Minister of National Infrastructure, Energy, and Water Resources Dr. Yuval Steinitz spoke today at the Israel Energy and Business Convention at the Kfar Maccabiah Hotel in Ramat Gan, presenting his long-term vision for the energy sector in Israel. "By 2030, Israel will no longer use any gasoline or coal," he said.
Steinitz declared, "The air pollution figures for Israel as a densely populated country are alarming. 2,200 people die from air pollution every year, seven times as many as from road accidents. We invest billions in preventing road accidents, but we should not ignore the people who die from air pollution (electricity, transportation, and general industry).
"Our new national task, now that the natural gas reservoirs and renewable energy are making it possible, is to wean Israel from polluting fuel. I intend to adopt the Dutch vision - by 2030, Israel will have no air pollution. This means using no polluting fuels - coal, fuel oil, and diesel fuel - in electricity production, transportation, and industry."
Steinitz later listed the decisions recently taken by the government in order to reduce the use of polluting fuel, such as "establishing a loading priority," i.e. giving priority to natural gas over coal in power stations and closing units 1-4 in Israel Electric Corporation's (IEC) (TASE: ELEC.B22) Orot Rabin power station in Hadera by 2022. He added that after units 1-4 are closed, the use of coal will be reduced to the minimum required for an emergency; this capability will be maintained at the IEC power stations in Ashkelon and units 5-6 in Hadera.
"In electricity, we are already in the midst of the process; we are over halfway through it. For the year, 65% of all electricity is being produced using natural gas; the proportion produced with coal fell to 33%. I hope that the proportion produced with coal falls below 30% next year," Steinitz said.
On the subject of the natural gas industry, Steinitz said, "It was supposed to have been quicker." Six weeks ago, the government announced an ambitious plan designed to expedite the connection of industrial plants to natural gas, a project that has been stalled up until now, with only a few dozen of the 500 potential plants being connected. "Anyone capable of being connected to natural gas will be obligated to do so. It's a national consideration," Steinitz emphasized.
As for transportation, in which Israel is making much slower progress towards eliminating the use of polluting fuel than other developed countries, Steinitz remarked, "Things are underway - there are plans for encouraging heavy transportation to switch to natural gas, electric cars (with electricity from natural gas), or direct fueling with natural gas."
As "Globes" reported yesterday, Steinitz said that a memorandum of understanding for a project for laying a natural gas pipeline from Israel to Europe would be signed tomorrow. The summit in Nicosia in Cyprus, to which Steinitz will fly tomorrow, will be attended by the energy ministers of Israel, Cyprus, Greece, Italy, and the European Union (EU). The 2000-kilometer pipeline, which will cost an estimated NIS 6 billion, and which is slated for construction by 2025, will make it possible to export natural gas from Israel to Europe.
"Four countries have made a commitment, backed by the EU, to do everything to pave the way for construction of the gas pipeline from Israel to Europe. In the coming decade, we will become exporters of energy to Western Europe. This is of enormous economic importance; it is a dream that is making a major step towards becoming a reality," Steinitz said.
Published by Globes [online], Israel Business News - www.globes-online.com - on December 4, 2017
© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2017