Infrastructures Ministry solicits energy master plan

Tender issued for consultants to create roadmap for electricity, natural gas, and oil sectors.

By EHUD ZION WALDOKS
August 24, 2010 04:06
3 minute read.
electricity work 224.88

electricity work 248.88. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

 
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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.

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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.

The consultants 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.

One critical element in the plan would be adjustable models that take into account various future scenarios.



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 after 2020.

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 years.

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 sectors.

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.

Recent 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 models.

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.

The consultants would be working hand-in-hand with the ministry’s experts and professionals.

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