What follows are some observations from the conference. Ha'aretz published an article today that includes interviews with several of the speakers, and a video of the conference is also available online.
Tel Aviv University to establish "super center" for renewable energy
Robert Goldberg, Chairman of the Board of Governors of TAU, announced that the university will establish Israel's first "super center" for renewable energy. The goals of the center will be to:
- advance multidisciplinary research on viable renewable energy solutions
- promote implementation of these solutions in
and around the world Israel
- nurture new generations of environmentalists, scientists, and businesspeople
U.S. and Israel sign M.O.U. on Renewable Energy Research Collaboration
Steven Chalk, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Renewable Energy in the U.S. Department of Energy, announced that his office signed an agreement Wednesday with the Infrastructure Ministry outlining areas of possible research collaboration, including biofuels and solar power storage, which enables solar providers to supply energy for a limited time even when the sun is not out. The deal provides for joint funding by U.S., Israel and private-sector partners and could be finalized by Friday, Chalk told Ha'aretz.
This follows the passage of the U.S.-Israel Energy Cooperation Act in December 2007.
The Future of Transportation
Prof. Michael B. McElroy of Harvard gave a sobering presentation on climate change and the need to act now to cut down on the use of fossil fuels for electricity generation and to demonstrate to China and India that development and prosperity can be achieved in environmentally sustainable ways.
McElroy also emphasized the need to move away from using (imported) oil for transportation. According to McElroy, the solution is to do away with the internal combustion engine, develop battery technologies, and replace oil with electricity generated by renewable sources. While he did not mention Project Better Place, his lecture seemed like a good pitch for the company.