electricity work 248.88.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The National Infrastructures Ministry issued a tender last week for consultants
to create a master plan for the electricity, natural gas and oil sectors for the
next 40 years.
The main criterion of the plan would be to guarantee a
steady supply of electricity – something which the government comes close to
failing at each summer.
The ministry demanded that the consultants be an
Israeli company or a company with Israeli representation and be comprised of at
least 10 professionals in various fields such as engineers, economists,
statisticians and environmental planning specialists.
must have at least five years experience building master plans or similar plans
for at least five million residents. If the Israeli company lacks such
expertise, it could partner with an international company, according to the
terms of the tender.
The ministry commissioned a master plan in 2004 from
private consultants but then decided not to adopt it, because it did not have
enough adaptive elements to react to changes in the electricity market – like
the discoveries of natural gas fields off the Haifa coast – and the integration
of renewable energies.
This master plan would be drawn up from scratch
and not based on the assumptions of the previous one.
element in the plan would be adjustable models that take into account various
The tender lays out the basic principles that guide the
ministry at present, but also noted that such principles might be adjusted,
based on the new master plan. The most important element in the plan would be
how to guarantee the steady supply of electricity to completely meet demand at
any and all times, whether peak or off peak. At present, serious heat waves
bring with them the real possibility of outages.
The plan would address
the basic policies of the ministry as well, according to the terms of the
tender. At present, the goal for renewable energy is 10% of electricity
production by 2020.
The plan would address whether that goal was
reasonable or in need of adjustment.
At present, the ministry feels that
10% is reasonable but that it could grow to as much as 30% in the decade or two
An accompanying goal would be to reduce dependence on fossil
fuels. The ministry’s assumption is that no more coal-fired power plants will be
approved after Project D, which has been awaiting final approval for eight
To ensure a diversified energy basket, therefore, the ministry
assumes that fourth-generation small nuclear power reactors would have to be
introduced to replace coal. Natural gas would continue to power many of the
generators in the next 40 years.
The master plan would address all of
these predictions and assumptions.
Since demand continues to rise every
year, the ministry will continue its efforts at energy efficiency. According to
the tender, the ministry believes 40% reductions are possible without lifestyle
changes and has set a goal of 20% reduction in electricity use by 2020. The
master plan would have to show how energy efficiency could be introduced in all
The ministry wrote that part of its current goals was to develop
all domestic sources of energy, such as natural gas, oil, oil shale and any
others, to reduce the country’s dependence on foreign sources.
natural gas discoveries under the Mediterranean and the ever-lingering potential
of oil or oil shale beneath the land has changed the energy outlook for Israel.
Surrounded by hostile countries or – at best – cool neighbors, Israel is an
energy island and cannot hope for much backup or supply from its neighbors
(though Egypt does supply natural gas).
Part of the master plan would
also be to calculate the environmental costs of energy production – air
pollution, land use, contamination, etc. – and take those into account in the
The tender calls for all proposals to be submitted by the
beginning of October and envisions a 15-month process to create an initial
master plan ready for public comment and refinement.
would be working hand-in-hand with the ministry’s experts and professionals.