Four joint American-Israel energy projects have been chosen to receive $3.3 million in grants, the US Department of Energy announced this week. The awards, which are the first to be handed out under the US-Israel Energy Cooperation Act, according to the Israeli embassy, are aimed at encouraging clean energy projects for the benefit of the two nations. "Renewable energy is in the interest of both countries, especially to reduce the dependency on oil and environmental pollution," said embassy Minister of Economic Affairs Asaf Vitman. "This is a win-win situation because we expanded cooperation between the countries, and we expanded it on a very important issue for both countries." The $3.3m. will be enhanced by $8.3m. in private-sector funding, according to the Department of Energy. One of the stipulations for the grants was that they could be used for no more than 50 percent of the cost of the project. The joint ventures selected include Motorola in Tel Aviv working with SmartSynch in Mississippi on Smart Grip energy management; HelioFocus in Ness Ziona working with Capstone Turbine in California to produce electric power from solar energy; Tigo Energy in Kfar Saba and US Architectural Glass and Aluminum in California developing a complete Building Integrated Photovoltaic system; and TransBiodiesel of Shfaram working with The Purolite Company of Pennsylvania to improve the biodiesel production process. The energy cooperation act was originally passed in 2007. The total allocation for 2009 was $4m., according to the embassy.