07/02/2012 00:47
Eitan Parness to receive Israel’s cleantech’s “man of the year” award for efforts in advancing industry.

Renewable energy guru Eitan Parness will receive the “man of the year” award for his efforts in advancing Israel’s cleantech industry, at the annual CleanTech Exhibition in Tel Aviv later this week.

Parness, founder and CEO of the Renewable Energy Association of Israel (REAI), has been working steadfastly for years to promote Israel’s renewable energy sector in the public arena, while also meeting constantly with various regulators, a statement from the exhibition said. Aiming to promote the young industry as well as prevent damage to it, Parness has successfully helped to strengthen and secure its growth, with an emphasis on solar energy, the statement added.

“We are proud to grant this badge to Eitan Parness, who has been active in recent years in the introduction of renewable energy in Israel and did so with diligence and determination,” said Haim Allouche, CEO of the Mashov Group, which organizes the exhibition.

“This is not a field that is easy to activate and Eitan certainly deserves to be considered a pioneer.”

Established in 2009, REAI now counts over 50 renewable energy firms and bodies among its members, and it serves to lobby and promote the implementation of renewable energy in all the relevant Israeli ministries and authorities, according to REAI.

In one of his most recent accomplishments, Parness led a struggle against the cabinet to allocate additional solar rooftop quotas for the summer, as the country faces a dwindling electricity reserve and needs to rely on polluting backup sources such as jet fuel oil and portable diesel generators. Parness’s fight, which he conducted together with several environmental groups, caused the government to make available now a 30-megawatt solar quota that had been slated for 2014.

“I am honored to receive this award and I accept on behalf of the [entire] renewable energy industry in Israel, which works day and night to transform Israel into a leading state in the field of green energy,” Parness said.

“The association will continue to represent everyone in the field and deal with every challenge and obstacle that stands in the way of this important industry, whose future will lead Israel toward energy independence.”

While excited to be given the award personally, Parness told The Jerusalem Post that this acknowledgement was a testament to the emergence of – and confidence in – Israel’s renewable energy field as a whole.

“Electing someone from the renewable energy sector for cleantech man of the year shows a strong belief that renewable energy is here to stay, and it’s really a sign of trust of the local market in the new industry of renewable energy,” he said.

That being said, Parness stressed that the current state of Israeli cleantech is still “awful,” and he criticized the government for launching international branding campaigns depicting the country as a center of cleantech while local industries are struggling for investments and government relief.

“There’s a lot to be done in the cleantech area in general and specifically in the Israeli renewable and pioneering technology sector,” he said.

The 16th CleanTech Exhibition will take place on Tuesday and Wednesday at the Tel Aviv Fairgrounds.