Energy and Water Minister Uzi Landau recommended a 30-megawatt increase in solar
rooftop allocations, as part of a government proposal he submitted on Wednesday
for coping with the expected electricity shortages this summer.
submitting the detailed proposal, Landau said he hoped the cabinet would discuss
its measures at this Sunday’s meeting, so that the relevant government bodies
would be able to take action as quickly as possible. The Energy and Water
Ministry expects shortages between June and September, and will define shortage
hours as those in which the difference between expected electricity production
and peak demand does not exceed 600 MW.
“The resolution is intended to
provide additional tools to the Energy and Water Ministry, which is taking care
of the anticipated electricity shortages this coming summer,” Landau said, in a
statement his office released. “It comes to remove barriers and activate
existing means in various ministries, so that it will be possible to take all
the necessary steps in order to quickly increase the electricity production
capacity in cases in which there will be a low reserve.”
The ministry, he
explained, is in the process of deploying a publicity campaign and a variety of
incentives for reducing electricity consumption in the country’s
One recommendation in Landau’s proposal stems from last
summer’s government decision 3484, regarding renewable energy
In response to pressure from the Environmental Protection
Ministry and green groups, Landau proposed allowing for the installation of an
additional 30 MW worth of photovoltaic rooftop panels – taking from a quota allocated for a future year.
At an unrelated solar project launch event on Tuesday, Landau had told
journalists that he preferred bringing forward the quota allocated for 2014 to this year.
The day before, green groups had protested outside the Prime Minister’s Office during the weekly cabinet meeting demanding the solar allocations, in an effort led by Renewable Energy Association head Eitan Parness.
Parness, however, was not satisfied with Landau’s proposal, particularly because its implementation would come with a July 1 time limit for construction.
“This restriction is not justified, as it will reduce the chances of realizing the quota,” Parness said, noting that means for coping with the shortage would primarily be necessary in the month of August.
“We demand to change the threshold date to the beginning of August,” he continued. “As for the size of the quota that has been approved, there is potential for about 70 MW, and it is unclear why the government is blocking the consumers who want to generate electricity for themselves and help the IEC in its efforts to cope with the expected summer shortage.”
Aside from the solar recommendations,
Landau’s proposal suggested that the government examine the possibility of
regulating natural gas use so that quantities of gas in the hands of the
Essential Service Supplier – the IEC or East Jerusalem Electric Company,
according to the Public Utility Authority – could pass during shortage periods
to partially or fully paralyzed private power plants.
With the added gas,
these plants would be able to help supply the economy’s needs, the minister
Landau also recommended that if mishaps did occur, operators must
report problems to municipal unions, the Interior Ministry and the Environmental
Another suggestion in his submission was to examine
ways to reduce power consumption among consumers, as well as make sure that the
public was aware of the shortage.
Meanwhile, regarding the IDF, Landau
advised that military bases be added to the existing agreement, called the
“mobile summit” framework, which stipulates that mobile generators cannot
operate more than 100 hours per year.
Regarding the use of generators in
general, the minister emphasized the need to minimize the population’s exposure
to environmental hazards stemming from diesel generator operation. He stressed
that generators should not be within 500 meters of the population, and that they
should run on diesel fuel used for transportation rather than for heating, as
this type of fuel causes less air pollution.
In addition, he recommended
that the government require the interior minister to conduct the necessary
hearings immediately at the National Council for Planning and Building, in order
to provide for easy establishment of gas turbines exceeding 20 MW capacity.
Along these lines, the minister also asked that the government instruct the
environmental protection minister to allow for such turbines and to remove
limitations on the use of generators.
“We stand at the head of a joint
effort of all bodies associated with the Israeli energy market and are enlisting
government offices to mobilize the national effort,” Landau
“Together, we will get through the summer in peace.”