The Energy Ministry and the Israel Innovation Authority (IIA) have banded together in an unprecedented project set to fund innovation for positive change in Israel's energy sector. A total of NIS 12 million has been set aside to fund proposals in a joint call they have made with the Smart Transportation Administration in the Prime Minister's Office. "The world is undergoing dramatic and rapid changes in the use of clean energy sources," said Dr. Gideon Friedman, Acting chief scientist of the Energy Ministry. "The call for proposals for pilot programs in the energy sector will lead to the rapid commercialization of innovative energy technologies in order to achieve Israeli leadership in this field globally, while also stimulating the development of an advanced energy economy in Israel," As part of the initial program, NIS 10 million has been set aside to promote innovation in projects related to energy, fossil fuel substitutes, and regarding water and natural resources. The additional NIS 2 million will be invested into funding groundbreaking research and development programs to promote renewable energy and energy efficiency in the manufacturing industry.This investment furthers the commitment made by Energy Minister Dr. Yuval Steinitz to increase renewable energy use in Israel from 17% to 30% by 2030. "Energy efficiency and the use of renewable resources will lead to improved productivity in industry around the world," said Dr. Malka Nir, vice president of IIA's Advanced Manufacturing Division."This is an opportunity to promote the competitiveness of factories and to reduce production costs," she said. "In parallel, this program will encourage Israeli manufacturers to create a more environmentally friendly economy capable of accelerating energy-related innovation in production facilities." In the first project, commercial or semi-commercial pilot program facilities in the above-mentioned fields will be established. Projects responding to the call for proposals will be funded in accordance with ratings awarded based on predetermined criteria, including ramifications for the energy sector, technological feasibility and entrepreneurial qualities such as business experience and a clear path to commercialization. The second call for proposals will be aimed at factories and manufacturers, with winning entrants being awarded a grant covering between 30% and 70% of the costs of technological development in the energy sector. Financial support with be given to research and development programs and technological innovation, with the goal of developing innovative products, materials, technologies and manufacturing processes that promote renewable energy, energy efficiency, better water management, wastewater treatment and more. "Due to the significant role energy plays in the Israeli economy and the economic potential inherent in sophisticated energy technologies, the Israel Innovation Authority is promoting both the energy technology trials and the adoption of innovation in the energy sector," said IIA's deputy director-general Sagi Dagan."In this manner, we are building a competitive advantage for the Israeli energy sector based on Israeli technological innovation," he said. "In addition, as is the case in collaborations with other government ministries, this step will also accelerate regulatory policy and promote government policy aimed at adopting innovation in the energy sector, which is essential for the prosperity of the Israeli energy market."