Despite the influx of natural gas from the Tamar reservoir, the country is still
likely to face an alarmingly low electricity reserve this summer, similar to
that of last year, Israel Electric Corporation CEO and president Eli Glickman
said on Wednesday.
Glickman was speaking to reporters at a company press
conference and tour of the coal-fired Orot Rabin Power Station in Hadera that
Last summer, the peak demand occurred on July 19 at 11,920
megawatts, and the entire summer there was between a 1-percent and 3% reserve –
percentages Glickman said he expected to remain the same this
While so many of the power plants that do exist have been
converted from coal to natural gas operations, the production potential of the
existing infrastructure is still insufficient to create an ample summer reserve,
the CEO explained. This is expected to change as more private power producers
come online and feed into the national grid.
Renovations at the IEC’s
400-MW Gezer power station should be completed by July, as should work at the
440-MW private power station OPC Rotem, located near Dimona, Glickman estimated.
Due to the introduction of these additional production facilities, he said the
reserve could potentially rise that month to between 5% and 8%, but he feared
that the OPC station could face infancy issues as it begins
It is possible, however, that a few of the turbines at the
eventually 812- MW Dorad private power facility in Ashkelon will be ready in
August, Glickman said.
While in 2010, the country’s electricity
composition was 61% from coal, 36.5% from natural gas, 2.4% from fuel oil and
0.1% from private power producers. Glickman said he expected the 2014 numbers,
in contrast, to be 38% coal, 61.5% natural gas from IEC and private power
producers, and 0.5% diesel and fuel oil.
Although the government has set
a target of generating 10% of the country’s electricity from renewable sources
by 2020, Glickman predicted that the more realistic achievement for that year
would be between 5% and 7%.
IEC senior executive vice president Yakov
(Yasha) Hain noted that those numbers could have been higher if the government
had allowed the IEC to build solar power plants of its own.
power producers move into the country, the IEC – which is already some NIS 70
billion in debt – expects to lose 50% of its hold on the country’s power
generation market, Hain said.
“We have to find out how to increase the
income and how to compensate the lost market,” he said.
Because in Israel
the company is only losing money, the IEC is already in the process of
strengthening its presence in the international market, according to Hain. For
example, the company is working on an Angolan project with another Israeli
partner, and has made a bid on a 500-MW coal program in West Bengal, India, he
The IEC is providing transmission systems to an energy facility in
Albania, is taking part in an energy efficiency program in Moscow, and will be
entering the Italian market as the integrator on a 10-MW photovoltaic project,
Also attractive to the IEC is a photovoltaic project in
Inner Mongolia with Chinese partners, which was initially frozen but is being
opened up to bidders again, he said.
Closer to home, the IEC is taking
part in a 40 million euro project with the European Union to construct four new
substations for the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, a project that
should be concluded within two years, Glickman said.