Everything is big in the State of Texas. The Stetson hats are big, the oil fields are big, the cars are big, and if state legislators have their way, renewable and alternative energy will also be big in the region – with a little help from Israel. On February 22, companies and investors in Texas are scheduled to hold intimate meetings in Austin with Israeli clean tech firms and investors.
The one-day conference, timed to coincide with other related local events, aims to establish business and trade ties in the alternative energy industries between the State of Israel and the State of Texas, two entities which at first glance don’t appear to have much in common.
In the past, however, the two have cooperated in the fields of medicine and defense. This time, Texas VCs and state agencies already committed to participate in the conference represent over $1b in investment potential.
Adding cleantech to the Texas-Israel partnership
Organized by the Texas-Israel Chamber of Commerce, the Government of Israel-Economic Mission and the Austin Chamber of Commerce, the Texas-Israel Cleanovation Conference is based on models established by similar groups in Atlanta and California, like the California-Israel Chamber of Commerce, which has been instrumental in partnering California utility companies with Israeli service providers and innovators. The Austin event is expected to draw about 200 people.
According to Arie Brish, an Israeli businessman in Texas and founder of the local chamber, there are long and established ties between Israel and Texas and the February event should be a stepping-stone to add cooperation in cleantech to the list.
It’s easy to see what both can contribute in this industry, he tells ISRAEL21c: “Texas is the number one energy state in the US and it is also the number one state in wind energy, producing enough electricity from wind to power the entire state of Israel.”
Israeli solar and water tech for Texas
Sunny Austin is a perfect venue to expose Texans to solar opportunities from Israel. The city is planning a local solar power plant with a 200MW capacity. But it’s not just the sunny solar skills of Israel that could benefit Texas. According to Brish, “Texas suffers from major water problems and it’s thirsty to connect with Israeli water technologies.”
Israeli companies that are already cooperating with those in Texas include Miya, the Arison family’s water conservation company and the IDE desalination company.
On the American side, the Texas water companies are to include the Lower Colorado River Authorities, San Antonio Water, Texas Water Board Department, Advanced Hydro and the Texas Water Resources Institute. Shell and Texas Instruments are also involved.
Utility companies from Texas such as Austin Energy and the Electrical Reliability Corporation of Texas are also expected to attend. Meanwhile, renewable energy firms and investors such as the Chief Scientist of Israel Dr. Eli Opper, Israel Cleantech Ventures and Terra Ventures are all on the confirmed list.
Intimate panels provide networking potential
While Brish says this will be the first cleantech conference for Israelis and Texans, the chamber is hoping to build on the success of previous conferences that focused on other areas where there is a natural fit between the two, such as the medical and defense industries.
The upcoming conference, designed to foster networking, will focus on three areas for cooperation, each to be represented by its own panel – one for investment opportunities, one for water technologies and one for smart grids.
The day following the event, the Israeli participants are expected to mosey on over to the other side of the street to the “Renewable Energy World” conference, so that those who didn’t attend the previous day’s Texas-Israel event will have a chance to familiarize themselves with the new clean technologies from Israel waiting for them at the Israel pavilion.