Office of the Chief Scientist of the Ministry of Economy – “will prove paramount in providing innovative alternatives for clean energy that will resonate in the global market.”

One year ago this month, Cuomo announced the formation of the New York-Israel Commission, a 22-member panel that would work to strengthen economic and cultural ties between Israel and the Empire State. Through the commission, the New York Power Authority is pursuing two innovative energy projects sponsored by the Binational Industrial Research and Development Foundation, an Israeli Innovation Authority-backed matchmaker for U.S. and Israeli energy interests.

The two NYPA projects are unrelated to the MoU announced Tuesday, but they’re certainly in the same league. One sees Israeli software company mPrest Systems providing customized monitoring at the Robert Moses Niagara Power Plant in upstate Lewiston; the other will see Israeli developer Brenmiller Energy testing a new thermal-energy storage system on a SUNY campus.

The new agreement between NYSERDA and the Israel Innovation Authority seeks similar connections and “furthers the sustainability of New York’s economic and energy policies,” according to Richard Kauffman, Albany’s energy and finance chairman.

“Together, NYSERDA and the Israel Innovation Authority are leading the way in creating an international model of success for combatting climate change with innovative energy solutions,” Kauffman said in a statement.

And they’re doing it in a most commercially friendly way, added NYSERDA’s Barton, who noted, “Clean energy innovation and economic development go hand-in-hand.”

“This MoU will help us strengthen New York’s vibrant clean-tech ecosystem,” Barton said Tuesday. “Governor Cuomo’s commitment to working with partners on the state, federal and international levels ensures that New York remains at the forefront of clean-technology solutions for combatting climate change and offering sustainable and resilient energy for consumers.”

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