Steinitz: IEC must reduce coal usage by 15%

The decision impacts the country's two power plants that still operate predominantly on coal.

December 29, 2015 18:45
2 minute read.
Yuval Steinitz

Yuval Steinitz. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analysis from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


The Israel Electric Corporation must immediately slash the amount of coal used for electricity generation by 15 percent at all power plants, National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Minister Yuval Steinitz ordered on Tuesday.

In practice, the decision impacts the country’s two power plants that still operate predominantly on coal: the Orot Rabin station in Hadera and the Rutenberg station in Ashkelon.

The IEC must cut its coal use at these power plants by 15%, substituting the coal with natural gas, until the company has installed scrubbers – devices used to clean exhaust fumes – at its stations.

“This decision, which will be implemented beginning this Friday, will enable a significant change in electricity production while reducing air pollution, increasing demand for natural gas – which is less polluting – while maintaining energy security for the State of Israel,” Steinitz said.

“Our decision to reduce the use of coal to a minimum allows for substantial backup for electricity production in emergency situations or malfunctions for Israel’s electricity sector.”

Steinitz’s order was accompanied by three operational conditions, including a demand that coal units continue to function at the minimum level required to ensure seamless integration in case of power failures, according to the Energy Ministry.

A second condition tasks the Public Utility Authority with reevaluating the consumer tariff rates for the country’s electricity mix, as more electricity is generated from natural gas than coal sources. Due to the fact that costs associated with coal are lower than those with gas, the PUA may decide to raise electricity tariffs by about 1.5%, the ministry said.

The third and final condition linked to Steinitz’s order stresses that if a state of emergency is declared in the electricity sector, the limits regarding coal usage would cease to apply until the end of those circumstances.

The decision comes about two weeks after the Environmental Protection Ministry likewise ordered that the IEC cut down on its coal use – specifically demanding a reduction in coal consumption by about 8-10% at the Orot Rabin power station in 2016.

At the time, the Environment Ministry said it is issuing this order as a condition for approving a company request to further postpone final scrubber installations. In that directive, the ministry said it is requiring the IEC to reduce coal use both to meet European directives and to ensure that emissions levels do not surpass those generated by units equipped with scrubbers.

On Tuesday, Environmental Protection Minister Avi Gabbay applauded Steinitz’s decision to widen the scope of the restrictions.

“We praise the Energy Ministry’s decision and will continue to work in the future toward reducing the pollution from coal stations,” Gabbay said.

In response to the order, a statement from the IEC said that “the company is studying the decision and will act according to the minister’s guidelines.”

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Workers strike outside of the Teva building in Jerusalem, December 2017
December 18, 2017
Workers make explosive threats as massive Teva layoff strikes continue


Cookie Settings