Israel’s solar, water and other cleantech companies showcased their products this week at an exhibition in Tel Aviv. (Image via Israel Export Institute)
In his keynote address at the Cleantech 2010 Expo in Tel Aviv yesterday, the governor of Israel’s central bank, Stanley Fischer, emphasized the potential of cleantech as a growth engine for Israel and called for increased private investment to drive this growth.
“The field can serve as an engine for growth, and assist in diversifying exports and export [markets] and thereby reduce harm from [economic] crises. In addition, developing the sector will help promote environmental issues in Israel, reduce Israel’s dependence on imported fuel and assist Israel’s integration in the OECD,” Fischer explained, as reported in the Haaretz daily.
Israel was granted membership in the OECD group of developed economies last month, we reported. The Bank of Israel’s governor noted that the OECD sets especially high environmental standards. “Many of the OECD’s demands of Israel prior to it becoming a member were in this area, and applying the organization’s standards in Israel will provide major benefits,” he added.
More private investment needed
Fischer commended the government for setting goals to reduce greenhouse gases and increase the use of renewable energy, but added that “it is very important that these plans be implemented and also that the scope of investment in the cleantech field, which is not especially large, be expanded and lead the economy’s growth in the future. Government incentives are important, but financing from the private sector must lead development in the field.”
At an award ceremony for “green” regional councils, held at the end of the first day of the two-day conference and exhibition, Minister for Minority Affairs Avishay Braverman also emphasized the importance of cleantech: “Israel now stands at a problematic crossroads and cleantech is the most promising option.”
Speaking more like an opposition MK (member of parliament in Israel) than a member of the ruling coalition, the Labor Party minister lamented “the large gap between Israel’s human capital and the functioning of the government.”
But cleantech offers the potential to create jobs in peripheral areas and narrow the growing disparities between rich and poor in Israel, he said.
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