The Ministry of Environmental Protection ordered Israel Electric Corporation (IEC) (TASE: ELEC.B22) to reduce its reliance on coal for generating electricity. Instead, the IEC has been instructed to increase its use of natural gas considered to be friendlier to the environment.
The order handed down to CEO Ofer Bloch directed the IEC to reduce coal use at the Orot Rabin power station by 8-10% in 2016. The ministry directive was a condition for the IEC receiving permission to delay a comprehensive project to install scrubbers at its electricity generation units at an estimated cost of NIS 8 billion.
The company had started implementing new systems to lower harmful emissions but was struggling to maintain the timetable that was set and requested to postpone the deadline for the project’s completion.
The Ministry of Environmental Protection said Sunday that in response to its Sunday directive, 1.4 terawatt will be diverted from coal electricity generation to natural gas amounting to 3% of its total generation capacity. It claimed the installation of the scrubbers in all coal-powered generation units would prevent the premature deaths of 234 lives each year and the changes in the Orot Rabin station alone will prevent the premature deaths of 25 people each year.
The IEC said: “The company is studying the directives and will operate according to the regulatory guidelines and the directives.”
Meanwhile, energy market sources criticized the ministry over its report of the premature deaths, claiming the figure of 25 annual deaths in the Hadera area (caused by the Orot Rabin station’s operations) was never validated by the Ministry of Health.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on December 14, 2015
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