JAMAICA is stepping up its exploration of opportunities for renewable energy and cybersecurity security collaboration with Israel.
In 2017 Prime Minister Andrew Holness led a Jamaican delegation to Israel where he met with then Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, to discuss areas of potential cooperation on growth and economic development between both countries.
Last week it was Minister of Science, Energy and Technology (MSET) Daryl Vaz who led a joint delegation with the Ministry of National Security to Israel to explore opportunities for Jamaica-Israel bilateral collaboration on renewable energy and cybersecurity.
The visit included meetings with the Israeli Minister of Energy Karine Elharrar, the ministry's chief scientist, Dr Gideon Friedmann, and technocrats from the foreign ministry as well as a working trip to Israel's Cyber Capital Beer Sheva.
According to Vaz, the visit aligns with the Government's ambitious goal to sharply increase renewable energy in Jamaica's energy mix.
"The prime minister has noted his desire for Jamaica to implement 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030, and MSET is tasked with finding the means of making that possible. Additionally, cybersecurity remains a priority area for the Government.
"The ministry is, therefore, exploring avenues for bilateral and other forms of collaboration in our search for energy and security solutions that suit our unique social, economic, and geographic structures. Through these engagements, Jamaica will identify and capitalise on opportunities for collaboration and expand exposure to new ideas to boost energy diversification and to reduce the cost of energy in Jamaica," said Vaz.
He added that the Jamaican delegation received a first-hand demonstration of the advanced renewable energy technology already in use throughout Israel during tours to the Habonim Project - a 23 megawatt peak (MWp) solar energy plant located on a floating water reservoir and the Maale Gilboa Pumped-Storage hydroelectricity site.
The Habonim Project was developed by renowned Israeli firm Lior Renewable Energy, a pioneer in developing floating solar photovoltaic systems. The 300-megawatt Maale Gilboa facility currently provides approximately two per cent of Israel's peak demand capacity and is recognised as a zero-emissions facility.
"Israel has made significant strides in renewables and even more so in cybersecurity. The delegation was thoroughly impressed with the discussions and the innovations we witnessed on the tours. I believe there are several options for partnership between Jamaica and Israel that will take us closer to achieving our national development goals," added Vaz.
Jamaica's delegation to Israel included MSET's Chief Technical Director Brian Richardson; head of the Jamaica Cyber Incident Response Team, Lieutenant Colonel (retired) Godphey Sterling; and Ministry of National Security Senior Policy Director for the Cyber Intelligence Policy and Incident Response Branch Michael Morgan.