In the cool breeze of the southern Shfela’s green and yellow fields, energy
developers laid the cornerstone for what will become Israel’s largest private
power station on Monday night.
The 870-megawatt natural gas power station
is the project of Israeli firm Dalia Power Energies and will be located near
Kibbutz Kfar Menahem at Tzafit, where the Israel Electric Corporation operates
another power station.
Slated to be fully completed and connected to the
grid in summer 2015, the future power station is expected to supply between 6
and 7 percent of Israel’s electricity needs.
Operating and maintaining
the site will be the French firm Alstom, which will be providing two combined
cycle natural gas units to the site, each with a 435-megawatt
Both live and animated dancers opened Monday night’s ceremony
with a movie-like soundtrack in the background, gesturing toward panoramic images
of the future site and electrified cartoons demonstrating the project’s
“I wish you all that this power station will be another
escalation in the development of the State of Israel,” said President Shimon
Peres at the ceremony.
The station will be located on agricultural land
that belongs to the Mevo Betar village of Yoav Regional Council, steps north of
the existing IEC station.
The location was selected, according to the
company, after comprehensive environmental surveys, archeological assessments
and other examinations of three alternatives besides Tzafit – Hagit, Mevo Carmel
Tzafit, which is located in close proximity to a gas line and an
electrical conduction system, was ultimately selected by the National
Infrastructures Planning Committee as the most suitable of the four options,
company information said.
While Dalia will become the largest private
facility in the country, it will not be the first to come online. Israel’s first
large private power station, the 440-megawatt OPC Rotem plant near Dimona, is
scheduled to be complete by July. Meanwhile, a few of the turbines at the
eventually 812- megawatt Dorad private power facility in Ashkelon may also be
ready in August.
The Dalia and Alstom developers were the first to submit
plans for a private power facility, but because a large chunk of the electricity
from the plant is supposed to be sold to the IEC, the planning process took much
longer, a spokeswoman for the group said.
OPC and Dorad in the end will
also be selling some electricity to the IEC following recent negotiations, but
the amounts will be comparatively small, she explained.
electricity generated by the private power suppliers will be critical to making
proper use of the country’s natural gas supply and to maximizing the electricity
reserve during the hot summer months, IEC officials told The Jerusalem Post in
Shaul Zemach, director-general of the Energy and Water Ministry,
praised the entrepreneurs behind the Dalia site as “trailblazers,” stressing
that they will be contributing to the quality of life in Israel.
succeeded in achieving “a vision of integrating private entrepreneurialism
within the complicated fabric of the energy economy,” he said.
bring a breakthrough with additional entrepreneurs who will hopefully take part,
and hopefully the processes will be easier and simpler,” Zemach
With the early private power entrepreneurs in Israel,
including those at Dalia and Alstom, the foundations for policy and planning in
this sector have successfully been laid, he added.
The introduction of
private power plants into Israel’s electricity sector is expected to reduce
prices as the existing monopoly in the industry decreases.
“At long last
competition will open and prices will go down,” said Eitan Meir, CEO of Dalia
Both in terms of financial and energy security, the
private plants are “contributing a lot to the State of Israel,” Daniel Dreier,
project director for Alstom, told the Post before the ceremony.
should secure the stability of the network here in Israel regarding
electricity,” he said.
Dreier said he sees the Israel electricity front
as “a very promising market” with remarkable potential and a bright
“This is not just one of the private power plants we are
currently executing,” added Patrick Kron, CEO of Alstom global. “It’s very
special, first of all because it’s in Israel.”
Mati Tsarfati Harkabi,
chairwoman of Yoav Regional Council, assured that there would be no noxious
emissions emanating from the future site.
As the head of the region where
David beat Goliath, where the Philistines fought and so many other biblical
events occurred, she hailed the project as an economic and social drive for the
“It’s our responsibility to watch out for the people and visitors
in this area,” Tsarfati Harkabi said.
Peres praised the Dalia and Alstom
team for their commitments to generating electricity without polluting
unnecessarily and “without violating the balance on planet Earth.”
success here at Tzafit, he added, is a testament to Israel’s strength in moving
forward with far-reaching scientific endeavors.
“This economy is based
and founded on science that soars with its possibilities,” Peres said.