Yossi Abramowitz, President of the Arava Power Company, just published a new essay entitled "A Renewable Light Unto the Nations". I highly recommend reading it.
Abramowitz calls for Israel to set a goal of generating 40% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020, and thus "capture the imagination of youth, entrepreneurs, scientists, philanthropists, and financiers." He also suggests the creation of a "World Jewish Action Plan" to offer "Jews and Jewish institutions worldwide carbon offset opportunities" in Israel.
In practice, this would involve "every synagogue, JCC, school, and institution" calculating its carbon footprint, and then putting solar panels on its own roof and investing in Israeli renewable science centers or companies.
I hope that groups like the newly established "Boston Israel Cleantech Alliance" and the California Israel Chamber of Commerce's "Cleantech Initiative" can play a leading role in putting renewable energy on the Jewish community's agenda and promoting connections between cleantech investors and entrepreneurs in the United States and Israel.
In related news, Israel's Public Utilities Authority approved a plan Monday to buy electricity, at NIS 2.01 per kilowatt, from individuals and companies who install a photovoltaic (PV) solar panel system on their roofs. Israel thus joins a growing list of countries, including Germany, the US, Japan and Spain, that have approved such solar "feed-in tariffs".
"Ex-VC" Tali Aben explains the economics of the feed-in tariff, observing that those who install solar PV systems are now set to reap a 14% internal rate of return on their investment over a 20 year period.
According to the Jerusalem Post, National Infrastructures Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer called on the Authority to draft similar tariffs for household wind energy, which would be good news for Israeli companies like TechnoSpin, Coriolis Wind, and ALT-E.
Renewable energy park to be built in Arava Valley