In 2009, the U.S. and Israel initiated BIRD Energy, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and by the Ministry of Energy (MOE) jointly with the Israel Innovation Authority (IIA). BIRD Energy has been a successful implementation of U.S.- Israel R&D collaboration in renewable energy and energy efficiency, by funding joint projects between U.S. and Israel companies (one from each country), with the goal of reaching commercialization of innovative technologies.
The expansion of the U.S.- Israel energy cooperation was authorized in the U.S.- Israel Strategic Partnership Act of 2014. This legislation included authorization for the establishment of a joint U.S.- Israel Energy Center.
In 2016, the Israeli Government approved the expansion of the U.S.- Israel energy cooperation, providing funding until 2024.
In June 2018, The DOE and the MOE signed an Implementation Agreement of the U.S.- Israel Energy Center, fully named: The U.S.- Israel Center of Excellence for Energy, Engineering and Water Technology. The goal of the Energy Center is to promote energy security and economic development through the research and development of innovative energy technologies in 4 Topics (see below), by facilitating expanded cooperation between consortia of U.S. and Israeli companies, universities and research institutions.
In Israel, the Energy Center is managed jointly by the MOE and the IIA. The DOE, MOE and IIA selected the BIRD Foundation to manage the Energy Center.
The Energy Center is a 5-year program, covering 4 Topics: Fossil Energy, Energy Storage, Energy Cyber and Energy-Water Nexus. For each Topic, a consortium of U.S. and Israel companies and/or universities and/or research institutions will jointly perform research and development, leading to know-how/technology transfer from academia to industry and significantly accelerating deployment of technologies.