Obama’s ‘bright’ spot for Israel

October 3, 2010 - 2:47 PM by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: A New Reality, Business, Environment, General, Technology 

Israel solar Power company BrightSource Energy Inc. has received an endorsement from the highest places – US President Barack Obama, to be specific.

Jerusalem-based BrightSource Industries through its California-based parent, BrightSource Energy is slated to deliver more than 2,600 megawatts of solar electricity in California’s Mojave Desert using new technology demonstrated at Goldman’s Solar Energy Development Center in the Negev, the largest solar energy facility in the Middle East.

BrightSource was founded by Arnold Goldman, who was also the founder and CEO of Israeli firm Luz International Ltd., one of the world’s first solar energy companies in the 1980s.

BrightSource is developing more than 4GW of solar power projects in Southwestern American states – enough to power 1.4 million homes. BrightSource now boasts the two largest solar power agreements ever – 1,300 megawatts with Southern California Edison and 1,310 megawatts with Pacific Gas & Electric Company.

In Obama’s weekly radio address this past weekend, he was talking about his adminstration’s efforts to create jobs in the clean energy sector, and how a subsidized loan program established by his administration is helping companies like BrightSource create US jobs.

“For example, I want share with you one new development, made possible by the clean energy incentives we have launched. This month, in the Mojave Desert, a company called BrightSource plans to break ground on a revolutionary new type of solar power plant.

It’s going to put about a thousand people to work building a state-of-the-art facility. And when it’s complete, it will turn sunlight into the energy that will power up to 140,000 homes – the largest such plant in the world. Not in China. Not in India. But in California.

With projects like this one, and others across this country, we are staking our claim to continued leadership in the new global economy. And we’re putting Americans to work producing clean, home-grown American energy that will help lower our reliance on foreign oil and protect our planet for future generations.”

It’s true that Obama didn’t mention the Israel origins or technology that the company uses. But it’s still a feather in BrightSource’s cap. In addition to winning a huge loan guarantee — worth $1.4 billion — from the Department of Energy for the Mojave project, BrightSource is also reportedly preparing for an IPO.

BrightSource is one place the sun is certainly shining.

Golden Globe for Waltz with Bashir

January 12, 2009 - 10:34 AM by · 3 Comments
Filed under: Israeliness, Movies, Pop Culture, War 

Ari Folman with his Golden GlobeThe innovative retro-animated documentary Waltz with Bashir won the Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Film yesterday in California, and director Ari Folman did not miss the opportunity to reflect on the poignancy of the victory from the podium.

It’s a big deal when any Israeli film wins a big international award, regardless of how many it won in the past or how much buzz there is over the possibility of an Oscar nod when the nominations are announced in about two weeks.

But with an ongoing conflict in Israel’s south making for a parallel media war battling over the opinion of the world’s citizens, an Israeli victory in Hollywood becomes even more significant – especially given the movie’s introspective soldier’s experience narrative.

The Jerusalem Post today sums up Folman’s acceptance speech thusly:

Folman thanked his team and his wife and dedicated the award to the babies born to his team members over the four years during which the film was made.

Expressing his wish to see peace arrive in the war-torn Middle East, Folman said he hoped one day these babies will regard the film and the war it describes as an old video game with which they had nothing to do.

Sadly, war’s status as hell is a timeless theme, one which speaks to the Israeli experience far more than it ought to, and The Hollywood Reporter managed to get Folman talking about it even more behind the scenes, and thankfully, with a tinge of optimism:

Folman was a man of few words backstage but did say he is sad that his film, about conflict in the Middle East, is relevant in light of the current Gaza incursions. “Unfortunately, this film is always relevant,” he said. “It has only one major statement (one of anti-war). It was relevant two years ago (when I began making it), and it’s still now.” Folman said he hopes for the best for that part of the world. “I am very optimistic (for peace), or I wouldn’t have done this,” he said. “It’s a matter of leadership: A time will come that both sides will have clever leaders who will work it out.”

Image courtesy fuxoft from Flickr under a Creative Commons license.


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