Simon Says: Fight Terror With Renewable Energy

Wake up world! Was the message Israel’s Vice Prime Minister Shimon Peres sent to hundreds of foreign visitors last week at the annual Prime Minister’s Conference, a very fancy business shindig where foreign dignitaries, Israeli government officials and businesses such as General Electric strutted their stuff—and looked for ways to develop global businesses and alliances. Peres gave a keynote that would kick off a smaller conference in an adjoining hall—the Conference on Renewable and Alternative Energy. Since this TreeHugger often works incognito, she was there to report on it. ::Israel21c"What feeds terrorism is oil," said Shimon Peres, making the connection between a peaceful world and the responsibility of Western countries to curb its dependence on foreign petroleum. Peres' opening was both an invitation and warning to democratic nations, which must be ready to form a tight coalition to decrease dependence on fossil fuels, he said, and stop a "nuclear" Iran.

According to Israel21c, Peres said that we can stop terrorism by being less dependant on foreign oil. Alternative sources of energy are the key. Peres also highlighted Israel's strengths and position on renewable energy.

"The only way to cut [terrorism] down is by creating alternatives," he said. In Israel, "We prefer solar energy - it is more permanent, more fair and does not affect the ecology."

Highlighted at the one-day event were about 50 renewable and energy saving companies from Israel (or started by Israelis) such as alternative energy company Ormat; Metrolight poised to save the City of New York about $90 million per year on street lighting; Solel, which has built the largest solar energy plant in the world in California's Mojave Desert; solar shingles company PowerLight Corporation; GreenFuel which converts smokestack pollution into biofuel; and Genova, which makes fuel from olive pits.

At the back of the room, on the bleachers hiding out among the newspaper reporters and television crews, we happened to sit beside Peres’ charming spokeswoman Ayelet Frish who probably hoped we were working for the New York Times or The Washington Post…we do have her phone number and email though if anyone needs it.