For decades, Israeli innovators have developed technologies to directly harness the power of the sun, Israel’s most abundant resource. It’s on our shoulders to light a new path for people around the world toward a more sustainable future.
Ambassador Ron Prosor addressed the Second Annual United Nations Sustainable Energy for All Forum at the UN in New York.
First, allow me to congratulate you, the Secretary-General and the leadership of Sustainable Energy for All, for convening this forum.
The world faces serious energy challenges which demand immediate attention. The International Energy Agency estimates that one in five people do not have electricity. Another 2.6 billion use unsafe fuel to cook, inhaling toxic smoke. In order to realize our vision of a world in which everyone enjoys clean and safe energy, we must act now to spearhead this transformation.
With few natural resources and mostly arid land, Israel has always had to do more with less. For decades, Israeli innovators have developed technologies to directly harness the power of the sun, Israel’s most abundant resource. Solar water heaters, developed in the 1950s, have been installed in 90% of Israeli homes, and are required by law.
Israel is committed to pursue renewable energy sources. And we have set a national goal to raise total renewable energy generation by 400% by the year 2020.
In the Negev desert, engineers at the Arava Power Company built the country’s largest solar installation, covering an area equal to twenty football fields. The energy it generates will offset over one hundred thousand tons of carbon emissions – the equivalent of planting almost a quarter million trees.
The Knesset – Israel’s Parliament – is a model of energy efficiency. This year, the roof of the Knesset building was covered with enough solar panels to lower energy consumption by one-third and save half a million dollars annually.
In addition to solar power, Israel’s first hydro-electric plant will be completed by 2018 and will increase power generation capacity and energy security.
Israel is a hub for renewable energy research and development, and is committed to sharing innovation and expertise with developing countries abroad. In Ghana, for example, an Israeli company gives meaning to the phrase, "one man’s trash is another man’s treasure." It takes useless organic waste and turns it into useful energy. In rural Africa, another Israeli company keeps the lights on even after the sun goes down. Innovative tulip-shaped towers absorb solar energy by day and produce electricity by night.
In September, leaders from all over the world will gather in this very hall to adopt a transformative agenda that will guide the future of sustainable development. It is on our shoulders to light a new path for people around the world toward a more sustainable future.
As one of Israel’s sustainable energy pioneers once said, and I quote, "To realize that the same sun shines equally on all of us, is owned by none of us, and can supply energy in abundance, inherently promotes peace. The sun doesn’t recognize borders." May our desire to build a world where sustainable energy is available to all, be a reason for unity and solidarity.