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Texans, Israelis celebrate similarities at Cleanovation Conference
Thursday, February 25, 2010 by Jacob Cottingham
A large contingent of Israeli clean technology business representatives converged on
The day-long conference featured plenty of PowerPoint, three discussion panels and a few politicians. Council Member Randi Shade delivered the Mayor’s best wishes and a proclamation praising the conference. Texas Land Office Commissioner Jerry Patterson and Lt. Governor David Dewhurst also spoke. Three panels discussed clean technology investments in
Israeli businesses are promoting their history of water and energy conservation, which have long been requirements in a country located squarely in the desert. Cracked one presenter, “Moses led us around the desert for 40 years only to arrive at the only place in the
Much of the emphasis at the conference was on water-related companies.
Some interesting energy innovations included Greenlet, which has developed a plug and play energy management system for homes to interface with coming smart grid technology, and Leviathan Energy, which touted its projects in wind efficiency. They have developed an aerodynamic Wind Energizer which steers wind power into turbines, improving their output and lengthening the life of gearboxes.
Jack Levy of Israel Cleantech Ventures highlighted his company’s involvement with fuel cells, the innovative electric car company Better Place, and a host of water-related ventures. Alan Kirchhoff, Director of the Emerging Technology Fund with the state of
Panelists also contemplated the state’s compressed natural gas incentives, which are going to be re-examined next legislative session in light of a depressed economy. Finally, the panel stressed business models that will survive the coming drought on stimulus money. Hillel Miloh, of AquaGro Fund said his company “isn’t interested in a subsidy-based business.” For their part, the Israelis said they were looking to invest in companies with capital efficiency and noted opportunities for water treatment related to hydraulic fracturing – a method increasingly used for extracting natural gas from shale deposits. Several panelists predicted a drift of capital away from solar and into efficiency and smart grid ventures.
Commissioner Patterson’s talk hailed a near-future where Texas’ sovereign waters – which extend out beyond any other state due to the conditions of its admittance to the Union – could be utilized for offshore wind turbines and underwater transmission lines, which he said wouldn’t come up against the problems current plans for high tension wires are finding in West Texas.
The water panel declared
Because private investment doesn’t seem to be flocking to water as much as energy, the panel discussed public/private partnering where companies paying up front for new metering would be reimbursed by the government over many years.
The last panel of the day was
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