Minister of National Infrastructures, Energy and Water Resources Yuval Steinitz presented a plan yesterday for boosting the proportion of power generated from renewable sources in Israel to 30% of total power production by 2030, which compares with 5% today. Public Utility Authority - Electricity chairperson Dr. Assaf Eilat said that the plan would not lead to higher electricity tariffs.
Under the plan, during afternoon hours, power production from solar power plants will reach 80% of total power consumed, and at certain hours over 100%, with the surplus power being stored in batteries. The total cost of the plan is estimated at NIS 80 billion, half of which will be spent on production installations, and the rest on storage installations, development of the power grid, and associated investments.
The sun will be the source of 90% of the power produced from renewable sources, while other sources such as wind, water and biomass will supply the remaining 10%.
At the press conference yesterday, Steinitz said, "At the beginning of my second term as Minister of National Infrastructures, Energy and Water Resources, I wish to declare the next main move: turning the sun into a substantial factor in power production in the State of Israel. We are talking about a target of 30% renewable energy, which will turn Israel into a world leader in solar energy use. Within ten years, we will have to construct solar energy and power storage installations on a scale equivalent to all the power plants and power production existing in Israel today."
A conservative goal
A goal of 30% of power production from renewable energy sources is fairly conservative in comparison with the goals set by countries in Europe, some of which have gone so far as to set a goal of 100%. In Europe, wind is the main source of energy, whereas in Israel the potential for power production from wind energy is close to zero.
Nevertheless, a study commissioned by the Ministry of Environmental Protection found that Israel could reach an ambitious target of more than 50% of power from renewable sources by making maximum use of areas of land already designated for that purpose. Commenting on that, Steinitz said, "Israel has no rivers like in Norway or Albania, wind like in Denmark, or geothermal energy like in New Zealand, and so we cannot be compared to these countries." "It's very easy to throw numbers about, but in practice, we have gone to the limit with this plan as far as reliance on solar energy and energy storage is concerned," Eilat said.
Steinitz said that reaching 26% of its power production capacity from solar energy will put Israel among the leading countries in the world for solar power production.
In order to reach the goal set by the Ministry of National Infrastructures, Energy and Water Resources, the power industry will need solar systems amounting to 15,773 megawatts, which compares with a current cumulative output from solar of just 2,248 megawatts. The system's storage capacity is supposed to grow tenfold, from 300 megawatts today to 3,000 megawatts in 2030. On the other hand, as Steinitz pointed out, the need to build new conventional power plants will be considerably reduced.
Producing power from solar energy will require large surface areas. The Public Utility Authority- Electricity estimates that 140,000 dunams (35,000 acres) will be needed, of which 84,000 dunams (21,000 acres) will be open land and the rest will be rooftops (41,000 dunams, or 10,250 acres), water reservoirs and fish farms (45,000 dunams, or 11,250 acres), and areas of land within road interchanges. Ministry of National Infrastructures, Energy and Water Resources director general Ehud (Udi) Adiri said that the ministry would sponsor legislation obliging every building with a roof area of over 750 square meters to install solar systems on at least half the roof. The legislation will include a fund for providing state guarantees for constructing solar installations for public bodies, and cooperation with the National Lottery (Mifal Hapayis) on solar installations on public buildings. Regulations concerning installation of solar systems on apartment buildings will be relaxed, with the requirement for consent from all the residents being made more flexible.
"This is a move that will change the face of the State of Israel, and it will be carried out by the private sector. There is a great deal of room for growth, innovation, and enterprise," Steinitz said.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on June 2, 2020
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